Free speech or hate speech?

News brief from the Netherlands this time…

While the Dutch have a reputation as being a generally tolerant people, there are always exceptions to the rule.  Here’s a story on the far right Freedom Party and their new website which allows followers to post their negative experiences with East European immigrants.  The EU Commission immediately moved to condemn this website, and the European Parliament will be holding a special debate in March about whether this site violates democratic principles.  True to form, the leader of the party, Geert Wilders (or “he of the neon hair” as I like to call him) responded by telling the EU to “get stuffed.”

This is not the first time Wilders has gotten into trouble for his actions and speech.  Last June, a Dutch court cleared him of hate speech charges (Wilders is notorious for comparing the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf), and this was a case that stirred up considerable debate within Dutch society.  More recently, he annoyed Dutch Queen Beatrix when he publicly questioned her decision in a recent state visit to wear a headscarf while visiting mosques in Abu Dhabi and Oman.

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