5 Oct 2010

Dutch MP on trial for inciting racial hatred

7:45 am on 5 October 2010

Anti-Islamist Dutch MP Geert Wilders has gone on trial in Amsterdam on charges of inciting hatred against Muslims.

Mr Wilders, whose statements have included comparing the Koran with Hitler's Mein Kampf, told the court freedom of expression was on trial.

The controversial politician, who is set to become a shadow partner in the next coalition government, claims he has said nothing offensive.

Prosecutors have brought five charges of inciting hatred and discrimination, and the trial will scrutinise statements he made between 2006 and 2008.

In 2008, he released a 17-minute film Fitna which infuriated Muslims by juxtaposing images of suicide bombings with verses from the Koran.

If found guilty, faces a maximum sentence of a year in jail.

Mr Wilders campaigns for a stop to Muslim immigration to the Netherlands, a ban on the construction of new mosques, and a tax on headscarves. He says his mission to stop the islamisation of the Netherlands.

Because of numerous death threats, he is always surrounded by bodyguards.

The judgement is expected on 4 November.