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Court acquits politician of hate speech

June 23, 2011 at 7:26 AM
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AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, June 23 (UPI) -- Right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders was acquitted Thursday of hate speech by an Amsterdam court, which said his fiery comments were protected speech.

Marcel Van Oosten, presiding judge of the Amsterdam District Court, determined Wilders' comments -- which included calling for an end to Muslim immigration -- were protected even though they were offensive, The New York Times reported.

Among other things, Wilders compared the Koran with Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf," produced a short film, "Fitna," portraying Islam as inherently violent and traveled to New York last year to oppose the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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