Dutch politician Geert Wilders has gone on trial in Holland today charged with inciting hatred because of his criticisms of Islam.
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He is accused of saying that Islam is fascist and of comparing the Koran to Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf.
A verdict is expected on 4 November. If found guilty, Mr Wilders faces up to a year in jail or a fine of up to 7,600 euros (around £6,600).
Mr Wilders told the court this morning: “I am on trial, but on trial with me is the freedom of expression of many Dutch citizens”.
His lawyer later accused the presiding judge of bias and moved to have him substituted, causing an adjournment.
Earlier this year Mr Wilders said: “If a politician is not allowed to criticise an ideology any more this means that we are lost, and it will lead to the end of our freedom.”
He has always maintained that he is targeting Islam not individual Muslims.
Mr Wilders is the leader of the Freedom Party, the third largest party in the Dutch parliament giving him a key role in coalition discussions.
Prosecutors have drawn attention to his 17-minute film, “Fitna”.
The film features quotations from the Koran interspersed with footage of terrorist atrocities and speeches by Muslim preachers.
It was screened in the British Parliament earlier this year. The screening was due to take place a year earlier, but Mr Wilders was banned by the Home Office from entering the UK.