|Message ||In a victory for democracy and common sense, Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who described Islam as "fascist", has been acquitted of inciting hatred against Muslims. Amsterdam judge Marcel van Oosten accepted the Freedom Party leader's statements were directed at Islam and not at Muslim believers. They were, the judge ruled, "acceptable within the context of public debate".
Mr Wilders has compared the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf; he indeed correct in this observation.
Judge van Oosten said that although the bench found remarks by Mr Wilders "gross and denigrating", they had not given rise to hatred. The verdict was greeted with applause from Mr Wilders' supporters in the public gallery.
Outside the courtroom, the 47-year-old politician said he was "incredibly happy" with the verdict. "It's not only an acquittal for me, but a victory for freedom of expression in the Netherlands," he said.
"Now the good news is that it's also legal to be critical about Islam, to speak publicly in a critical way about Islam and this is something that we need because the Islamisation of our societies is a major problem and a threat to our freedom and I'm allowed to say so."
Even during the trial, the prosecutors had called for Mr Wilders to be acquitted, saying that while his remarks were offensive they should be part of legitimate political debate.
I hope that in the near future Mr Wilders embarks on a British lecture tour. He is an EEA national which entitles him to free movement within EU member states. Britain is a member of the EU and if the government pander to the Islamic minority and prevent Mr Wilders entry to Britain, this will be a sad reflection on our society.