Public Prosecutors in Austria launched a criminal investigation of Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Freedom Party PVV), based on his remarks in March 27, 2015 before the Austrian Freedom Party (FPO) at the Hofburg in Vienna. He had journeyed there to meet with Heinz-Christian Strache, his counterpart in the Austrian Freedom Party (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ) and deliver a speech on “The Threat to Europe”.
Austria has a hate speech law under which Elisabeth Sabaditsch Wolff a leader of the Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (Citizen movement Pax Europa) and the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA}has been similarly prosecuted and convicted for remarks offensive to the country’s Muslim community regarding Islamic doctrine and criticism of their Prophet Mohammed. Wilders had compared the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf in his FPO speech and suggested that it be banned. Both Sabaditsch-Wolff’s and Wilders’ remarks would be considered protected speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Wilders has suggested that the European Parliament adopt an equivalent form of free speech protection. Wilders is still under investigation by public prosecutors in the Hague for his remarks about “fewer Moroccans” during a campaign rally on March 19, 2014 prior to the European Parliamentary elections.
Watch Wilders’ March 27, 2015 Speech before the Austrian Freedom Party (FPO) on this Vlad Tepes YouTube Video:
NL Times reported:
The Austrian Public Prosecutor has started an investigation against PVV leader Geert Wilders on charges of sedition. Aggrieved Muslims pressed charges against Wilders because of his statements comparing the Koran with Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf and demands that the Islamic holy book be banned during a meeting of the right wing populist FPO in Vienna in March, NU reports.
Interest group Initiative of Muslim Austrians finds that Wilders has made himself guilty of sedition, denigrating religious teachings and breach of the prohibition of reviving Nazi ideology. The theme of his speech in Hofburg, Vienna was “The threat to Europe”.
Wilders reacted on Twitter with the tweet. “It cannot get a lot crazier.”
Here is an English translation excerpt from the Austrian newspaper Kurrier –Medienhaus on these charges against Wilders:
Press Officer Nina Bussek of the Vienna prosecutor’s office cannot say how long the investigation will take, and whether Wilders will also be questioned by a prosecutor. “I can confirm that we are investigating following complaints against declarations he made during the event.” The [Austrian] law prohibits hurting religious feelings or inciting to violence against a religion.
On 27 March, Wilders held a long speech in the Hofburg in Vienna at the invitation of the rightwing nationalist party FPÖ. He spoke strong language about the necessity to reduce Islam.
Wilders visit was special, because Vienna is the city where, in 1683, the rise of the Ottoman Empire was halted. “Also today, we have a clear message for Islam: you will not conquer Vienna,” Wilders said.
In his speech, Wilders said that Austria had to change the present reality, “that Islamic brutality has gained a foothold in our countries. We are confronted with halal meals, with headscarves, burqas, honor killings, female genital mutilation, polygamy, mega mosques.”
“Since the darkest days of paganism many centuries ago, we have not experienced these atrocities anymore. Now they are back. Islam has brought them back,” Wilders continued. “I say: let us regain our freedoms.”
To this end, the PVV leader called for a ban on the Koran. He also said “No more mosques. Close all Islamic schools. Today! No to mullahs and imams.”
In a reaction, Wilders expressed his disappointment in Austria. “It is particularly ironic that the authorities capitulate there where a few centuries ago the West was protected against Islam. But I will continue to honor the gates of Vienna and stand upright. Speaking the truth about Islam and immigration are thus rewarded with a place on death lists and prosecution or investigation for prosecution by the Public Prosecutor in several countries. Earlier in the Netherlands and Jordan, now in the Netherlands again and in Austria. This is a major attack on freedom of speech, but no one will be able to silence me.”
This latest investigation by Austrian public prosecutors comes on the day when a Dutch poll shows the PVV as the leading party, if an election were held forThe Hague Parliament. Obviously many Dutch citizens agree with Wilders’ stands opposing mass Muslim immigration and admittance of illegal Migrants to The Netherlands under EU and UN High Commissioner for Refugees quota system. Wilders has also suggest The Netherlands take back its national border and immigration control from the Shengen system of 26 European countries that has enabled free transit for European recruits to join the Islamic State. He has also suggested that any returning Dutch veterans of the ISIS be barred from entry and deprived of Dutch citizenship.
As a Member of an EU parliament, we hope that Wilders has immunity against extradition to Austria to face possible prosecution for alleged hate speech brought by a Muslim advocacy group.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.