Netherlands appears to be showing the world an elegant way of tackling semetic intolerance, especially of Islamic type. Two developments in recent weeks confirm this interesting developments. In the first week of June, a Dutch court reaffirmed their support to allow public debate over Islamic religion, which is typically avoided around the world fearing backlash from Muslim adherents. In the last week of June, Dutch government initiated a ban on the ritual slaughter of animals, withstanding the pressure from Jewish and Islamic relgious quarters.
Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician from the Freedom Party, was acquitted of hate speech charges by an Amsterdam court, which found that his inflammatory comments about Muslims were protected by rules governing discourse in a free society. bMr. Wilders, 47, had faced a possible one-year prison sentence on five charges of inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims. He has become an important force in Dutch politics, making provocative statements including comparing the Koran with Hitlers Mein Kampf and calling for an end to Muslim immigration. Mr. Wilders made a short film Fitna in 2008 that portrayed Islam as inherently violent, and he joined Newt Gingrich in New York last year to oppose the building of an Islamic community center and mosque near the World Trade Center site.
Judges observed Mr Wilders comments as “rude and denigrating” and as “on the edge of what is allowed”, while acquitting the politician. Mr. Wilders’s supporters clapped as the judge concluded his remarks. The court gave the plaintiffs 14 days to appeal, but Mr. Knoops said the complainants had little ground for such action.
Ties Prakken, a lawyer who represented immigrant and antiracist complainants said she would instead bring the case to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, accusing the Dutch government of failing to protect people from incitement to discrimination or violence.
Dutch government is set to ban ritual slaughter of animals. The new law requires that livestock must be stunned before being killed. The legislation was tabled by the tiny Dutch Party for the Animals but it quickly won cross-party support. The Freedom Party of Gert Wilders supports the bill. Muslim and Jewish ritual slaughte customs require animals to be fully conscious. Representatives of one million Dutch Muslims and 40,000 Jews have condemned the prohibition of halal and kosher meat as a violation of their religious freedom.
Sweden, Luxembourg and non-EU members Norway and Switzerland ban ritual slaughter but the EU, which bans the killing of non-stunned animals, allows religious exemptions.
Ritualistic killing in accordance with Islamic and Jewish customs causes unnecessary pain to animals. Religious freedom cannot be unlimited, according to the Animals Rights Party. “For us religious freedom stops where human or animal suffering begins.” The poltical move has bigger goal of influencing other countries to follow the suit. “By getting this modification in the law, we hope to inspire other countries.” Jews fear that pressure to ban ritual slaughter is growing across the EU. There has been a non-stop campaign by animal welfare activists to have all forms of ritual slaughter banned