Related:Â Â The Law of BlasphemyÂ
Freedom of speech is under threat â€“ both in Australia and overseas.Â
With thanks to the Australian Coalition for Truth
In Australia a national Inquiry is being held on the freedom of religion and belief…
In The Netherlands Geert Wilders is to be prosecuted for ‘inciting hatred’.
Australia â€“ Freedom of Religion and Belief
In Australia, the Australian Human Rights Commission is conducting an Inquiry called ‘Freedom of Religion and Belief’.Â
Their aim is NOT to give us MORE freedom but to limit the freedom we have.Â
It might sound nice – but this sort of law leads to vilification laws like Victoria’s which have seen two pastors at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal -Â charged with inciting hatred against Muslims…
The Inquiry asks questions about diversity, sexuality and the involvement of ‘religious’ people in politics!
When HREOC did a similar inquiry in 1998, they proposed a ‘Freedom of Religion Act’.Â
This time they are concerned about discrimination and vilification, particularly of Muslims. Any proposals to come out of this Inquiry are expected to restrict free speech.Â
Our Constitution already protects the free exercise of religion (S 116). The Inquiry also asks if a Bill of Rights will help protect religious freedom. A Bill of Rights is another avenue of restricting free speech and handing power to the courts so we reject that as well.
PLEASE send a submission to the Inquiry opposing any limiting of our religious freedom.
Submissions close on 31 January â€“
send submissions by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Overseas – Free Speech threatened – Geert Wilders trial
Freedom of speech is already being restricted overseas. JustÂ last week, Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician who released the film Fitna, about radical Islam, has been charged with the inciting hatred against Muslims.Â
The Court of Appeal in Amsterdam overturned a decision by a lower court not to prosecute Geert Wilders. They have ordered that he stand trial for “the incitement to hatred and discrimination based on his statements in various media about Muslims and their belief in The Netherlands”.
Read the BBC news report on the decision to prosecute Wilders.
Fitna â€“ if you haven’t seen the short film Fitna â€“ it is online…
Melanie Philips, writing in The Spectator in the UK, says it plainly:Â
“So the inevitable has now come about in the teetering civilisation of Europe, and it has happened first in the Netherlands. One of the supposedly most liberal societies on the planet wants to criminalise someone for telling the truth.”
She goes on to document the case, outline the message of the Fitna film, before talking of the support given byÂ the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine to Hitler during World War 2Â to Hitler, and giving Winston Churchill’s famous quote about Islam in The River War in 1899 and subsequent comments made by him during WW2.
A defining moment
Â Islam film Dutch MP to be charged
A Dutch court has ordered prosecutors to put a right-wing politician on trial for making anti-Islamic statements.Â Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders made a controversial film last year equating Islam with violence and has likened the Koran to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
“In a democratic system, hate speech is considered so serious that it is in the general interest to… draw a clear line,” the court in Amsterdam said.
Mr Wilders said the judgement was an “attack on the freedom of expression”.
“Participation in the public debate has become a dangerous activity. If you give your opinion, you risk being prosecuted,” he said.
Not only he, but all Dutch citizens opposed to the “Islamisation” of their country would be on trial, Mr Wilders warned.
“Who will stand up for our culture if I am silenced?” he added.
The three judges said that they had weighed Mr Wilders’s “one-sided generalisations” against his right to free speech, and ruled that he had gone beyond the normal leeway granted to politicians.
“The Amsterdam appeals court has ordered the prosecution of member of parliament Geert Wilders for inciting hatred and discrimination, based on comments by him in various media on Muslims and their beliefs,” the court said in a statement.
“The court also considers appropriate criminal prosecution for insulting Muslim worshippers because of comparisons between Islam and Nazism made by Wilders,” it added.
The court’s ruling reverses a decision last year by the public prosecutor’s office, which said Mr Wilders’s comments had been made outside parliament as a contribution to the debate on Islam in Dutch society and that no criminal offence had been committed.
Prosecutors said on Wednesday that they could not appeal against the judgement and would open an investigation immediately.
Gerard Spong, a prominent lawyer who pushed for Mr Wilders’s prosecution, welcomed the court’s decision.
“This is a happy day for all followers of Islam who do not want to be tossed on the garbage dump of Nazism,” he told reporters.
In March 2008, Mr Wilders posted a film about the Koran on the internet, prompting angry protests across the Muslim World.
The opening scenes of Fitna – a Koranic term sometimes translated as “strife” – show a copy of the holy book followed by footage of the bomb attacks on the US on 11 September 2001, London in July 2005 and Madrid in March 2004.
Pictures appearing to show Muslim demonstrators holding up placards saying “God bless Hitler” and “Freedom go to hell” also feature.
The film ends with the statement: “Stop Islamisation. Defend our freedom.”
Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said at the time that the film wrongly equated Islam with violence and served “no purpose other than to offend”.
A year earlier, Mr Wilders described the Koran as a “fascist book” and called for it to be banned in “the same way we ban Mein Kampf”, in a letter published in the De Volkskrant newspaper.
Mr Wilders has had police protection since Dutch director Theo Van Gogh was killed by a radical Islamist in 2004.
Correspondents say his Freedom Party (PVV), which has nine MPs in the lower house of parliament, has built its popularity largely by tapping into the fear and resentment of Muslim immigrants.Â