Excerpt:

Geert Wilders, the far-right MP who likens the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf, goes on trial today in a politically charged test of the limits of tolerance and free speech in the Netherlands.

Mr Wilders, 46, leader of the Freedom Party, is charged with incitement and discrimination against Muslims over his outspoken comments attacking Islam and for his film, Fitna, which juxtaposed images of 9/11 and beheadings with verses of the Koran. He has called the Koran "a fascist book" and described Islamic culture as retarded.

Mr Wilders, who has made no secret of his ambition to become Prime Minister, has called his indictment a political trial but the Amsterdam Court of Appeal decided that it was in the public interest to prosecute him because his comments have been "so insulting to Muslims".

"I am being prosecuted for my political convictions," Mr Wilders said this week.


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