It is still legal to tell the truth in the Netherlands: Geert Wilders has been cleared. Wilders is the leader of the third-largest party in that country, and the protagonist in the largest Islamic challenge yet to the Western notion of the freedom of speech. He made a number of statements about Islam that, while entirely true and accurate, got him hauled into court on charges of "inciting hatred," and the Netherlands came quite close to criminalizing the speaking of unpleasant truths. But Wilders was acquitted last week, and this bullet was dodged. Challenges to the freedom of speech, however, are still very much with us, and will only grow more virulent.
"It is my strong conviction," Wilders remarked, "that Islam is a threat to Western values, to freedom of speech, to the equality of men and women, of heterosexuals and homosexuals, of believers and unbelievers." These things are all true and rather obvious: Every day brings fresh stories about the oppression of women and homosexuals in countries ruled by Islamic law. Then there is the escalating persecution of Christians in Muslim countries such as Egypt, Pakistan and Indonesia, and the suppression of free speech and open debate about Islamic supremacism and jihad violence all over the Islamic world—in accord with the provision of Islamic law that makes criticism of Islam and Muhammad a capital offense.