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Holocaust Denial in the Netherlands

Cartoon wars over Mohammed cartoons

22nd August

Update: Cartoon Freedom...

Easy offence trumps freedom of speech in the Netherlands

A Dutch appeals court has fined an Arab organisation in the Netherlands 2,500 euros for causing unnecessary offence in publishing a Holocaust-denying cartoon.

The Holocaust is a black page in the history of humanity, the appeals court in Arnhem in the eastern Netherlands said in a statement: The suggestion that it may have been contrived or exaggerated by victims is extraordinarily offensive for the victims and their surviving relatives, in this case the Jews.

The Dutch leg of the Arab European League (AEL) re-published the cartoon on its website last year, saying it wanted to point out double standards in society.

In April, a court acquitted the AEL of insulting Jews by publishing the cartoon, which depicts the Nazi Holocaust as a figment of Jewish imagination.

But appeals judges agreed with prosecutors that the cartoon was more offensive than could be justified by the debate.


11th May

Update: On the Offensive...

Dutch public prosecutor reopens holocaust cartoon case

The Dutch public prosecutor has appealed against a court ruling acquitting a Muslim group of insulting Jews with a cartoon suggesting they invented the Holocaust, in a case testing the bounds of free speech.

The court ruled last month the cartoon published by the Arab European League (AEL) showed bad taste and was exceptionally offensive, but it acquitted the group on charges it insulted Jews because of the context in which the cartoon was published.

The court ruled that the context of its publication removed its criminally offensive nature. The AEL had argued that the cartoon was meant to show how other religious groups were also sensitive about certain images.

In announcing its appeal, the public prosecutor said it was essential to determine whether the cartoon was unnecessarily offensive, adding it was not certain whether the cartoon was designed as a contribution to the social debate.


3rd September

Who Can Deny It?...

Holocaust denial law proving discriminatory

An Arab organisation is to be put on trial in the Netherlands over its publication of a cartoon deemed offensive to Jews, prosecutors say.

The cartoon, published by the Arab European League (AEL) on its website, questions the Holocaust.

It said the decision to prosecute illustrated bias against Muslims.

It said the same standards were not applied to the Dutch MP Geert Wilders, who made a film including cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. However, he is still being investigated separately for inciting hatred against Muslims by making statements comparing Islam to Nazism.

But Dutch prosecutors said the AEL cartoon was discriminatory and offensive to Jews as a group... because it offends Jews on the basis of their race and/or religion.

The cartoon shows two men standing near a pile of bones at Auswitch (sic). One says I don't think they're Jews. The other replies: We have to get to the six million somehow.

A spokeswoman for the prosecuting authority said the group could be fined up to 4,700 euros (£4,100), though in theory a prison sentence was also possible.

AEL chairman Abdoulmouthalib Bouzerda said the charges proved what Muslims have been saying for decades. Freedom of expression is only a pretext to make life bitter for Muslims... and if [they] try to bring this hypocrisy to light, that right is denied them.

The AEL says it does not deny the facts of the Holocaust but posted the cartoon as an act of civil disobedience. It said it had agreed to remove it from its site, but reversed that decision to protest over the failure to prosecute Geert Wilders.


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