Wilders not to be prosecuted in Netherlands for hate speech in Austria

The Dutch Public Prosecutor will not prosecute Geert Wilders over statements he made in a speech in Vienna, Austria in March 2015, the prosecutor announced. The Austrian authorities asked the Dutch Prosecutor to investigate Wilders for hate speech, but his statements are not punishable by Dutch law, according to the Prosecutor, NU.nl reports.

A Muslim organization in Vienna filed charges against the Dutch politician for inciting hatred and discrimination. In his speech Wilders called Islam "an ideology of war and hatred" which "calls people to become terrorists". He also compared the Koran to Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf and called for the holy book to be banned.

According to the Prosecutor, insulting a religion or religious community is not a punishable offense in the Netherlands, unlike in Austria. "Only if a statement focuses on a group that is characterized by a belief, can that statement be punished", the Prosecutor said, according to NU.nl. In his speech Wilders insulted Islam the religion, not Muslims the people, the prosecutor explained. "In Dutch law this falls under religious critique and does not apply as an insult to a population group."