Hate speech case pursued against Pegida protester who tore up a Koran
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) is pursuing a hate speech case against 54-year-old Edwin Wagensveld of the anti-Islam group Pegida who tore up a Koran on camera near the parliament building in The Hague. The Dutch police will question the suspect in the near future.
While tearing up the Koran in public in The Hague on 22 January 2023, Wagensveld said: “The Koran is a fascist book. As bad as Mein Kampf. Its supporters follow the same ideology as Hitler.”
“The Public Prosecution Service considers this statement to be an insult to the Muslim community,” the OM said. Group insult is punishable under Article 137c of the Dutch Penal Code. It states that “deliberately insulting a group of people because of their religion or belief is a crime.”
The OM stressed that tearing up a Koran is not a crime in itself in the Netherlands. “This conduct is considered to be a criticism of faith but not a criminal act.” While such actions can lead to feelings of indignation and hurt among the Muslim community, that isn’t a measure of criminal liability, the OM said.