Minorities groups said today they would now take the case against Geert Wilders to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, arguing this morning's court ruling meant the Netherlands had failed to protect ethnic minorities from discrimination.
Their fury followed Mr Wilders' acquittal on all charges of inciting hatred against Muslims after he described Islam as fascist and compared the Quran to Hitler's Mein Kampf. Amsterdam judge Marcel van Oosten accepted the Freedom Party leader's statements were directed at Islam and not at Muslim believers. They were, therefore the judge ruled, "acceptable within the context of public debate".
After a trial which has lasted many months, Wilders left court to cheers and applause from his supporters, but their delight was not shared by Muslim groups "The acquittal means that the right of minorities to remain free of hate speech has been breached. We are going to claim our rights at the U.N.," said Mohamed Rabbae of the National Council for Moroccans Meanwhile Ties Prakken, the lawyer for the minority groups who had campaigned for this prosecution expressed "deep disappointment".
Outside the courtroom, the 47-year-old politician said he was "incredibly happy" with the verdict."It's not only an acquittal for me, but a victory for freedom of expression in the Netherlands," he said.
The outcome is expected to significantly strengthen Geert Wilders position in the Netherlands despite the expected posturing by Multicultural zealots and and anti-Western groups at the United Nations.