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Dutch Mosques Demand Geert Wilders Be Banned from Twitter

Geert Wilders of the Freedom Party (PVV) is pictured ahead of a televised debate between the eight top party leaders in The Hague on March 14, 2017, a day before the parliamentary elections. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Phil NIJHUIS (Photo credit should read PHIL NIJHUIS/AFP/Getty Images)

An association of mosques in The Netherlands has demanded Twitter take down Geert Wilders’ account, threatening legal action if the social media giant does not comply.

The Turkish-Islamic Cultural Federation (TICF), which represents 144 Turkish mosques in The Netherlands and is connected to the Diyanet, the Turkish directorate for religious affairs, has claimed that Wilders’ criticisms of Islam are in breach of the company’s terms of services, reports Algemeen Dagblad.

TICF’s lawyer Ejder Köse told the Dutch daily that the group also intends to file complaints against Twitter in Turkey, Morocco, Pakistan, and Indonesia — four Islamic countries where blasphemy is a punishable offence.

“Twitter offers Wilders a platform to spread his hatred and propaganda worldwide. This means that not only Wilders but also Twitter is subject to punishment in those countries. The world is bigger than the Netherlands,” Mr Köse said.

The lawyer pointed to specific tweets by the anti-Islamisation advocate, such as, “The truth: Mohammed is the example for more than 1 billion Muslims. Mohammed was a paedophile, mass murderer, terrorist, and madman,” saying that the tweet “hurt” Muslims and “legitimises violence”.

The leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV), the second largest party in the Netherlands but which has been frozen out of the governing coalition by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte after the March 2017 parliamentary elections, tweeted AD‘s article with the single word in incredulity: “Madness.”

In March the TICF filed a complaint with the Netherlands’ public prosecutor’s office against Wilders in relation to a movie he shared on Twitter which stated that Islam equals discrimination, violence, and terror.

The Public Prosecutor decided not to bring a case against Wilders, with Köse commenting that his client “found that incomprehensible. We, therefore, started looking for other ways to stop Wilders. If it does not work through criminal law, we’ll try through civil law.”

In late 2016, Mr Wilders was found guilty of inciting discrimination and fined 5,000 euros for comments he made about Moroccan migrants in a trial the Dutch politician called a politically motivated “charade” that endangered freedom of speech. And in 2011, he was also acquitted of incitement after he compared the Muslim holy book the Quran to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

Freedom to criticise Islam made headlines in October after the European Court of Human Rights upheld an Austrian court’s conviction of a woman who referred to Islam’s prophet, Mohammed, as a paedophile — Austria having laws against disparaging religious doctrines — a ruling criticised as “a blasphemy law by the back door” by UKIP leader Gerard Batten.

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