Who’s the Fascist? Uses of the Nazi Past at the Geert Wilders Trial
Robert A. Kahn
University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota)
U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-10
This essay looks at how, during his trial, Geert Wilders and his opponents used references to the Nazi era – including but not limited to the Holocaust – to frame debates over Muslim immigration, Wilders himself, and the acceptability of hate speech trials. The Wilders trial is especially interesting because each side sought to call the other a “fascist.” For Wilders, the Quran was a fascist book, an Islamic Mein Kampf. To his opponents, Wilders was a “prototypical” fascist, one who spoke to the gut not the mind. But perhaps the strongest use of the Nazi past involved victims. If a well-established Jewish community faced the Nazis largely without the support of their fellow Dutch citizens and today faces continued anti-Semitism, what should Muslim newcomers expect? On a broader level the multiple references to World War II, fascism, and the Holocaust in the Wilders case show how nearly seventy years after the Allied forces declared victory the Nazi past continues to play a major role in European discourse over hate speech laws.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 41
Keywords: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, First Amendment, hate speech, censorship, Holocaust, World War II, Europeworking papers series
Date posted: March 19, 2012
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