Over at RichardDawkins.net, Richard Dawkins has a long comment on a thread about the trial of Geert Wilders (the thread involves three articles on the subject: a piece in the New York Times, my post from a few days ago, and Jerry Coyne's earlier post, which tipped me off and to which I tipped my hat).
Dawkins concludes, at comment 75:
Why is this man on trial, unless it is, yet again, pandering to the ludicrous convention that religious opinion must not be 'offended'? Geert Wilders, if it should turn out that you are a racist or a gratuitous stirrer and provocateur I withdraw my respect, but on the strength of Fitna alone I salute you as a man of courage, who has the balls to stand up to a monstrous enemy.
The entire comment is worth reading. Dawkins praises Fitna for its artistic choices and relative restraint when dealing with horrific material. See also comment 77, by "Drosera", who is critical of Dawkins: "You seem to think that the enemies of your enemies are your friends. Maybe that is not a very rational thing to do."
Dawkins replies to this at comment 81,commencing: "I did no such thing. I explicitly stated that my endorsement of Wilders should be withdrawn if he turned out to have made racist or otherwise objectionable statements." He concludes: "In Fitna, taken on its own, I have found no cause to put Wilders on trial or even to censure him in any substantial way."
I wholeheartedly agree with that final sentiment. Leaving aside any other accusations against Wilders, there is nothing in Fitna itself that should result in any sort of criminal prosecution, and nothing there which, taken out of the context of other statements, policies, and so on, by Wilders, merits any significant moral denunciation. Again, I don't suggest that Wilders is a nice guy or a good role model or that his proposed policies are in any way defensible or even workable. But he should still have a robust right to freedom of speech. That right should end with direct and specific incitements to violence that are likely to create immediate lawlessness (or at least with incitements that cannot practically be replied to in any way short of legal prohibition). I remain totally unconvinced that anything Wilders has said even goes close.