Leiden Law Blog

MARTIJN & Sharia4Holland

MARTIJN & Sharia4Holland

The Dutch court has encountered some controversial cases this year. It had to deal with several groups that advocate ideas which are in stark contrast to what the majority of society in this country believes is justified and morally correct.

Controversial cases

First of all, the public prosecutor aimed at the prohibition of the pedophile party MARTIJN. In a nutshell, MARTIJN advocates the idea of sexual relations between adults and underage youth. They claim that a child is biologically ready to have sexual intercourse and argue that there should not be a problem as long as the child consents to intercourse. Furthermore the party states that they are an assembly of people who are only promoting the idea. Secondly, the public prosecutor held the spokesman of the Muslim movement “Sharia4Holland” responsible for its harmful outcries during a demonstration. Sharia4Holland and its sister party Sharia4Belgium, fight for the implementation of the Islamic law sharia in both the Netherlands and Belgium. Furthermore, they claim that democracy is not the appropriate political system (a “tumor”, were their exact words). The fact that this system allows illiterate people to vote, shows that it is incapable of appointing the appropriate representatives. The transformation into an Islamic state will be inevitable, according to Sharia4Holland/Belgium.

Convictions

After several attempts by the public prosecutor, he managed to convince the judge that MARTIJN should be prohibited. The main reason for the prohibition, according to the judge, was that people shouldn’t be allowed to “glorify sexual intercourse between adults and minors”. Furthermore, these ideas attack “the fundamental rights of a child, because the protection of a child’s sexual integrity is one of the core principles of the Dutch legal order”. As for the spokesman of Sharia4Holland; he was convicted for his public statements towards Member of Parliament Geert Wilders, “who should learn lessons from the murder of ‘Koran-insulter’ Theo van Gogh”. Moreover, he also stated that “Wilders will be dealt with as soon as the Netherlands turned into an Islamic state”. The court fined the spokesman 750 euros and gave him a one month conditional prison sentence.

Satisfaction?

Public comments on the process and decisions were understandably negative. People were unsatisfied with the initial inability of the prosecutor to prosecute the immoral ideas of MARTIJN. In addition, the sentence for the Sharia4Holland spokesman seemed quite low for his alleged threats towards Wilders. If we focus on the concept behind our constitutional state, it might help us understand why prosecution of the aforementioned does not go easy. The constitutional state protects the citizen against the government. We the people, gave the government its powers and therefore the government should feel privileged to rule over society. Therefore, both the majority and the minority in society should be protected, including the minority with contrasting ideas to those of the majority. The latter is not a sign of weakness, but an indispensable feature in the system. The system protects all the citizens and it still protects the principles and moral fundaments which the majority of society believes is just. Show trial convictions and disproportionate sentences of those who do not agree with the fundamental principles and morals, will probably harm the latter just as much as the harsh statements and ideas of those convicted.

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