THE HAGUE - A Dutch cartoonist and political parties across the board hit out Saturday following his arrest and detention for alleged incitement to hatred in his drawings.
Prosecutors said eight cartoons by Gregorius Nekschott considered reprehensible had been pulled from his website for “exceeding the limits” of freedom of expression.
Following a complaint by a Muslim imam laid in 2005, Nekschott was arrested and his house searched on Tuesday by police in Amsterdam. He was released on Friday.
Nekschott, whose caricatures single out Islam and the Dutch political establishment, said in an interview published on Saturday that in the Netherlands there was a tendency to muzzle artists.
“In Denmark they protect cartoonists, in the Netherlands police arrest them,” he told the left-wing daily De Volksrant, referring to caricatures in Danish newspapers, which caused a furore across the Muslim world.
The public television station NOS said that political parties from extreme-right to extreme-left, including the Labor party, a member of the centre-left coalition government, had criticized Nekschot’s arrest.
Islam and how to integrate minority communities have become contentious issues in the Netherlands in recent years, particularly after film-maker Theo van Gogh was murdered by a radical Muslim in 2004 for making a film critical of Islam’s treatment of women.
Far-right lawmaker Geert Wilders fanned the flames of controversy again this year by making his own film, ‘Fitna’, which features violent imagery of terrorist attacks in New York and Madrid intertwined with Qur’anic texts, and sparked outrage in Muslim countries. - AFP