Public Prosecution Service prosecute man for group insult
The Public Prosecution Service of The Hague has decided to prosecute a 54-year-old Dutch man residing in Germany for group insult. On 22 January 2023 while tearing up a Quran in public in The Hague, the man is suspected to have said:
"I should be able to tear up a Quran if I want to. The Quran is a fascist book. It is as bad as “Mein Kampf”. Its supporters uphold the same ideology as Hitler. Everyone knows where that has lead in this country"
The suspect is indicted to appear before a panel of three judges on 9 November 2023.
The suspect committed the criminal offense in the vicinity of the Dutch parliament and in front of a camera. Several criminal complaints were received by the Dutch Prosecution Service. Based on these complaints a criminal investigation was started.
According to the Public Prosecution Service the statement can be qualified as group insult and is punishable under article 137c of the Dutch Penal Code, which makes it a crime to deliberately insult a group of people on the basis of their religion or belief.
However, the act of tearing up a Quran is not a criminal offense according to the Dutch Penal Code. This conduct is considered to be a criticism of faith but not a criminal act. The Public Prosecution Service acknowledges that such actions can cause feelings of indignation and hurt within the Muslim community.
The court has scheduled the trial for 9 November 2023, to be held at the Municipal Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands.