Dutch prosecutors said on Monday they will not take action against a politician who insulted Islam with a film of the Holy Koran because he is protected by so-called "right to free speech".
Prosecutors received dozens of requests for an investigation after anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders produced a film in March, prompting protests and condemnation in Muslim countries.
They had also received complaints about comments Wilders made in newspaper interviews including one in which he compared the holy book Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf.
"That comments are hurtful and offensive for a large number of Muslims does not mean that they are punishable," Dutch prosecutors said in a statement, adding they saw "no grounds" for prosecuting Wilders for inciting hatred or discrimination.
Wilders' right-wing Freedom Party has nine out of the 150 seats in the Dutch parliament.
"Politicians need to have room to voice their opinions."
The film has sparked calls for boycotts of Dutch products in some Muslim countries.
Wilders welcomed the ruling and said he had been careful to limit his criticism to the religion of Islam and not Muslims, but said he was still concerned about a case Jordan has launched against him.
"I have not crossed the line. I will continue doing what I have done," Wilders told NOS public television.
A Dutch anti-discrimination group, The Netherlands Shows its Colours, said it would appeal the prosecutors' decision and wanted a Dutch court to judge Wilders' statements.
"Wilders and other party members are not only attacking Islam but also Muslims as a group and numerous other minorities," the group said in a statement.
Prosecutors said they are still investigating a Dutch cartoonist, working under the name Gregorius Nekschot, who has published images that mock Islam and Muslims and who was briefly detained in May, a spokeswoman told reporters.
Last Mod: 01 Temmuz 2008, 11:18