Dutch court acquits Muslim rapper who insulted Jews, gays

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Dutch anti-discrimination activists urged their Justice Ministry to appeal the acquittal from hate speech charges of a Muslim rapper who sang of hating “f***ing Jews” more than Nazis and his disgust with gay people.

The acquittal of Ismael Houllich on Tuesday by a criminal court in Breda was based on the judge’s impression that the rapper, better known by his stage name, Ismo, did not make offensive statements in a music video clip that formed the basis for his indictment last year by the city prosecutor’s office, the news site bndestem.nl reported Tuesday.

Filmed in Breda, the video for Ismo’s first single, “Eenmans” (or “One Man’s”), shows Ismo singing: “I hate those f***ing Jews more than the Nazis,” “don’t shake hands with faggots” and “don’t believe in anything but the Quran.”

Ismo used the Dutch word “flikkers” in the video, which the Van Dale dictionary defines only as “a derogatory term for homosexuals.” However, in court Ismo claimed he said the term was used as a noun derived from the verb flikken, which can mean cheating.

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The prosecution sought a fine of 1,000 euros — about $1,100 — and a further suspended fine of another 500 euros, the news site reported. But the judge determined that while the rapper’s statements “are of an offensive nature,” it was protected under freedoms ensuring “artistic expression,” the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel and the COC umbrella group of gay organizations in the Netherlands wrote Wednesday in a joint statement.

The two groups called on the prosecution to appeal the “disquieting sentence, which appears to be a carte blanche for discriminative statements as long as they are made in a rap song.”

As many other countries in Europe, the Netherlands has laws against offensive racist speech.

The prosecution also requested the removal of Ismo’s video clip from YouTube, which has received 4.4 million views.

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