"Wilders claims that these verses from the holy book of Islam are being used today to incite modern Muslims to behave violently and anti-democratically. You may think he is wrong to say this; you may agree with him; you might, like the lords who invited him to Britain, think it is something worthy of discussion, given the obvious problems caused around the world by radical Islamism and the violence perpetrated in the name of the religion. It is hard, in a free country, to understand why it is a view that must be suppressed."
To be honest, I feel uneasy about Wilders, his film and his views. That's just me. But, like Johnston, I think that the crude suppression of them is counterproductive on numerous levels. As Ed Husain argues in today's Indy, this could have been an occasion for tolerant Muslims to have their voices heard and their attitudes revealed. Instead, the government chose to appease the intolerant few; stifle a wider debate; and, in all likelihood, only inflame people's worries and stereotypes. That may mean an easier ride in the short term. But it will hardly forge a cohesive society in the long.