Explosive Dutch Koran Film Goes Online
After vehement warnings from the Islamic world, Dutch MP Geert Wilders just published his controversial film Fitna (roughly translated as "strife" or "disturbance") about the Koran and Islam on the Internet. You can view it here in English translation.
The film begins with a warning of its own: "This contains very shocking images."
And then the Koran appears, followed by an imam singing verses from it about fighting the infidels.
Next two planes are seen flying into the World Trade Center in New York City. After that we see buildings burning and hear a telephone conversation between a woman trapped inside the WTC and a 911 operator. The woman is panicking and fears she's going to die. "It's so hot, I'm burning up," she says.
Next, another terrorist attack, quickly followed by leading terrorists and extremists telling fellow Muslims that Islam, that Allah, requires of them to fight "infidels." After that come images of severely tarnished bodies, all victims of terrorism.
Fitna then returns to the Koran, again quoting violent passages, again followed by images of a fundamentalist Muslim imam telling believers that God will give them strength to kill unbelievers.
The movie continues in the same vein; Wilders then focuses on Muslims living in the West. In Western Europe, we have an integration problem, and Wilders believes that this problem is -- also mainly -- caused by the fact that those immigrants are Muslims.
Wilders' message is clear: his argument is not that extremists distort what the Koran says and what Islam teaches; the problem, as he presents it, is that Islam is inherently violent. Islam, Wilders argues in Fitna, is a religion of terror and intolerance.
In the MP's vision, Western democracy and freedom on the one hand and Islam on the other are polar opposites. Islam teaches that Western society has to be destroyed and/or subdued. Westerners are, therefore, in a battle for our lives; fighting for the survival of civilization.
Not unexpectedly, a Muslim group has already taken action against the film.
The moment the right-wing politician announced he would produce this movie, Muslims in the Netherlands sounded alarm bells. Other more fundamentalist Muslims in the Arab world were less cryptic; they said that if it were released, they would riot.
The grand mufti of Syria had warned that Wilders alone would be responsible for possible bloodshed if he went on to produce the movie and put it online.
The Dutch government put heavy pressure on the MP, telling him he should not produce the movie, that Dutch people living in Muslim countries would would be in danger because of his "obsession." Dutch prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende tried to convince Muslim governments he too didn't want Wilders to produce Fitna, insisting he disagreed with Wilders on just about everything. He even said Wilders' movie "threatens the nation."
As the film hit the Internet today, Dutch news channel RTL Nieuws reported their government met with ambassadors of Muslim nations in an attempt to explain that Wilders stood alone; that it may be his right to produce this movie, but that they and the majority of the Dutch people don't agree with his views on Islam.
Dutch networks had previously refused to air Fitna. Wilders had approached several channels, but they all turned him down. The exception was the Dutch Muslim Channel, which agreed to air his movie, as long as they were allowed to watch Fitna before airing it. Wilders didn't consider that a fair demand, and told them that he'd publish his movie on the Internet instead.
Wilders, however, finally found a site willing to host his film. Shortly after 7 p.m. Dutch time on Wednesday, Fitna went online.
There has been talk of little else on Dutch television ever since. The biggest network, RTL 4, already devoted an entire program on Fitna and is planning a follow-up.
They ask the questions: Will Fitna arouse the anger of Muslims in the Netherlands? Will some start rioting? And how about Muslim countries? Should Dutch people living in Muslim countries fear for their lives? Will Dutch embassies be attacked and possibly burned down?
Nobody knows that yet.
At this moment, a Muslim group has already taken action. "A Dutch judge is due on Friday to hear the petition of a Muslim group seeking an independent review of an anti-Koran film by lawmaker Geert Wilders to see whether it violates hate speech laws."
In the petition the group says that "the situation of Muslims in the Netherlands is comparable with that of our Jewish fellow-citizens in the 1930s."