Anti-Islam Film Released on the Internet Causes Controversy

domingo, 30 de marzo de 2008 |

An anti-Islam film by Dutch right-wing legislator Geert Wilders, depicting Islam as a ticking time bomb that endangered the West, offended several Islamic and Arab leaders, who considered it insulting to religion.

Big protests, involving more than 15,000 people, took place in Afghanistan even before the 15-minute film was released.

The film, titled “Fitna” or ordeal in Arabic, was first posted late Thursday on Wilder’s Freedom Party website, but, as the site crashed due to heavy traffic, it soon appeared on the LiveLeak website, and then on YouTube and DailyMotion and several other shared-video sites.

LiveLeak took down the video, shortly after it had been posted, saying that its staff had received worrying threats, and Muslims thanked the site for promoting tolerance on the Internet.

The controversial film is marked as mature content, containing graphic images such as beheadings, violence against women in Islam and terrorist attacks. The scenes are separated by Koran verses, which promote violence against believers from other religions. Wilders believes that Muslim holy book causes Muslims to have this intolerant attitude against Christians and Jews, who are called “apes and pigs” in “Fitna” by a young Muslim girl.

Amsterdam police expected riots from Dutch Muslim, so they carefully watched the Muslim neighborhoods in Amsterdam, but no violence was initiated. Wilders even congratulated the Muslims in Netherlands for reacting calmly.

"They were all disgusted by the film, but so far there isn't a big explosion," said police spokesman Arnold Aben, according to the Los Angeles Times. "In fact, it's quieter than usual here today. Sort of like a holiday."

Wilders said on Friday he was happy his film had not caused violent reactions. He said he had only wanted to warn Europe about the danger represented by the Islamic terrorism. It was a film that advertised freedom, he insisted.

However, Iran, Pakistan and Indonesia officially rejected and condemned the film. Iran had urged the Netherlands and the European Union to remove the film from the Internet.

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said in a statement that he disapproved of Wilders’ idea. He said he regretted that the vast majority of Muslim, who are against violence, were offended by the release of the film.


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