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Dutch Filmmaker Upsets the Islamic Community

By William Koch

The Dutch are under scrutiny from the Islamic community once again. If you remember, in 2006 riots broke out in many countries after an offensive cartoon featuring the prophet Mohammed was published in a Dutch newspaper. Three Embassies were attacked and more than 100 people were killed. This time, people aren’t upset about a cartoon, but rather a movie that was recently released on the Internet. It didn’t cause uproar like the cartoon, but that was mainly because the cartoon was to be featured in the film and was later cut out.

Geert Wilders, a Dutch right-wing politician, made the 15-minute film called Fitna, which is taken from the Qur'an and is sometimes translated as Strife. Wilders was using a website hosted by Network Solutions to promote the film. Network Solutions took down the site after receiving many complaints. Although it is technically still under investigation as to whether it complies with Network Solutions’ terms of use.

Geert Wilders

According to The Guardian, Wilders compares the Qur'an to Mein Kampf. The BBC also writes that Wilder describes Islam in the film as “the enemy of freedom.” Ideas like this are causing serious free speech debates in the Netherlands, not only because of the attacks in 2006, but also because of fear that Dutch troops will become targets for attacks.

The BBC also reported that before the film was released, the Dutch government asked Wilder to seriously consider not releasing the film, and said he may need to leave the country. He was also under a lot of pressure from the Dutch Muslim council to hold the release of the film. A trailer for this film is allegedly the sole reason YouTube was blocked in Pakistan and around the world on February 24.

Wilders released the film on March 27 to the Internet on Liveleak. It was soon taken down, but of course, it is now available widely across the Internet through torrents and various video-sharing sites. This release didn’t cause quite the reaction they had expected, especially after a scene featuring the Mohammed cartoon was removed. However, many countries are signing action petitions and more unrest could occur. A reaction similar to the 2006 incident still seems highly unlikely.

Geert Wilders has been under police protection provided by the Dutch government since his distant relative Theo van Gogh, also a filmmaker, was murdered in 2004 by a radical Islamic.

Wilder’s story enforces freedom of speech on the Internet in the future, and hopefully will mark a point where people start ignoring ignorant content on the Internet, instead of glorifying it in the media.