Dutch Film to Slam Islam; Movie Mixes Verses of Koran, Terrorist Attacks

Article excerpt

Byline: Leander Schaerlaeckens, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

BRUSSELS - Europe's uneasy relationship with its Muslim minority faces another blow next month, when Dutch politician Geert Wilders releases a 15-minute film that compares Islam to Nazism and communism.

The film is called "Fitna," an Arabic term for "discord." It intersperses verses of the Koran with footage of terrorist attacks and other Islamist-inspired violence.

"The film will show that the Koran isn't a dead work, but the face of Islam - a tremendous hazard," Mr. Wilders told the daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad.

He said the film calls the Koran "the latest test to Western democracies since Nazism and communism."

Mr. Wilders said the film will be finished tomorrow and will be posted on a Web site, www.fitnathemovie.com, when it airs on television.

Several Pakistani Internet providers tried this week to block YouTube on the orders of the government because it carried a movie trailer for the film. The effort caused a worldwide crash of the popular online site for sharing videos.

In recent years, other perceived insults to Islam in Europe have turned deadly.

Worldwide riots after the 2005 publication of editorial cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad left more than 100 people dead.

In 2004, a terrorist killed Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in broad daylight over another short film titled "Submission," which told the tale of abused women in the Muslim community.

The assassin called Mr. van Gogh, a descendent of the 19th-century artist, an "enemy of Islam" in a note that threatened the life of then-Dutch lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who wrote the script for the film.

Ms. Hirsi Ali now lives in the United States under tight security.

About 1 million Muslims live in the Netherlands, with a population of about 16 million.

The Iranian justice minister requested his Dutch counterpart to ban the latest film, calling it "satanical and undermining," according to Iranian press agency IRNA.

The Dutch government has thus far refused to act, citing the principle of free speech.

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, director of the Washington-based Center for Islamic Pluralism, said it was "strange" and "ahistorical" to think that a 1,400-year-old text could become a threat to the West.

"My advice to Muslims is to ignore such trivial provocations, maintain their dignity and faith and work to improve their communities," Mr. …