Release of Fitna the Movie met with calm

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The much controversed Geert Wilders film « fitna » has been released online. The Dutch Prime minister rejected Geert Wilders’ views in a statement released Thursday, saying that the film serves no purpose than to offend.

Translated as “strife”, “fitna” a 15 minute film critical of Islam begins with cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed originally published in the Danish press followed by graphic scenes of violence as well as stills of muslim demonstrations showing people with “ God bless Hitler” placards. Some of the scrolling messages at the end of the film read; “The government insists that you respect Islam, but Islam has no respect for you … Nazism was defeated in Europe … Communism was defeated in Europe. Now the Islamic ideology has to be defeated … Stop Islamisation. Defend our freedom”.

Geert Wilders defended the film saying it is “not a provocation but the harsh reality and a political conclusion”. Contrarily, in a statement broadcast on Dutch television in both Dutch and English, the dutch Prime Minister, Jan Peter Balkenende said that “the film equates Islam with violence. We reject this interpretation. The vast majority of muslms reject extremism and violence.” He also said that victims have included muslims.

Although reactions following the announcement of the release of the movie had sparked widespread anger and demonstrations, the muslim community did not react to the film’s actual release. This reaction could be as a result of the distancing of the dutch government from Geert Wilders’ ideaology as well as the refusal of dutch broadcasters to show the production.

Others have dismissed the film as pure propaganda with no new element. Brahim Bourzik, a Dutch Moroccan group spokeman in an interview with reuters news agency said he did not think that the film will spark anger in Holland.

Meanwhile, Kurt Westergaard, the Danish cartoonist who drew the original Prophet Mohammed cartoons, said that the cartoons were taken out of context and plans to take legal action to have his cartoons removed from the film.

Fitna the movie.

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