International reaction to Fitna


International reaction to Fitna

The International reaction to "Fitna" consisted of condemnation within the international community, several fatawā against Geert Wilders, and attempts by many Islamic countries to censor the film. The Dutch government immediately distanced itself from the film. Several Muslim organizations and political parties have organized boycotts against Dutch products.

Prior to the release

It was feared that the film would lead to violent demonstrations by Muslims much like the organized protests against the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons that were published in the Danish newspaper "Jyllands-Posten" in 2005.]

The [http://www.cjo.nl/ Centraal Joods Overleg] (Central Jewish Committee) released a statement on March 28 2008, condemning the film for reinforcing prejudices by implying that all Muslims are terrorists. The Committee said that the portrayal of Muslims in this manner is counterproductive, and that the Dutch Jewish community, along with the Dutch Muslim community and all of Dutch society, has a duty to combat all religious-based terrorrism, and to protect everyone against those who wish to overthrow democracy or promote religious hatred.Cite web|url=http://www.cjo.nl/|title=Verklaring Centraal Joods Overleg over de film FITNA|accessdate=2008-04-02|publisher=Centraal Joods Overleg, the Netherlands|language=Dutch|date=2008-03-28] Cite web|url=http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/970768.html|title=Dutch Jews louder than Muslims in condemning 'Fitna' film|accessdate=2008-04-02|publisher=Haaretz, Israel|date=2008-04-02]

Politician and former Muslim Ehsan Jami had intended to release an animated cartoon entitled "The Life of Mohammed" on April 20 2008, Adolf Hitler's date of birth.Cite web|url=http://www.telegraaf.nl/binnenland/3681412/__Jami_ziet_af_van_Mohammed-tekenfilm___.html|title='Jami ziet af van Mohammed-tekenfilm'|accessdate=2008-04-04|publisher=De Telegraaf, Netherlands|date=2008-03-31] The film, critical of Islam and the prophet Muhammad, was to depict Muhammad as a "sexual pervert" for his marriage and consummation of a nine year old girl, Aisha. In one clip, Muhammad is shown with an erection, taking the girl to a mosque adorned with a Nazi swastika, in preparation of her deflowering.Cite web|url=http://www.telegraaf.nl/binnenland/3666033/_Minister_doet_een_beroep_op_Jami__.html|title=Minister vraagt Jami af te zien van islamfilm|accessdate=2008-04-04|publisher=De Telegraaf, Netherlands|date=2008-03-29|language=Dutch] Following calls from the Minister of Justice, Ernst Hirsch Ballin, to not increase tension in society, Jami decided against its release. He spoke of his fears that the Dutch police would be unable to adequately protect his safety, and of the possibility of a Fatwa calling for his death being issued by Iran.Cite web|url=http://www.volkskrant.nl/binnenland/article521586.ece/Jami_ziet_af_van_animatiefilm_tegen_islam|title=Jami ziet af van animatiefilm tegen islam|accessdate=2008-04-04|publisher=De Volkskrant, Netherlands|date=2008-03-31|languge=Dutch] Cite web|url=http://www.nisnews.nl/public/020408_1.htm|title= Film 'Worse than Fitna' Abandoned over Fatwa Fear|accessdate=2008-04-04|publisher=NIS, Netherlands|date=2008-04-02]

The Dutch Islamic Federation petitioned a judge for a judgement on Geert Wilders on allegations of hate speech law violations.cite news|url=http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1726155,00.html|title=Dutch Shrug for Anti-Muslim Film|first=Lauren|last=Comiteau|date=2008-03-30|accessdate=2008-04-08|work=TIME Magazine] Wilders was found not guilty of spreading hate.cite news|url=http://www.expatica.com/nl/articles/news/Judge-clears-Wilders-of-spreading-hate.html|title=Judge clears Wilders of spreading hate|date=2008-04-07|accessdate=2008-04-08|work=expatica]

Africa

In Algeria, the Minister for Religious Affairs said that "Fitna" is "a recurrent expression of the fascism which is abhorred by all cultures", and the country's imams have been ordered to denounce the film.Cite web|url=http://www.magharebia.com/cocoon/awi/xhtml1/en_GB/features/awi/features/2008/04/02/feature-01|title=Algerians join international outrage over "Fitna" film|accessdate=2008-04-03|publisher=Magharebia|date=2008-04-02]

In Egypt, Foreign minister referred to Wilders' film as "a humiliation" to Islam, calling it "nothing less than repugnant," and stating that "Egypt rejects any offence or denigration of Islam and its prophet."Cite web|url=http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/891/eg5.htm|title=Blasted backlash|accessdate=2008-04-04|publisher=Al-Ahram|date=2008-03-30]

President Omar al-Bashir of the Sudan called on Muslims to "challenge those who insult" the prophet Muhammed, and asked for "a binding international charter" for the respect of religious beliefs. al-Bashir continued: ""The offenses against our Arab and Islamic nations under the banner of freedom of expression are derogatory and defamatory and go against all human values."Cite web|url=http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hvjTyyTBwAmgI4o2OKkJTIjX5pEgD8VNDF8G0|title=Arabs Denounce Dutch Anti-Islam Film|accessdate=2008-04-04|publisher=Associated Press|date=2008-03-30]

Asia

Central Asia

The Grand Mufti of Kyrgyzstan denounced the film, saying that it defames Islam and the Qur'an. He urged Kyrgyzstan's Muslim population to counter the hostility of the film's release.Cite web|url=http://mathaba.net/news/?x=587534|title=Kyrgyz grand Mufti condemns anti-Islam film|accessdate=2008-04-03|publisher=Mathaba|date=2008-04-02]

outh Asia

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh "condemned in the strongest terms" the release of "Fitna". It said that "Islam is a faith of peace which preaches patience and understanding," and the film's "unwarranted and mindless release can have grave consequences."Cite web|url=http://www.mofa.gov.bd/Adviser%20press%20release.htm|title= "Foreign Ministry strongly condemns the posting of Dutch film on Holy Quran on the web"|accessdate=2008-04-04|publisher=Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs|date=2008-03-28]

In an editorial for the independent English-language Bangladeshi newspaper The Weekly Blitz, under the editorship of Salah Choudhury, there were many opinions expressed in condemnation of the Muslim world's response: "The Muslim world that is vocal and vociferous in its demands for censorship in the West is going through a reenergized paroxysm of anger and hate," the newspaper said, and asked "is it realistic to mandate that 100% of the world’s population must be pro-Koran and pro-Muslim?" The editorial stated that "Fitna's" relative artistic or philosophical worth is irrelevant, and that its release is an issue of individual rights, freedom of speech, critical thinking, and the West's cultural inheratance of 3,000 years of civilization. The editorial continued to question Muslim countries' censorship and restriction of free speech, satirically saying that "we should ask them firmly yet politely exactly how they so effectively censor the existing hate speech, the rampant anti-Semitic and anti-West propaganda that fill their media, Mosques, schools and universities on an hourly basis, every day, almost without exclusion." The newspaper satirically noted the hypocrisy of how Islam interacts with other religions, saying that Islam has "such unrivaled respect and such unprejudiced consideration for Christianity, Judaism and the rest of the world’s religious cultures and beliefs." It notes that anti-government, pro-democratic, and "moderate or revolutionary speech and actions within their societies" are censored, and that multiculturalism, freedom of religion, and "unqualified personal expression" is prohibited.Cite web|url=http://www.weeklyblitz.net/index.php?subaction=showfull&id=1207259492&archive=&start_from=&ucat=3&cat=3|title=FITNA Unveiled|accessdate=2008-04-04|publisher=The Weekly Blitz|author=Sacks, Leslie J.|date=2008-04-03]

Pakistan called for a discussion of the film at the next Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) summit. [cite news|url=http://www.radionetherlands.nl/news/international/5671207/Pakistan-summons-Dutch-ambassador|title=Pakistan summons Dutch ambassador|date=2008-03-05|accessdate=2008-03-30|work=Radio Netherlands Worldwide] According to the APP, the country's official news agency, the Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi condemned "Fitna" as being anti-Islamic. He said that the film was part of a series of incitingly discriminatory actions against Islam, made by the Western media. Quereshi said that the Pakistani government, and its people, are highly sensitive towards such actions made in the name of freedom of expression.Cite web|url=http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=34207&Itemid=1|title=OIC Secretary General meets foreign minister; commends Pakistan’s role at OIC|accessdate=2008-04-03|publisher=Associated Press of Pakistan|date=2008-04-01] Outside the Karachi Press Club, an effigy of Wilders, and the Dutch flag, was burned in a protest.Cite web|url=http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gW2bRkjxUGmDoS-Fg_0QXicUEIjA|title=Dutch security raised in Pakistan after anti-Islam film: official|accessdate=2008-04-03|publisher=Agence France-Presse|date=2008-04-01]

In a speech to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on April 1, the ambassador and permanent representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, Masood Khan, said that the film is a 'blatant provocation', had 'distorted the message of the Holy Qur'an', is xenophobic and religiously intolerant. He called for the UNHRC to do more than condemn or adopt resolutions.Cite web|url=http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=34264&Itemid=1|title=Pakistan strongly condemns Dutch dostabilitycumentary|accessdate=2008-04-03|publisher=Associated Press of Pakistan|date=2008-04-02] As such, a Pakistani-sponsored United Nations resolution calling for the monitoring of "abuse of the right of freedom of expression" was successfully passed. The measure was accepted after achieving the required number of votes from Islamic countries, while European countries and Canada abstained. On behalf of the OIC, Khan said that the resolution will require people to exercise their freedom of expression responsibly.Cite web|url=http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5ibRpZm13vhHxx8a43rVbnc6lsY8wD8VPA6CG0|title=West and Muslims Clash on Free Speech|accessdate=2008-04-03|publisher=Associated Press|date=2008-04-02] This drew criticism from Reporters Without Borders, whose press statement read:

"The growing influence of Organisation of the Islamic Conference member states within the Human Rights Council is disturbing. All of the council’s decisions are nowadays determined by the interests of the Muslim countries or powerful states such as China or Russia that know how to surround themselves with allies."Cite web|url=http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=26390|title=UN Human Rights Council turns special rapporteur on free expression into prosecutor |accessdate=2008-04-03|publisher=Reporters Without Borders|date=2008-03-31]
The secretary-general of the OIC, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, spoke of helping a co-ordinated strategy made by the Ummah, the diaspora of Muslims living in non-Muslim countries, to combat a campaign of defamaing Islam in the West. İhsanoğlu had previously condemned the film as "causing insult to the sentiments of more than 1.3 billion Muslims in the world," and that it was "a deliberate act of discrimination against Muslims" that would "threaten the security and stability of the world."Cite web|url=http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/03/28/islam.film/|title= Muslims condemn Dutch lawmaker's film|accessdate=2008-04-03|publisher=CNN] Cite web|url=http://www.oic-oci.org/oicnew/topic_detail.asp?t_id=907|title=Statement by H.E. Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference on the release of the blasphemous documentary film “"Fitna"”|accessdate=2008-04-03|publisher=Organisation of the Islamic Conference|date=2008-03-28]

On April 6 2008, five thousand members of the militant Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami political party held a demonstration in Karachi, in protest of both Wilders' film and the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons. The leader of the political party stated that "such shameful acts can never be tolerated in the name of freedom of expression or press," and asserted that anyone who committed a crime of provoking Muslims should be declared "terrorists".Cite web|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-32883620080406|title=Pakistanis protest over Danish cartoon, Dutch film|accessdate=2008-04-06|publisher=Reuters|date=2008-04-06] Cite web|url=http://www.radionetherlands.nl/news/international/5721349/Thousands-demonstrate-against-IFitnaI-in-Karachi|title= Thousands demonstrate against Fitna in Karachi|accessdate=2008-04-06|publisher=Radio Netherlands Worldwide|date=2008-04-06]

On May 3 , 2008, around 5000 Muslims gathered in Karachi, Pakistan in an aggressive protest of Wilder's film, chanting "Death to the blasphemer" and burned an effigy of Wilders. In Afghanistan, the Islamic extremist Taliban murdered two Dutch soldiers in retaliation for the film.Cite web|url=http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/politics/international_politics/pakistan+demo+against+islam+film/2129647|title= TPakistan demo against Islam film|accessdate=2008-05-04|publisher=Channel 4 News|date=2008-05-04]

outheast Asia

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia has banned Wilders from entering the country, and has prohibited the film from being broadcast.Cite web|url=http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iTnYl7_-J5uXAP_1d9MdyYCyOcAQ|title=Indonesia bans Dutch filmmaker, warns against violent protest|accessdate=2008-04-01|publisher=Agence France Presse|date=2008-04-01] Cite web|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSJAK332714|title=Indonesian president urges calm over Dutch film|accessdate=2008-04-01|publisher=Reuters|date=2008-03-31] About 50 members of a hardline Muslim group demonstrated at the Dutch embassy in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, throwing eggs and water bottles to the embassy compound,cite news|url=http://africa.reuters.com/world/news/usnJAK292374.html|title=Muslim hardliners in Indonesia rally over Dutch film|date=2008-03-31|accessdate=2008-03-31|first=Telly|last=Nathalia|work=Reuters] cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7322179.stm|title=Dutch MP's film angers Indonesia|date=2008-03-31|accessdate=2008-03-31|work=BBC] before being dispersed by riot police with water cannons.cite news|url=http://www.radionetherlands.nl/currentaffairs/region/netherlands/080331-fitna-movie-ban|title=Islamic countries want Dutch to ban Wilders movie|date=2008-03-31|accessdate=2008-03-31|work=Radio Netherlands Worldwide|first=Sebastiaan|last=Gottlieb] [cite news|url=http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5hlMWrf_TMxRXao5LHHOBhKDv9tHQ|title=Indonesian Muslims protest anti-Islam film by Dutch legislator|date=2008-03-31|accessdate=2008-03-31|work=The Canadian Press] Protesters held signs saying "Death Sentence for Humiliating Islam", amid images of guns aimed at his head.Cite web|url=http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,2270021,00.html|title=Controversial cartoon cut from Dutch MP's film on Islam|accessdate=2008-04-02|publisher=The Guardian, London|date=2008-04-01] and "Kill Geert Wilders"Cite web|url=http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/0,5538,30233,00.html|title=Muslims Protest against Wilders' Film|format=Photo Gallery|accessdate=2008-04-02|work=Deutsche Presse-Agentur|publisher=Der Spiegel|date=2008-03-31] Indonesia has blocked access to Youtube,Cite web|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUKJAK29880220080402|title=Indonesia seeks to block YouTube over anti-Koran film|accessdate=2008-04-02|publisher=Reuters|date=2008-04-02] after its demand that copies of the film be removed from Youtube servers was not implemented.cite news|url=http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/04/01/asia/AS-GEN-Indonesia-Quran-Film.php|title=Indonesian threatens to block YouTube access over anti-Muslim film|publisher=International Herald Tribune|date=2008-04-01|accessdate=2008-04-01|work=Associated Press] The ban was lifted on April 11, following protests and allegations of censorship from users with Indonesian communications minister Muhammad Nuh apologising for “the inconvenience caused”.cite news|url=http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/infotech/view/20080411-129778/Indonesia-apologizes-for-YouTube-blockade|title=Indonesia apologizes for YouTube blockade|first=Nabiha|last=Shahab|work=Agence France-Presse|date=2008-04-11|accessdate=2008-04-13|publisher=Philippine Daily Inquirer] Internet Service Providers are now taking a different approach, saying they will try to block access to individual pages carrying "Fitna".cite news|url=http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/indonesia-says-sorry-for-youtube-block/2008/04/13/1208024963595.html|title=Indonesia says sorry for YouTube block|work=Agence France-Presse|publisher=Sydney Morning Herald|date=2008-04-13|accessdate=2008-04-13]

According to the official news agency of the government of Indonesia, ANTARA, the Dutch ambassador [http://indonesie.nlambassade.org/ Dr Nikolaos van Dam] had sent a letter on April 1. In it, he says how Dutch society is one of peaceful co-existence, with respect for the law, which guarantees safety and freedom of speech and freedom of religion. He says that Holland has a tradition of respect, tolerance and responsibility, and that offending others is not part of that tradition. van Dam said that "the Dutch government will abide by its tradition, and calls upon everyone else to act in a similar spirit". van Dam also expresses his government's desire to remain in open contact with everyone who wishes peaceful dialogue, to build a society "more firmly grounded in mutual understanding and respect". He says that there is an ongoing criminal investigation, which will determine whether a criminal offence has been committed.Cite web|url=http://www.antara.co.id/en/arc/2008/4/2/dutch-government-rejects-the-film-fitna/|title=Dutch government rejects the film "Fitna"|accessdate=2008-04-02|publisher=ANTARA|date=2008-04-02]

On April 2, a Dutch consulate in the Indonesian city of Medan was the scene of a student protest. The Dutch national flag was torn from its pillar and burned, and about 50 students broke through the consulate gates.Cite web|url=http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/04/02/indonesia.protest/|title= Dutch consulate damaged in Indonesia protests|accessdate=2008-04-03|publisher=CNN|date=2008-04-02] Cite web|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssTechMediaTelecomNews/idUSSP23588120080402|title=Indonesia seeks to block YouTube over anti-Koran film (Update 3)|accessdate=2008-04-03|publisher=Reuters|date=2008-04-02]

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, a member of the Cabinet of Malaysia government, has urged Muslim intellectuals and youths to "take advantage of their resourcefulness and skills which they had used against the establishment, this time to defend Islam" through the internet;Cite web|url=http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/4/1/nation/20804686&sec=nation|title=Boycott Dutch products, say consumer groups|accessdate=2008-04-02|publisher=The Star (Malaysia)|date=2008-04-01] a reference to when hackers defaced a governmental webpage in protest of a proposed ban on pornography.Cite web|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUKJAK24257120080328|title=Indonesian ministry Web site hacked over porn ban|accessdate=2008-04-03|publisher=Reuters|date=2008-03-28]

The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, an opposition policial party, delivered a letter to the Dutch embassy warning that the film would "invite vengeance", and, along with former president Mahathir bin Mohamad, called for a worldwide Muslim boycott of Dutch goods.Cite web|url=http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iAkl3rsgdXH7ASqzIjuNrb4OTTyAD8VOC91G0|title=Malaysian Party Urges Dutch Boycott|accessdate=2008-04-02|publisher=Associated Press|date=2008-04-01] bin Mohamad said: "If the world's 1.3 billion Muslims unite and say they won't buy, then it [the boycott] will be effective."The "Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia", the "Consultative Council", and the "Muslim Restaurants Association of Malaysia" released a joint statement referring to "Fitna" as having "openly insulted the Quran", and called on Muslims to boycott Dutch goods.Cite web|url=http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/04/01/asia/AS-GEN-Malaysia-Quran-Film.php|title=Malaysian supermarket chain marks Dutch products red to protest anti-Islam film|accessdate=2008-04-02|publisher=International Herald Tribune|date=2008-04-01] Malay supermarket Mydin has marked Dutch goods in red, indicating their country of origin.Cite web|url=http://sg.news.yahoo.com/ap/20080401/tap-as-gen-malaysia-quran-film-2nd-ld-wr-b3c65ae.html|title=Malaysian supermarket chain marks Dutch products red to protest anti-Islam film|accessdate=2008-04-02|publisher=Yahoo News|date=2008-04-02|work=Associated Press]

There was a further demonstration outside the Dutch embassy in Kuala Lumpur on April 4 2008, attended by approximately fifty members of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party. Slogans such as "Long live Islam" and "Crush the Netherlands" were shouted. A leader of the political party said: "He wants to insult Islam, insult our prophet, insult our Qur'an," and responded that "because he is slandering Islam," a Fatwa ordering Wilders' death should be decreed. The Dutch ambassador's response was: "The call for the death of Mr Wilders is a very emotional one, which in no way can be justified."Cite web|url=http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/04/04/business/AS-GEN-Malaysia-Quran-Film.php|title=Muslim protestors protest against Dutch lawmaker for insulting Quran|accessdate=2008-04-04|publisher=International Herald Tribune|date=2008-04-04|work=Associated Press]

In Singapore, issued a statement strongly condemning the film, with deputy prime minister Wong Kan Seng saying: "Freedom of expression does not give anyone the licence to insult another's religion or race."Cite web|url=http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gO-MERVjEHYvKGt6laqxc9G8MrLA|title=Malaysia's Mahathir says Muslims 'annoyed' by Dutch film|accessdate=2008-04-03|publisher=Agence France-Presse|date=2008-03-29] Cite web|url=http://www.radionetherlands.nl/news/international/5708575/Singapore-joins-Fitna-condemnation|title= Singapore joins Fitna condemnation|accessdate=2008-04-03|publisher=Radio Netherlands Worldwide|date=2008-03-29]

The government of the Philippines has condemned the film, saying it "heightens misperceptions about a religion of peace."cite news|url=http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/04/23/asia/AS-GEN-Philippines-Quran-Film.php|title=Philippine government condemns anti-Quran Dutch film but calls for calm|work=Associated Press|publisher=International Herald-Tribune|date=2008-04-23|accessdate=2008-03-25]

outhwest Asia

The Bahrain News Agency, the government-operated news agency for Bahrain, released a statement regarding the film. Through the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, the government referred to Wilders as slanderous, and that "Fitna" was part of "the escalating hostility and unjust war waged from time to time against Islam." The Supreme Council called for "peaceful protests that reflect the civilized aspect of Islam," and recommended dialogue with the West to "spread the true tenets of Islam and shed light on the life and precepts of prophet Mohammed." The Supreme Council also called for Islamic countries and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference to push for a United Nations resolution to criminalise blasphemy against Islam, "for the sake of global peace and harmony".Cite web|url=http://english.bna.bh/?ID=68613|title= SUPREME COUNCIL FOR ISLAMIC AFFAIRS CONDEMNS DEFAMATION OF ISLAM|accessdate=2008-04-04|publisher=Bahrain News Agency|date=2008-04-03]

Mohammad Ali Hosseini, a spokesman for the ministry of foreign affairs said "Fitna" was "heinous", blasphemous, and that its release "is indicative of the continuation of the evilness and deep vengeance such Western nationals have against Islam and Muslims."Cite web|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSBLA83556420080328|title=Iran condemns "heinous" Dutch Koran film|accessdate=2008-04-03|publisher=Reuters|date=2008-03-28] Iran's official government spokesperson, Gholam-Hossein Elham, said that "The new wave of the fight against Islam and promoting Islamophobia, which was started by the U.S., has so far opposite effects in the world of Islam as well as other parts of the globe."Cite web|url=http://www2.irna.ir/en/news/view/line-17/0804050639151609.htm|title=Anti-Islamic campaign has opposite effect: spokesman|accessdate=2008-04-06|publisher=Islamic Republic News Agency|date=2008-04-05] Elham stated that the governments 'of the countries where the anti-Islamic moves have been made' would, in future, prevent any further actions against Islam, saying that 'insults against the holy prophet of Islam and the divine religion were against the principles of freedom of expression'. In Tehran, approximatley seventy members of the paramilitary force Basij protested outside the Dutch embassy. They chanted slogans such as "Down with USA", "Down with Israel", "Dutch Ambassador to Iran Should Be Expelled", and called for the closure of Royal Dutch Shell and Philips. A spokesperson for the protesters said that the release of the film was a ploy by imperialists to harm Muslim countries, insult the prophet Muhammed, and stage a Crusade, adding: "We will never remain silent in the face of ploys by domestic or foreign enemies.Cite web|url=http://www2.irna.ir/en/news/view/menu-234/0804052903192457.htm|title=Basiji students protest anti-Islam film|accessdate=2008-04-06|publisher=Islamic Republic News Agency|date=2008-04-05] Cite web|url=http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iwbYYutDQzako7L0dp89SVOPPRKw|title=Iranian students protest outside Dutch embassy|accessdate=2008-04-06|publisher=Agence France-Presse|date=2008-04-05] During a Khutba (sermon) on April 4 2008 broadcast on Iranian state radio, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami accused the "Zionist entity" of "Fitna's" making and release. He said: "Behind these satanic acts can be found the oppressive powers and the Zionist regime." Of Wilders, Khatami said: "This poor Dutch deputy has made 40 trips to Israel over the past 25 years." Khatami concluded that "we see the hand of the Zionist regime behind these satanic acts and we cry 'death to Israel'." He stated that "Fitna" and the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons were a reaction against the "blossoming of Islam," and that "these films and caricatures are disseminated under the pretext of freedom of information in Europe. This is a great lie of Western liberal democracy, because anyone who speaks out against the official version of the Holocaust is jailed," referring to Holocaust denial.Cite web|url=http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jMxGMEefDaPXWWuHvUTZCnbCCvUA|title=Iran cleric says Israel behind anti-Islam Dutch film|accessdate=2008-04-05|publisher=Agence France-Presse|date=2208-04-04] Khatami spoke of a Europe actively engaged in defaming Islam, saying that "there is a catchy disease spreading in Europe today, whose victims feel obliged to insult Islam and to fight against the Muslims," mentioning the conversion of Magdi Allam from Islam to Catholicism as further proof of his statements. He claimed that European "plans" that had been "devised for hundreds of years have borne absolutely no fruit, which is the reason why they have begun conducting such wretched moves." Khatami said that "such moves are made in Europe under the cover of freedom of expression prove that such a freedom does not exist there, since as soon as an intellectual begins talking about the Holocaust, they put him to trial, condemn his move, and imprison him." He claimed that Islam in the Netherlands is increasing, saying that "the Dutch have also bought a large number of electronic versions of Qur'an in their own language and a large number of people in Holland have openly announced they have converted to Islam."Cite web|url=http://www2.irna.ir/en/news/view/menu-234/0804047792170302.htm|title=Major cleric: Iran's 3 islands to remain Iranian for good|accessdate=2008-04-05|publisher=Islamic Republic News Agency|year=2008-04-04]

53 parliamentarians of Jordan have signed a petition, calling on Prime Minister Nader Dahabi to expel the Dutch ambassador and sever all diplomatic ties with Holland.Cite web|url=http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5i99C3OK1-OtGnUo8vRsmMi99RMYg|title=Jordan slams Dutch MP's Islam film|accessdate=2008-04-01|publisher=Agence France Presse|date=2008-03-31] Cite web|url=http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/03/30/africa/ME-GEN-Jordan-Netherlands-Quran-Film.php|title=Jordanian MPs demand cutting ties with Netherlands to protest Dutch film|accessdate=2008-04-01|publisher=International Herald Tribune|date=2008-03-30] Jordan also summoned Wilders to court, as Fitna was deemed to incite hatred [http://www.expatica.com/nl/articles/news/Jordan-to-prosecute-Wilders-on-Fitna.html] [http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2008/06/wilders_may_face_arrest_by_jor.php] .

The Dutch ambassador of Qatar said that: "In Holland, we have full freedom of expression. There is absolutely no censorship. People are expected to behave responsibly and those who cross the limits will be accountable for their actions."Cite web|url=http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=210707&version=1&template_id=57&parent_id=56|title=Dutch MP may face charges over anti-Islam film|accessdate=2008-04-03|publisher=Gulf Times|date=2008-04-02|author=K T Chacko]

The Saudi Arabian embassy in The Hague called the film provocative and "full of errors", that could ultimately lead to hatred of Muslims.Cite web|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-32732420080329|title=Muslim nations condemn Dutch Koran film|accessdate=2008-04-03|publisher=Reuters|date=2008-03-28]

The Directorate of Religious Affairs in Turkey condemned the film as being 'incompatible with freedom of speech and thought', saying that it "aimed to portray Muslims as potential terrorists and to gradually exclude them from the international community." The Directorate said that "Islam is unfortunately face-to-face with a new 'fitna' due to the film, which promotes discrimination, hatred and violence." It continued to say that the film's objective was to create worldwide prejudice against Islam, and that "it is a serious indication of irresponsibility that in the film negative implications are directed at Muslim religious scholars, who never refrain from sharing their knowledge on religion with the Dutch government." The Directorate said that followers of other religions also did not accept the notion that terrorism is associated with Muslims, and that "this is an auspicious development for restoring peace among different cultures in the world."Cite web|url=http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=138102|title=Religious Affairs Directorate blasts anti-Islam film|accessdate=2008-04-04|publisher=Today's Zaman|date=2008-04-04]

United Arab Emirates Foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, condemned the film as being critical and insulting to the Prophet Muhammed.Cite web|url=http://story.malaysiasun.com/index.php/ct/9/cid/b8de8e630faf3631/id/342914/cs/1/|title=World leaders criticise Dutch anti-Koran film |accessdate=2008-04-03|publisher=The Sun (Malaysia)|date=2008-03-30]

The Yemeni parliament condemned the film, calling it inflammatory, discriminatory towards Muslims, and promoting religious violence and hatred, whilst stressing the need to respect all religions, cultures, and civilizations without prejudice.Cite web|url=http://www.yobserver.com/reports/10014012.html|title=Anti-Quran film deepens chasm between East and West|accessdate=2008-04-03|publisher=Yemeni Observer|date=2008-04-01|author=Fares Anam]

Europe

In Denmark, Kurt Westergaard, the cartoonist from one of the Jyllands-Posten cartoons of Muhammed, has expressed concerns because his cartoon is used in the film without his permission, a violation of copyright. [cite news|url=http://jp.dk/indland/article1304784.ece|title=Journalistforbund hjælper Westergaard|language=Danish|date=2008-03-28|accessdate=2008-03-28|work=Ritzau] The Danish Union of Journalists has said it will file a lawsuit on Westergaard's behalf as he is still in hiding from the death threats against him.cite news|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/03/28/wgert228.xml|title=Danish cartoonist to sue Dutch MP over anti-Islamic film|author=Moore, Matthew|coauthors=Waterfield, Bruno; Clements, Joan|date=2008-03-29|accessdate=2008-03-28|work=The Daily Telegraph] Westergaard says his cartoon was aimed against Islamic terrorists, not against Islam as a religion. [cite news|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSL2618773120080326?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0&sp=true|title=Danish Prophet cartoonist says has no regrets|date=2008-03-26|accessdate=2008-03-27|first=Kim|last=McLaughlin|work=Reuters] Similarly Dutch director Rob Muntz announced to file a lawsuit because of the uncredited use of his interview with Theo van Gogh. [cite news|url=http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/252338/After_The_Release_of_Fitna_Wilders_Faces_Numerous_Lawsuits|title=After The Release of Fitna, Wilders Faces Numerous Lawsuits|date=2008-03-28|accessdate=2008-03-30|work=Digital Journal|first=Can|last=Tran] Westergaard drew a new cartoon showing Geert Wilders with a bomb on his head and a sign saying "Danger! Freedom of expression".cite news|url=http://www.spitsnieuws.nl/archives/binnenland/2008/03/westergaard_tekent_wilders.html|title=Westergaard tekent Wilders|date=2008-03-31|accessdate=2008-04-01|first=J.|last=Peters|work=SpitsNieuws|language=Dutch]

The Norwegian government (Labour Party) sharply distanced itself from the movie. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |author= Dalen, Astrid |coauthors= |title= Wilders' anti-islamfilm fjernet i natt |url= http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/uriks/article2335114.ece |format= online edition |work= |publisher= "Aftenposten" |location= Oslo, Norway |id= |pages= |page= |date= March 29, 2008 |accessdate=2008-03-29 |language= Norwegian |quote= Også den norske regjeringen tar skarp avstand fra den anti-islamske filmen.] Secretary of state Raymond Johansen from the Norwegian Foreign Ministry said in a statement to the newspaper "Dagsavisen" that "Wilders attempts to promote a content which contributes to hatred and suspicion. I profoundly disagree with the content, and I sharply distance myself from it." [cite news |author= Hanssen, Sturla Smári and Selmer, Erik R. |coauthors= |title= Norge tar avstand fra islamfilm |url= http://www.dagsavisen.no/utenriks/article341280.ece |format= online edition |work= |publisher= "Dagsavisen" |location= Oslo, Norway |id= |pages= |page= |date= March 29, 2008 |accessdate=2008-03-29 |language= Norwegian |quote= ]

United Kingdom: Foreign Minister David Miliband announced his commitment to the “European values of freedom of speech” but said “in each of our countries” there are legal checks to ensure speech could not incite religious or racial hatred.cite news|url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article3640828.ece|title=Britain drawn into controversy over anti-Islam video by Geert Wilders|date=2008-03-28|accessdate=2008-04-01|first=Michael|last=Theodoulou|work=The Times]

Oceania

Australian Minister for foreign affairs, Stephen Smith, "deplored" the film's release, saying that it is "an obvious attempt to generate discord between faith communities," and accused it of inciting racial hatred.Cite web|url=http://news.theage.com.au/australia-denounces-antiislam-film/20080330-22gl.html|title=Australia denounces anti-Islam film|accessdate=2008-04-03|publisher=The Age|date=2008-03-30]

International organizations

After the release of the film, a number of international organizations released statements or otherwise responded to the film. United Nations' Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated on on March 28 2008 that In its statement, The Muslim World League said that "Fitna's" release was " [an] offensive act that aims to spread discord between people." The European Union’s Slovenian president repudiated the film, commenting that it served “no other purpose than inflaming hatred”. The EU foreign ministers also condemned the film. “The film equates Islam with violence and this view is sharply rejected”, the ministers said in their statement, released after a meeting in Brdo, Slovenia. [cite news|title=EU foreign ministers condemn Dutch film on Islam |url=http://www.euractiv.com/en/culture/eu-foreign-ministers-condemn-dutch-film-islam/article-171227 |date=2008-03-31 |accessdate=2008-03-31 |publisher=EurActiv.com.] Europe’s highest human rights authority, the Strasbourg based Council of Europe, called the film “a distasteful manipulation which exploits ignorance, prejudice and fear”. [cite news|url=http://www.dawn.com/2008/03/29/top8.htm|title=Anti-Islam film assailed widely|date=2008-03-29|accessdate=2008-03-30|first=Rabi|last=ul-Awwal|work=dawn.com]

Lengthier responses were released by the Arab European League and the Union of NGOs of the Islamic World.

Union of NGOs of the Islamic World

The Union of NGOs of the Islamic World (UNIW) issued a press release, stating that the film "heavily included insults to the Holy Qur’an and to the Islamic values." The UNIW said that distribution of such Islamophobic material, as well as other forms of Islamophobia such as the thatrical interpretation of Salman Rushdie's novel, The Satanic Verses, and the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons, should be banned in Europe. It said that "humiliation of the values that are held in high esteem by people cannot be justified by the freedom of speech" or artistic expression. It stated that "freedom of speech and disseminating ideas do not amount to the right to insult," and that no-one's "sacred values" should be humiliated. It went on to call for European states to "not give permission to such publications, broadcasts and policies," and asked that they "take the necessary regulations that shall regard the Islamophobic acts and incidents as a crime." The UNIW likened Islamophobia to antisemitism and its legal status in Europe, saying that if Islamophobia and Islamophobic publications are not made illegal, "marginal extremist-racist groups that are after discrimination may be strengthened." It said that Islamophobia is an infringement of human rights, and "a perilous discrimination." It said:

"The reason why Muslim public opinion have not overreacted to these aforementioned broadcasts, policies and events is that they have a common sense stemming from their belief. Nevertheless, it does not mean that they shall never react. It should be ensured that Muslim public opinion react to these all the Anti-Islamist broadcasts, policies and acts through peaceful means."
The UNIW called on Europe "to use their common sense and heed, and to revise their attitudes in order to build social peace."Cite web|url=http://www.theunity.org/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=239:european-governments-must-not-give-countenance-to-anti-islamism&catid=2:basn-acklamalar&Itemid=3|title= EUROPEAN GOVERNMENTS MUST NOT GIVE COUNTENANCE TO ANTI-ISLAMISM!|accessdate=2008-04-06|publisher=Union of NGOs of the Islamic World|date=2008-04-01|author=UNIW Press Release] Cite web|url=http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=138299|title=UNIW’s Sadıkoğlu: European states must not tolerate anti-Islam activities|accessdate=2008-04-06|publisher=Today's Zaman|year=2008-04-04]

Arab European League

The Arab European League released a short film, "Al Mouftinoun", in response to "Fitna". It was released March 28 on YouTube, one day after "Fitna" was released. "Al Mouftinoun" criticizes Fitna's director Wilders as a racist. The film was created by the AEL because they find that Muslims are being marginalised and discriminated against by "Fitna" cite news
title = De Arabisch-Europese Liga lanceert film
url = http://belgium.arabeuropean.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=115&Itemid=1
publisher = Arab European League Belgium
date = 2008-03-28
accessdate = 2008-03-29
language = Dutch
] .

On [http://www.ael.nl/ their website] , the AEL claimed the following:

The announced movie of Wilders and the Danish cartoons are part of an agenda to provoke Muslims in Europe and around the world under the flag of freedom of expression. There can be no doubt about their intentions. Defending their statements with the right of expression is deceptive. There should be a debate on the content. The right-wing movement should not be underestimated. They represent a large part of European society. They are advocating for the eradication of equality as a constitutional law. And more often advocating for constriction of the rights of ethnic minorities. The right-wing movement in the Netherlands and in Europe in general is not compatible with its own" Western " values. [AEL Blog about Fitna]

References

External links


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