A Dutch legislator's film that portrays Islam as a ticking time bomb aimed at Western democracy prompted denunciations from Muslim capitals and street protests in Pakistan, but a restrained reaction from Dutch Muslims who had expected worse.
The 15-minute film, titled Fitna, an Arabic word meaning "ordeal," by anti-immigrant politician Geert Wilders was posted on a Web site late on Thursday.
On Friday, the Web site LiveLeak.com removed the film, citing threats to its staff "of a very serious nature," but it has since been widely dispersed on file-sharing sites.
Employing elements and symbols calculated to offend Muslims, Fitna draws on well-worn footage of terrorist attacks and anti-Western, anti-Jewish rhetoric that was meant to alarm the native Dutch.
Hundreds of Muslims demonstrated in Pakistan. The Foreign Ministry summoned the Dutch ambassador to deliver an official complaint against what it called a "defamatory film which deeply offended the sentiments of Muslims all over the world."
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the movie.
"There is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence. The right of free expression is not at stake here," he said in a statement in New York.
"The real fault line is not between Muslim and Western societies, as some would have us believe, but between small minorities of extremists, on different sides, with a vested interest in stirring hostility and conflict," he said.
Condemnations also came from the government of Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, Iran and Jordan.
"It is not Islam that should be stopped, it is fear-mongers like Geert Wilders who should be stopped from spreading their hatred," said Zakaria al-Sheik of the Rassoul Allah Yajmana, a Jordanian group formed to protect the image of Islam.
The Council of Europe said the film was a "distasteful manipulation" that exploits fear. The World Council of Churches said it failed to distinguish extremism from the more mainstream Islam.
"Extremism is a problem for most religions and needs to be countered through inter-religious dialogue," the Reverend Shanta Premawardhana said.
Dutch Muslims said the film misrepresented Islam, but that Wilders had largely stayed within the bounds of acceptable political discourse -- winning praise from Wilders himself for their civil reaction.
Wilders argues in the film that Islam's objective is to rule the world and impose an Islamic order without Western freedoms, where gays would be persecuted and women discriminated against.
The film employed elements and symbols calculated to offend Muslims. It reproduced pages of the Koran with the voice of an imam intoning the text.
Alongside appears translations in Dutch or English of passages calling on followers to defend the faith and slay their enemies.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong (FCC) yesterday said that reporters in the territory were experiencing “highly unusual” visas problems, and called on the US and China to stop using the media as a political weapon. Journalists have been caught up in US-China tensions, with both sides placing limits or expelling reporters from their territories in the past few months. Now the spat is filtering into Hong Kong, a regional press hub nominally in charge of its own immigration policies. The FCC said in a statement that multiple media firms had reported delays getting visas in recent months. “The delays have affected journalists