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.
‘WITHIN SAFE LIMITS’: Hong Kong is to ask authorities in Guangdong for updates regarding the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant and inform the public of developments The Hong Kong government is closely watching a nearby Chinese nuclear power plant following a news report that it might be leaking, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) said yesterday. The plant’s operators have released few details, but nuclear experts have said that based on their brief public statement, the facility might be suffering a leak of gas from fuel rods inside a reactor. Government data showed that radiation levels in Hong Kong were normal on Monday night, Lam said. Data from the Hong Kong Observatory showed radiation levels were still normal yesterday. A French company that helps manage the Taishan Nuclear
Maori might have been the first to discover Antarctica, with connections to the icy continent and its surrounding oceans stretching back to the seventh century, researchers say. A new paper by University of Otago combines literature and oral histories, and concludes that Maori were likely the first people to explore Antarctica’s surrounding waters and possibly the continent in the distance. They write that Maori and Polynesian journeys to the deep south have been occurring for a long time, perhaps as far back as the 7th century, and are recorded in a variety of oral traditions. The oral histories of Maori groups Ngti Rrua
Until recently, the location of executed Japanese prime minister Hideki Tojo’s remains was one of World War II’s biggest mysteries in the nation he once led. Now, a Japanese university professor has revealed declassified US military documents that appear to hold the answer. The documents show the cremated ashes of Tojo, one of the masterminds of the Pearl Harbor attack, were scattered from a US Army aircraft over the Pacific Ocean about 50km east of Yokohama, Japan’s second-largest city. It was a tension-filled, highly secretive mission, with US officials taking extreme steps to keep Tojo’s remains, and those of six others executed
In India’s capital, New Delhi, thousands of commuters yesterday crowded into underground train stations and shopping malls, prompting some doctors to say that it could lead to a resurgence in COVID-19 infections. Major Indian cities have begun lifting strict lockdowns as the nationwide tally of new infections has dropped to its lowest level in more than two months. However, disease experts and doctors have cautioned that a race toward resuming business as usual would compromise vaccination efforts, as only about 5 percent of all 950 million eligible adults have been inoculated. Doctors have said New Delhi’s near-complete reopening is concerning. The city’s authorities