Carlo's Think Pieces

Reflections of a Filipino in the Netherlands

Anti-islam movie coming this April in the internet

Posted by butalidnl on 20 March 2008

The word is out: Fitna, the anti-islam movie by the Dutch ultra-right (and racist) politician Geert Wilders will definitely come out this coming April; but only in the internet. According to Wilders, the movie will show that the Koran is a book that is full of passages inciting to violence (against nonMuslims). With it, he wants to back up his arguments for a crackdown on Muslims in the Netherlands, which he sees as a mortal threat to Dutch society. (He literally believes in this, declaring that many Muslims are out to kill Christians.) His party, the PVV (Party for Freedom – what an ironic name, if you ask me) is calling for severe limitations on immigration from Muslim countries, and even the banning of the Koran, among other things.

Wilders originally wanted to broadcast Fitna on Dutch TV. This plan raised tempers all over the Muslim world, and Dutch diplomatic and security services warned of severe repercussions against Dutch citizens, properties and products if the film comes out on TV. The Dutch government and parliament implored Wilders not to go on with his broadcast plans, since this would hurt Dutch interests abroad and create tensions within Dutch society. Wilders refused.

The government and parliament are not able to simply ban the film, if there is no proof that the film is harmful. Although we all know that it will probably be quite harmful; Dutch courts could only ban the film  if evidence is presented proving it to be harmful.  For this to happen, a copy of the film is needed, or enough testimony presented to prove the point.

The broadcast media saved the day. All TV networks refused to broadcast Fitna (which actually is only a 15 minute movie). They said that Wilders demanded that they  agree to air the movie, even before they would have a chance to preview it. Wilders made this demand because he was afraid that letting the movie be previewed would provide the proof needed for a ban. The networks found Wilders’ demand unreasonable, because it would deprive them of editorial control over what they broadcast (after all, they would in effect be responsible for something they had not yet seen).

The latest announcement that the film will come out in the internet is about the best that we could hope for, I guess.  In theory, it could still be possible to stop this if somehow the internet providers would all refuse to host it.  Or if the domain name would be cancelled by the domain registry authorities.  But I doubt it.


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