Sarkozy voices 'support' for Dutch PM in anti-Islam film row
Nicolas Sarkozy voiced his solidarity with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, who fears a Muslim backlash over a film criticising Islam made by a far-right Dutch MP.
PARIS, March 6, 2008 - French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday
voiced his solidarity with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, who
fears a Muslim backlash over a film criticising Islam made by a far-right
Sarkozy assured Balkenende of his "support" over lunch at the Elysee
Palace, saying he was "highly aware of the question of Islam's place in
European societies, and French society in particular," a presidential
Balkenende stressed once again that he was in "total disagreement" with the
film's author Geert Wilders, warning it could spark protests similar to those
unleashed by the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in Denmark.
"Obviously, we need to be careful of what is happening in other countries,"
Wilders, head of the Dutch far-right Freedom Party, said that if he finds a
Dutch broadcaster to show the film uncut it could be on the air within a
couple of days, and that he will otherwise present it at a press conference
later this month and on the Internet.
The planned release of the film, which Wilders says portrays the "fascist"
character of Islam's holy book, the Koran, has already sparked protests in
parts of the Muslim world.
Muslim-majority Bangladesh has called for its broadcast to be cancelled,
Afghan lawmakers have demonstrated against it and the Taliban has warned it
will step up attacks on Dutch soldiers in Afghanistan.
The film, which lasts around 15 minutes, is called "Fitna", which in Arabic
means war, or division, in the heart of Islam.