Verhagen warns Wilders not to release film

29th February 2008, Comments 9 comments

Do not broadcast critical Islam movie, says Dutch foreign minister

29 February 2008

AMSTERDAM - Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen on Thursday called upon legislator Geert Wilders, founder of the right-wing Freedom Party, not to broadcast a movie that is heavily critical of the Islamic religion.

Verhagen said the movie might "endanger the lives of Dutch nationals" worldwide and harm Dutch business in Muslim countries.

"I am very concerned about the wellbeing of Dutch nationals abroad," Verhagen said, speaking in a Dutch current affairs programme.

"I am not trying to meet demands from anti-democratic forces and terrorists in the Middle East," Verhagen said. "I am simply protecting Dutch interests abroad."

The faction leader of Verhagen's Christian Democrats in parliament, Pieter van Geel, joined him in the public request.

Earlier Thursday the Taliban threatened to harm Dutch military targets in Afghanistan and beyond if Wilders persists in his plans to release a movie criticising the Islamic religion.

Al-Qaeda has also threatened to harm Dutch targets if the movie is broadcast. Last week the Iranian parliament warned the Dutch government to ensure the movie will not be aired.

Responding to Verhagen, Wilders, who announced his film will be broadcast in the coming days on, said the Dutch minister could "get lost."

Wilders is the most outspoken Islam critic in the Netherlands. He has called Islam a "backward and retarded culture" and the Koran a "fascist book."

In August, he called for a ban on the Koran in the Netherlands.

Last November he announced he would make a movie explaining to the Dutch public why the Koran is a fascist book that incites people to commit violence and terrorism.

Even before Dutch Muslims responded to the movie, the Dutch government officially warned Wilders that the film might pose a danger to his life.

In 2004, Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh was assassinated by a Muslim fundamentalist after making the movie Submission, a film criticising the position of women in the Muslim world.

Wilders is one of several Dutch Islam critics who has been living under heavy personal security ever since.

Earlier this month Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende sharply criticised Wilders' approach on migrants and Islam in an opinion article in Dutch daily Volkskrant.

Balkenende said last year that Wilders had the "every right" to make a movie of any kind, as the Netherlands is a "free country" where people enjoy freedom of expression.

The Freedom Party Wilders established prior to the 2006 parliamentary elections is doing very well in the Dutch polls. If elections would be held today, the party would jump from 9 to 15 seats in parliament.

[Copyright dpa 2008]

9 Comments To This Article

  • Alicia Luna posted:

    on 13th March 2008, 13:43:57 - Reply

    I totally agree with the making and the projection of the film, he has all the right to do so. Even though I profoundly dislike the guy itself I support his vision of islam, I just extend mine to all kind of religions and that's where I wonder if he will be so critical with the bible aswell since it also has its share(and a good deal of it)of fascism, machismo, racism, hate and violence.
  • john doe posted:

    on 5th March 2008, 16:01:28 - Reply

    Verhagen and Balkenende are snivelling cowards and traitors. They are concerned about one thing only but they will never admit it. The filthy lucre. Holland's trade with Islamic countries, fascist totalitarian regimes like Saudi Arabia. The Dutch economy. Their SUV's and expensive lifestyles are more important to them than truth, freedom and beauty.They are shamefully compromised weaklings who are sleeping with the enemy for the sake of comfort. Fear is what motivates them. They are the problem..not Wilders.These dhimmis do not care about the Dutch people and human rights...not for a second. Anyone who genuinely loves freedom and equal rights and knows what Islam and the koran represents would support Wilders.
  • Gigantor posted:

    on 5th March 2008, 13:54:18 - Reply

    Well said, asdf.
  • asdf posted:

    on 4th March 2008, 23:36:36 - Reply


    Although I agree that the release of Geert Wilders' film might be inflammatory and incite violence, it should still be allowed to be broadcast. Voltaire had it right, it is the most important part of that right to free speech that ALL, no matter who they are or what they stand for, have the opportunity to express their beliefs. This would be everyone from radical and militant Islamists, to Geert Wilders, from Communists to Neo-Nazis. It is through this free exchange of ideas that people can make informed decisions about what is best for themselves and for their nation or culture.

    On the other hand, having the right to free speech does not absolve you of the consequences of what you say. If you want to say something that you know is inflammatory to many other people watch out to threats to your person and to people connected with you. Basically, Geert Wilders certainly has the right to broadcast his message but if things don't go down very well afterwards, he can fully expect the Dutch people to take him to task for his words.

    And as for the Dutch learning any lesson during World War II, that is cast into doubt from their actions during the war and their "Police Action" in Indonesia afterwards. Nothing about this is truly black and white.
  • Gigantor posted:

    on 1st March 2008, 07:18:52 - Reply


    I've been following Mr Wilder's comments closely. And nowhere has he 'incited violence', preached 'hatred', spouted 'bigotry' or espoused 'racism'.

    See, let me explain it to you simply, so you can understand. Islam isn't a race, so opposition to it can't be racist, can it?

    And how can it be bigotry, it he's simply quoting from the Koran itself? Uncomfortable truths, certainly, that contradict the endless "Religion of Peace (tm)" mantra that keeps getting jammed down our throats, but not bigotry.

    Further, I've never heard Mr. Wilders say all foreigners are terrible, nor that they should have their religious freedoms removed and forcibly repatriated. Rather, I have heard him say that if you don't conform to the laws of the Netherlands and reject Dutch society, you should leave. He's right, of course, as was Pim Fortuijn. As is Hirsi Ali.

    Now, on the other hand, I do read regularly of imams urging violence, preaching racism and bigotry (does "sons of pigs and monkeys" ring a bell when they speak of Jews?) and extreme intolerance. How about the anti-gay ravings of the imam in Rotterdam that say gays ought to killed violently for their 'sins'? Clearly, you think that's perfectly acceptable free-speech behavior that doesn't infringe any gay persons rights. Talk about a double standard and hypocrisy!

    It's not hypocritical to want security as an MP when his life is repeatedly threatened by these types. I find it significant that you mention in the same breath, the current Islamic threat with the Nazi threat of the past. There are a lot of similarities there though I'm sure you didn't mean it that way.

    The lesson many Dutch did learn from the Nazi's was that one does have to stand up to evil and threats or face the consequences. Hopefully, like the Danes who are also under threat today, they'll continue to stand up to the threats we all face now.
  • Geoff posted:

    on 1st March 2008, 06:00:07 - Reply

    I am sorry Jessi sometimes violence must be faced. Hitler should have been faced early as he incited violence, preached hatred spouted bigotry and espoused racism - as does Islam. The lesson the Dutch have learnt (or should have learnt) is to face off early and hard. Chamberlain and company had ample chances to nullify a tyrant who was eventually responsible for 55 million deaths. Unfortunately, Chamberlain and company thought like you. The more we bend to Islam the harder we will eventually fall.

    Jessi, we always have the right to speak the truth.
  • Jessi posted:

    on 1st March 2008, 02:58:02 - Reply

    You have the right of freedom of expression until your expression infringes or damages the freedoms of other people. And in the Netherlands you do not have the right to incite violence, preach hatred, spout bigotry, or espouse racism. The Dutch learned their lesson with those things with the Nazi's. Hopefully they will remember their willingness to slaughter people for their religion two generations ago and err on the side of tolerance for human beings. I think Wilders would be very wise in reconsidering the broadcasting of this film. It will not just influence him, it will have repercussions for all Dutch people and anyone living in the Netherlands. And at this point, this seems to be more about his personal problem with Islam and foreigners than anything else.

    I read a few months ago, an article where Wilders discusses all the ways in which foreigners are terrible and Islam in particular is "Evil" and how they should have all of their freedoms removed and be forced to return to their countries of origin regardless of how long they've been here or whether or not they'd be in danger there, or what their quality of life would be there. And then he whined that he didn't have freedom because he thinks that he needs security. And in my view, he's being ridiculous and hypocritical as well. You have to expect that what you will do will have consequences. He seems to enjoy feeling persecuted, even while he's persecuting someone else.
  • M Graves posted:

    on 29th February 2008, 20:23:00 - Reply

    He is certainly has the right to free expression. Voltaire would certainly defend his right to free expression. Is it the right thing to do at this time.
  • Gigantor posted:

    on 29th February 2008, 17:38:20 - Reply

    Hm. Let me see.

    Geert has two balls.

    Maxime has none. What a girlie name, after all.

    Looks like the score is 2-0.

    Religion of Peace strikes again!