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 www.fitnathemovie.com, 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]

3 Comments To This Article

  • 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!