Political parties react to Fitna
28 March 2008
THE HAGUE – The various political parties have responded to the release of MP Geert Wilders’ long-awaited film on the Koran Thursday evening.
The faction leader of the green party Femke Halsema says Fitna "does not add anything to what has been published about violent extremism over the past years."
"While Wilders has said for months that he would provide evidence that Islam is fascist, he has failed with Fitna," Halsema said Thursday.
Although Wilders does show that violent Islamic movements are a threat to the constitutional state, this has already been done just as convincingly, if not more so, in many journalistic reports.
"The fact that terrorists claim justification in the Koran does not provide any evidence for Wilders’ standpoint that Islam as a whole is a violent ideology that strives for world domination."
Leader of the liberal party Mark Rutte thinks Fitna is a missed opportunity.
"He now has an audience of millions that he could have made use of to present solutions to problems with radical Islam and integration. Instead of doing something constructive he’s shown old footage of terrorist and criminal acts."
Rutte says MPs should not bring old archives into the spotlight, but instead undertake efforts to solve the problems. "This is what we’re paid for after all."
Labour leader and deputy prime minister Wouter Bos said the first reactions from the Muslim world to Wilders’ film were "favourable."
"That doesn’t surprise me actually. Most Muslims and Muslim organisations have taken an extremely wise attitude in the run-up to the release," Bos said in an initial reaction.
He said that Wilders’ film "shows little more than a succession of scoundrels, terrorists, murders and spreaders of hate." It is "as easy for Muslims as for any other decent citizen to condemn and reject those kinds of people and their acts and motives."
Faction leader of the Christian democrats Pieter van Geel continues to maintain that Geert Wilders would have done better not to have released the film. "The film is villainous and unnecessarily hurtful." The party had already called on Wilders to abandon the project.
By "villainous" Van Geel means that Fitna makes a connection between extremist attacks and the Muslims in the Netherlands. In his view the film does not contribute at all to solving issues like integration and the multicultural society.
Democrats D66 leader Alexander Pechtold says the film is a riotous and tendentious statement.
Pechtold says he thinks it good that the Freedom party PVV leader now says he wants to enter debate with Muslims. But he would also like to hold an extensive one-on-one debate with Wilders himself.
"I have been challenging him for 18 months now to enter dialogue with me. But he keeps avoiding it."
Leader of the Fundamentalist Christian faction Bas van der Vlies feels after a first viewing of Fitna that PVV leader has been cautious in his film and "did not deliberately try to hurt anyone." Van der Vlies said the film was "a stimulating contribution to the debate."
The SGP leader says much of the material on Islam in the film has already been shown. "It is good that the film has been released now. I hope a calm and collected debate can follow."
The Socialist party also says there is "nothing new" in the film released Thursday. "There are mostly old newspaper clippings and television footage, and Wilders making generalisations again," the SP said in a statement.
The socialists say Wilders does not recognise the moderate majority. "He only sees one Islam and that is the Islam of the fundamentalists. In that regard he is in agreement with the people he claims to be fighting," the SP said.
Faction leader of the ChristenUnie Arie Slob pointed out that Parliament had already discussed Islam with PVV leader Wilders extensively last September.
"The footage was familiar, but it was terrible to see it all compiled. The film gives the impression that every Muslim uses violence, and is a terrorist.
"Fortunately that is not the case and most Muslims in the Netherlands have in fact distanced themselves from the abuse of Islam. Many Muslims appreciate the fact actually that this kind of behaviour is not tolerated in the Netherlands and that action is taken against it."
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2008]