Indonesian president urges calm over Dutch film

Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:11pm EDT
 
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JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia's president urged his predominantly Muslim nation on Monday not to use violence in protests at a film on Islam by a right-wing Dutch lawmaker, and said world leaders had a moral responsibility to take action.

Indonesia has banned broadcasts of the film by Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch anti-immigration Freedom Party, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told a news conference.

"I also urge that people do not conduct actions such as vandalism, sweeping (for opponents) and other violent activities because Islam and other religions never allow these," he said.

Yudhoyono called on the Dutch government and parliament to stop broadcasts of the film, which accuses the Koran of inciting violence, and urged international media and Web sites to ignore

Wilders launched his short video "Fitna" -- an Arabic term sometimes translated as "strife" -- on the Internet last week, drawing condemnation from Muslim nations.

"I feel world leaders have the moral responsibility to cooperate to prevent and stop such activities as the making of the Fitna film," added Yudhoyono, who said the government intended to ban Wilders from visiting Indonesia.

About 50 members of a hardline Indonesian Muslim group held a protest outside the Dutch embassy earlier in the day, some calling for the death of Wilders.

Dozens of police, with two water cannon, did not intervene during the protest by white-clad members of the Islamic Defenders' Front, some of whom hurled eggs and plastic water bottles into the compound of the Dutch embassy in Jakarta.

"I call on Muslims around the world, if you run into the maker of the film, kill him," said one speaker at the rally   Continued...

 
<p>A hardline Muslim youth shouts slogans during a rally outside the Dutch Embassy in Jakarta March 31, 2008. REUTERS/Dadang Tri</p>