Dutch critic of Islam launches anti-Koran film

Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:26pm EDT
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By Emma Thomasson and Alexandra Hudson

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders launched a film on Thursday that accuses the Koran of inciting violence and warns that Muslim immigrants threaten the West, prompting the government to appeal for calm.

The film "Fitna" was posted on his Freedom Party's Web site (www.pvv.nl), which crashed soon afterwards. But it could still be viewed on a file-sharing Web site in English and Dutch.

Dutch broadcasters had refused to show the film and a U.S.-based web service which Wilders had planned to use deactivated the site at the weekend after receiving complaints.

The Dutch government is anxious to avert the kind of Muslim backlash Denmark suffered in 2006 over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said on Thursday he rejected the film's attempt to link Islam with violence.

Wilders has been under heavy guard because of Islamist death threats since the 2004 murder of Dutch director Theo van Gogh, who made a film critical of Islam's treatment of women.

"Fitna," a Koranic term sometimes translated as "strife," intersperses shots of the September 11, 2001 attacks and other bombings with quotations from the Koran.

"Prepare for them whatever force and cavalry ye are able of gathering to strike terror, to strike terror in the hearts of the enemies of Allah and your enemies," the first quote reads.

The film warns that the rising number of Muslims in the Netherlands and the rest of Europe threatens democratic values.   Continued...

<p>A demonstrator holds a sign during a protest against Dutch politician and anti-Islam film-maker Geert Wilders at Dam square in Amsterdam March 22, 2008. REUTERS/Ade Johnson</p>