Dutch want Koran film shown but fear reactions: poll

Wed Mar 5, 2008 10:45am EST
 

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A majority of Dutch people want an anti-Koran film made by a politician to be broadcast even though they fear it will stoke tension with Muslims and harm relations with Arab countries, a poll showed on Wednesday.

A newspaper reported on Monday that the Dutch government is looking into whether it could ban the film by right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders, who has likened the Koran to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, but given few details about his movie.

He has also called the Koran a "fascist" book that incites violence and said it should be banned.

The poll by TNS NIPO for RTL television showed that 54 percent thought the film should be broadcast although 76 percent expected it to increase tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims and 74 percent saw worsening relations with Arab nations.

The survey of 600 people conducted on February 29 showed that 68 percent expected a boycott like that seen against Denmark after cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed appeared in a Danish newspaper.

Around 5,000 Afghans protested on Wednesday about the reprinting of the cartoons and Wilders' plan for the Koran film. Pakistan's foreign ministry accused the Dutch politician of "propagating the politics of hate and promoting xenophobia."

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said last week the country risked economic sanctions and attacks on its troops in Afghanistan because of the film.

Wilders is calling the film "Fitna," an Arabic term used in the Koran and sometimes translated as "strife." The Web site where he plans to post the film (www.fitnathemovie.com) went live on Wednesday, showing a picture of the cover of the Koran.

In 2004 the Netherlands -- home to almost 1 million Muslims or 6 percent of the population -- was plunged into turmoil when an Islamic militant killed director Theo Van Gogh over a film he made accusing Islam of condoning violence against women.

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Stephen Weeks)