Dutch Anti-Islam Film Sparks Protests

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An anti-Islam film released by a Dutch lawmaker has sparked protests in Pakistan, as well as outrage from other Muslim nations across the globe.

The 15-minute online film titled "Fitna" features statements from radical Muslims against verses from the Koran, along with brutal images of terrorist attacks. Shortly afterward it was posted online, Dutch television channels rebroadcast segments of it.

In Pakistan, dozens staged an angry protest outside a mosque in Karachi. In Quetta, about 100 protesters paraded through the streets, calling on their government to expel the Dutch ambassador.

Banners at another demonstration in Lahore read, "We hate the uncivilized West."

Other Muslim countries also expressed outrage over the film. Officials in Indonesia called it "misleading and full of racism." In Iran, foreign ministry spokesman described the film as "anti-Islamic and insulting,"

Inflammatory Images

The film uses clips from terrorist attacks in the U.S., Spain, and the Netherlands. It begins and ends with one of the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that provoked violent protests in Islamic countries two years ago.

The Dutch government warned filmmaker Geert Wilders that his film could incite protests. One muslim group in the netherlands already wants the film fined 80,000 for every day it's released.

But Wilders insists his movie was "not a provocation, but the harsh reality." He said it is a final warning, as far as he's concerned, that our freedoms must be preserved.

"Islam and the Koran are dangers to the preservation of freedom in the Netherlands in the long term, and I have to warn people of that," he said.

Dutch Citizens React

Thousands of Dutch demonstrated Saturday in Amsterdam to show that Wilders does not represent the whole country. But Dutch Muslims appealed for calm and said it was less inflammatory than they had feared.

The leader of the Netherlands' large Moroccan community said the film was "less bad" than expected. Another prominent Muslim dismissed it as an attempt by Wilders to gain votes by trying to make people fearful of Islam.

Wilders is head of a political party that holds nine seats in the 150-member Dutch parliament. His main campaign issues have been halting immigration and preventing the "Islamization" of Dutch culture.

Lawsuits Pending

The Danish Union of Journalists said it will sue Wilders for copyright infringement for using the cartoon. It said the cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard, did not give Wilders permission to use the image in his film, which it called "political propaganda."

Also, a court in Rotterdam said it would deliver its decision on April 7 on a petition by the Dutch Islamic Federation seeking to gag Wilders and order him to publicize an apology.

Source: The Associated Press

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