Dutch lawmaker warned over Koran telefilm


AMSTERDAM - A Dutch far-right politician whose anti-Islam comments have led to death threats says he is making a film for television about the Koran, despite warnings from the Dutch government about making such a film.

Geert Wilders, who lives under constant guard, told Dutch television he wanted his film to open people's eyes.

"It is not my intention to offend people. I just want to illustrate my opinions, which I have expressed as a member of parliament," he told broadcaster NOS. "If people do feel offended that is a shame, but it is not my problem," he added.

A justice ministry spokesman said the Justice and Foreign Ministers met with Geert Wilders to discuss with him the risks of making such a film to himself and Dutch interests abroad while also outlining his right to free speech.

The idea of a film made by a high-profile Islam critic for screening on Dutch television has a disturbing precedent in the Netherlands.

Three years ago an Islamic militant killed filmmaker Theo Van Gogh over his film "Submission," written by former Dutch lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi-Ali, in which she accused Islam of condoning violence against women.

The murder unleashed a violent anti-Muslim backlash and forced Hirsi-Ali into hiding.

Abdelmajid Khairoun of the Dutch Muslim Council told Dutch news agency ANP Wilders was simply trying to provoke, but he feared the worst should the film actually be made, and it could provoke similar reactions abroad to those seen over Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet.

Wilders' Freedom Party won nine seats out of the 150 available in parliament in last November's elections, and latest opinion polls by Peil.nl give him up to 11 seats.

Previously he has warned of a "tsunami of Islamisation" in a country home to 1 million Muslims, and has called for a vote of no-confidence in two Muslim government ministers, questioning their loyalty to the country because of their dual nationality.

In April, Wilders, who has called the Koran a "fascist" book, said he had been warned by the Dutch anti-terrorism chief about the anger caused by his statements in the Middle East.

Last year Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest shrines, withdrew its ambassador to Copenhagen over the Danish cartoons which provoked worldwide protests among Muslims.