Dutch outcry over anti-Islamic film


AMSTERDAM -- Political pressure is mounting on Dutch politician and filmmaker Geert Wilders to not release his anti-Islamic short film "Fitna."

Netherlands Prime Minister J.P. Balkenende, foreign affairs minister M. Verhagen and the country's largest political party, the Christian-democratic CDA, this week all urged Wilders not to release his film.

The Dutch government considers Wilders' actions "irresponsible," local press reported, claiming that Wilders has no idea about the safety, economic and political consequences of his film, in which he attacks the Koran.

Dutch embassies in several Muslim countries already have expressed their concerns about the possible release of the film. The fear among the embassy staff is that the Netherlands could face the same problems that Denmark had several years ago with its newspaper cartoons mocking the prophet Mohammed.

Already, in seeming protest, a Dutch family film, the local Warner Bros. release "Waar Is Het Paard Van Sinterklaas" (Where Is Winky's Horse?), has been banned this week from a children's film festival in Cairo, Dutch radio station Wereldomroep reported Thursday.

Right-wing politician Wilders has stated in the Dutch press that he will continue with his film, even after talks with Prime Minister Balkenende.

This week he launched the Web site FitnaTheMovie.com through a U.S. service provider as a possible outlet for his film.

So far, no broadcaster or distributor in the Netherlands is willing to show an uncut version of the film that will probably run to about 10 minutes.

Three years ago a similar film, "Submission Part 1" directed by Theo van Gogh, led to the murder of the filmmaker on the streets of Amsterdam. As a result of his previous attacks on Islam, Wilders has already been living under police protection for several years.