Wilders pushes ahead with anti-Koran film
EmptyAMSTERDAM -- Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders said Thursday on Dutch national television that he will proceed with the release of his 15-minute anti-Koran short "Fitna," even though the local government has raised its national security level to "substantial."
Wilders still is looking for a local broadcaster to show the film this month. A survey, however, from several Dutch newspapers showed that none of the public and commercial broadcasters is willing to present the film without cuts.
On March 28, Wilders plans to present "Fitna" at an international news conference in Nieuwspoort, the historic newsroom center in the Hague, the political capital in the Netherlands. He is negotiating with authorities on the heavy security measures that will be needed.
If no broadcaster agrees to Wilders' demands, he plans to show his film on his recently launched Web site, FitnaTheMovie.com, which already contains a trailer. During his TV appearance, Wilders said he has finished the film in which he will show the current influence of the Koran on world affairs.
Previously, Wilders compared the religious text to Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf." His view is that the Koran should be banned because it provokes violence. The title "Fitna" refers to an Arabic term that translates to "strife." In the Dutch community, resentment toward Wilders is growing. An anti-Wilders Web site collapsed Thursday because of too many hits -- about 250 per second. Some politicians have said they will make their own short to counter Wilders' views.
Meanwhile, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Pieter Balkenende is looking for support from other EU countries if the Netherlands ends up facing the same kind of crisis that hit Denmark following the publishing of political cartoons that portrayed the Muslim prophet Mohammed. French president Nicolas Sarkozy said his country will support Holland.
The debate in Holland deals with the issue of freedom of speech and national security by the action of a single politician who is -- because of previous threats to his person -- the most well-protected inhabitant of the Netherlands. A majority of the Dutch people in a recent poll declared that the film should be broadcast, though they fear growing tension with the nation's Muslim minority as well as potential damage to international relations with Muslim countries.
In 2004, another short film, Theo Van Gogh's "Submission Part 1," led to the murder of its director on the streets of Amsterdam. It's an event that still lingers in the minds of many Dutch.
Reuters contributed to this report.