Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen called upon legislator Geert Wilders, founder of the right- wing Freedom Party, not to broadcast a movie that is heavily critical of the Islamic religion. Verhagen said the movie might endanger the lives of Dutch
nationals worldwide and harm Dutch business in Muslim countries.
I am not trying to meet demands from anti-democratic forces and terrorists in the Middle East, Verhagen said. I am simply protecting Dutch interests abroad.
The faction leader of Verhagen's Christian Democrats in parliament, Pieter van Geel, joined her in the public request.
Earlier Thursday the Taliban threatened to harm Dutch military targets in Afghanistan and beyond if Wilders would persist in his plans to release a movie criticizing the Islamic religion.
Al-Qaeda has also threatened to harm Dutch targets if the movie is broadcast. Last week the Iranian parliament warned the Dutch government to ensure the movie will not be aired.
Responding to Verhagen, Wilders, who announced his film will be broadcast in the coming days on www.fitnathemovie.com
, said the Dutch minister could "get lost."
Al Qaeda has reportedly issued an order to kill a Dutch lawmaker who plans to release an anti-Koran film in March, Dutch paper De Telegraaf has reported.
In a recent message on a protected web forum on the website alekhlaas.net, which has links with Al Qaeda, the terror group called on people to "slaughter" Dutch legislator Geert Wilders.
The paper quoted the message as reading: In the name of Allah, we ask you to bring us the head of this infidel who insults Islam and Muslims and ridicules the Prophet Mohammed.
The message honored Mohammed B, who murdered Dutch director Theo van Gogh in 2004 for making a film critical of Islam, as a hero.
The forum also calls for the "terrorization" of the Netherlands to prevent the controversial film from being shown: We, the Muslim people of the world, must fight against anyone who derides Islam. The Dutch do not want Muslims living in
their country because they are afraid that Islam will destroy them.
Wilders later said his film will be entitled Fitna (Ordeal) and lasts about 15 minutes. Wilders has a separate website on which his Koran film will be shown.
The Dutch government is consulting lawyers on whether it can ban a film by anti-immigration lawmaker Geert Wilders, who has likened the Koran to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf.
It fears the anti-Koran film could trigger violence against Netherlands citizens.
Meanwhile Nato's secretary general says he fears the airing of the film will have repercussions for troops in Afghanistan.
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer's comments came after Afghans protested on Sunday against the film being made by far-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders.
Nato's secretary general said he was concerned about his troops after the protests against the film in Afghanistan: If the [troops] find themselves in the line of fire because of the film, then I am worried about it and I am expressing that concern,
he said in a television interview.
Wilders' film is called Fitna , an Arabic word used to describe strife or discord. He has said his film will show how the Koran is an inspiration for intolerance, murder and terror.
No Dutch public or commercial television station is willing to broadcast MP Geert Wilder’s anti-Koran film, the Volkskrant reports.
The paper says Wilders insists the entire 10 to 15-minute feature be screened, a condition no broadcaster is willing to meet.
We would not do that with a film produced by the Christian Democrats or the Liberals and also not for [Geert Wilder’s party] PVV, Herman van Gelderen, head of NRCV programme Netwerk said. We are also extremely cautious about encouraging hatred
Nova editor Carel Kuyl told the paper that Wilders was willing to allow a preview of his film on the condition programme chiefs agreed to broadcast it anyway.
Wilders will now launch his film, titled Fitna , on the internet later this month. The Volkskrant reports that the press centre in The Hague, Nieuwspoort, has agreed to the presentation of Wilders' film on March 28, pending security arrangements.
Meanwhile, the AD reports that the Dutch anti-terrorism coordinator has raised the terror alarm level from ‘limited’ to ‘substantial’. Both Wilders’ film and the extension of the Dutch military mission in Afghanistan influenced the decision, the paper
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.
The poll by TNS NIPO for RTL television showed that 54% thought the film should be broadcast although 76% expected it to increase tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims and 74% saw worsening relations with Arab nations.
The survey of 600 people conducted on February 29 showed that 68% expected a boycott like that seen against Denmark after cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed appeared in a Danish newspaper.
During a meeting in Paris, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has told Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende that he will support the Netherlands if it comes under attack because of the anti-Qur'an film Fitna by populist leader Geert Wilders.
Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen has asked Dutch ambassadors in Islamic countries to do their best to protect Dutch citizens and companies. Pakistan has also brought the issue to the attention of the European Union and the Vatican. At Islamabad's
request, the matter has been placed at the top of the agenda at next week's summit of the Organisation of Islamic Conference in Senegal.
Update: Artistic Support
14th March 2007
The Danish cartoonist behind drawings satirising the Prophet Muhammad has urged a Dutch lawmaker to air an anti-Islam film despite Muslim outrage.
Kurt Westergaard said MP Geert Wilders should show his film, despite government warnings that this would damage Dutch interests.
He said that no Danish politician would dare to block the film.
Far-right lawmaker Geert Wilders plans to release Fitna , a film attacking Islam and the Koran.
The Netherlands Islamic Federation (Nederlandse Islamitische Federatie) asked a court in The Hague to set up a panel of censors to review the film, in order to discover if there is any reason for it to be banned.
The Dutch Government, while calling on Wilders to abandon his project, has previously said there is no legal way to censor a film before it appears.
The court will rule on the association's request by March 28. Wilders has said that he will release the film "before April 1", posting it on the Internet if he fails to find a broadcaster willing to carry it.
At least 1,000 people have taken part in a demonstration in Amsterdam against the planned release of a film expected to be highly critical of Islam.
Protesters objected to the planned internet release of the film by Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders.
Some protesters in central Amsterdam carried signs that said Stop the witch hunt against Muslims.
We can no longer remain silent. There is a climate of hate and fear in the Netherlands, said Rene Danen, a spokesman from anti-racism organisation Nederland Bekent Kleur (The Netherlands Shows its Colours), which organised the protest.
The website where Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders was promoting his not-yet-released anti-Qur'an film has been suspended by its US hosting service.
The site formerly showed the film's title, Fitna , the trail line "coming soon" and an image of a gilded Qur'an. Now it shows a note that the company, Network Solutions, is investigating whether the site violates its terms of service.
Network Solutions has received a number of complaints regarding this site that are under investigation, the note said.
How many ways are there left for me to be worked against? Wilders was quoted as saying: If necessary I'll go hand out DVDs personally.
A Dutch court will hear a complaint lodged by Muslim groups seeking to bar Wilders from releasing the film on March 28, but there is no legal barrier preventing Wilders releasing his film before then.
A far-right Dutch MP released a provocative film about the Koran on a British website last night, a move that is likely to provoke violent repercussions from angry Muslims around the world.
The 15-minute “documentary” juxtaposing images of Islam’s holy book with the 9/11 terror attacks and other bombings was posted on the internet by Geert Wilders, leader of the small right-wing Freedom Party, after weeks of heated debate in the Netherlands
about the project.
Wilders who has built his political career campaigning against the alleged “Islamisation” of the West, argued that the film was a legitimate exercise in freedom of expression; however, many mainstream politicians and Muslims said that it was gratuitously
Viewers had only a few minutes to see it on the Freedom Party website before it disappeared because of “technical difficulties”. It then became available in Dutch and English on LiveLeak, a British-based video-sharing website, sparking fears that
extremists could also target British interests.
The company that runs the website defended its decision to host the film last night, saying that there was no legal reason to censor it. LiveLeak.com has a strict stance on remaining unbiased and allowing freedom of speech so far as the law and our
rules allow, it said. There was no legal reason to refuse Geert Wilders the right to post his film and it is not our place to censor people based on an emotive response. The website said that it did not endorse Mr Wilders or his views.
The film opened with a Koran being opened and the text of a sura (a verse from the Koran) which it translated from Arabic as imploring the faithful to “terrorise the enemies of Allah”. It was followed by images of aircraft flying into the World Trade
Centre in New York on September 11, 2001, with extracts from phone calls to the emergency services on that day.
It showed statistics of the growing Muslim population and images of female genital mutilation, a hanging of suspected gay men, beheadings and bloodied children, all following the words: “The Netherlands in future?”
The film ended with someone leafing through the Koran, and a tearing sound. The sound you heard was from a page [being torn out] of the phone book. It is not up to me, but up to the Muslims themselves to tear the spiteful verses from the Koran, a
text on the screen said. Stop Islamisation. Defend our freedom, the film concluded.
The final image was a reproduction of the incendiary Danish cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb as a turban. The fuse coming from the bomb was lit and as the screen turned black there was the sound of thunder.
The 15-minute film, entitled Fitna - strife or division - was posted on the internet, and shortly afterwards segments were rebroadcast by TV channels.
Early reactions were muted. Yusuf Altuntas, of the Contact Group Muslims and Government, said he believed that Wilders is seeking the limits, but not crossing the line. For Mr Wilders, this is quite subtle.
The film was not as jarring as had been anticipated, said Maurits Berger, professor of Islam in the West at Leiden University. It's images and photos, headlines from recent years we already know about.
It was released the evening before a judge was due to hear a Muslim group seeking an independent review to decide whether the film violates hate speech laws. The Dutch Islamic Federation was asking the court to impose a fine of €50,000 (£39,000)
every day the film continues to be available for public view.
Mohamed Rabbae, of the moderate National Moroccan Council, had appealed for calm in January when the film was discussed before release. Yesterday he had yet to see the film, but felt this is less bad than we thought he was going to do , but
nevertheless it gave the impression the Qur'an justifies violence, and that is really wrong .
Fitna debuted on Thursday at Web site LiveLeak.com, only to be taken down a day later following threats to LiveLeak's staff.
LiveLeak on Friday afternoon issued a statement explaining its decision: Following threats to our staff of a very serious nature, and some ill-informed reports from certain corners of the British media that could directly lead to the harm of some of
our staff, LiveLeak.com has been left with no other choice but to remove Fitna from our servers.
This is a sad day for freedom of speech on the net but we have to place the safety and well being of our staff above all else. We would like to thank the thousands of people, from all backgrounds and religions, who gave us their support. They realized
LiveLeak.com is a vehicle for many opinions and not just for the support of one.
Perhaps there is still hope that this situation may produce a discussion that could benefit and educate all of us as to how we can accept one another's culture. We stood for what we believe in, the ability to be heard, but in the end the price was too
During the day that the film was available, it prompted widespread condemnation. On Friday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon decried Fitna as hate speech: I condemn, in the strongest terms, the airing of Geert Wilders' offensively
anti-Islamic film. There is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence. The right of free expression is not at stake here. I acknowledge the efforts of the Government of the Netherlands to stop the broadcast of this film, and appeal for
calm to those understandably offended by it. Freedom must always be accompanied by social responsibility.
The Organization of The Islamic Conference also denounced the film as blasphemy. OIC Secretary General Prof Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said, The film is a deliberate act of discrimination against Muslims, incitement for hatred and an act defamation of
religions which is solely intended to incite and provoke unrest and intolerance among people of different religious beliefs and to jeopardize world peace and stability.
In the day that Fitna played, it was viewed over 420,000 times. More than 280 comments were posted on LiveLeak.com. And many chose to reply through countervideos, which are still online.
The film may also generate a lawsuit. The BBC reports that Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, known for his cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed wearing a bomb-shaped turban, plans to sue Wilders for using his cartoon in the film without permission.
Reuters summarised some of the reaction around the world which has so far being constrained to verbals.
Iran called the film heinous, blasphemous and anti-Islamic, and Indonesia, said it was an insult to Islam, hidden under the cover of freedom of expression.
The Saudi Arabian embassy in The Hague said the film was provocative and full of errors and incorrect allegations that could lead to hate towards Muslims.
Dutch Muslim leaders appealed for calm and called on Muslims worldwide not to target Dutch interests. Our call to Muslims abroad is follow our strategy and don't frustrate it with any violent incidents, Mohammed Rabbae, a Dutch Moroccan community
leader, told journalists in an Amsterdam mosque.
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said he was proud of how Dutch Muslim organisations responded to the film but that it was too early to draw conclusions about the international consequences: There are reasons for continued alertness.
The EU's Slovenian presidency said the film served no purpose other than "inflaming hatred".
In Pakistan there were small protests in several places on Friday against the film, while the government summoned the Dutch ambassador in Islamabad to lodge a protest. Pakistan said it told the Dutch ambassador that it was incumbent on the Netherlands to
prosecute Wilders for defamation and deliberately hurting Muslim sentiments.
The foreign ministry in Bangladesh issued a statement calling the film "unwarranted" and "mindless".
A coalition of Jordanian media said they would take Wilders to court over the film and launch a campaign to boycott Dutch products. They urged Arab leaders to review ties with Denmark and the Netherlands.
British Foreign Minister David Miliband stressed the importance of freedom of speech but said it should be combined with respect for religious and racial diversity.
Europe's top human rights authority, the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe, called the film a distasteful manipulation which exploits ignorance, prejudice and fear. It is simply political propaganda and it plays into the hands of extremists
who are given such a prominent role in his film," the council's secretary general, Terry Davis said.
Geert Wilders, author of Fitna , has said he will edit out a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad shown in the movie.
Wilders said he would remove images of a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad, showing the Islamic prophet wearing a turban with a bomb in it.
Wilders's announcement comes after the Danish Union of Journalists said it would sue the MP for copyright infringement. The picture's author, Kurt Westergaard, said he was not contacted with a request for permission to use the picture: I don't want my
drawing to be used in something that I don't know anything about. Had Mr Wilders contacted me, we could have talked together and I could have found out what he wanted with the drawing.
Wilders's office said the picture would be replaced with another cartoon of the prophet Muhammad. Additional, minor edits will also be made, said Wilders's representatives.
Meanwhile, UK website Liveleak.com, which removed Fitna from its website on Friday after staff received death threats, reinstated it two days later. We will not be pressured into censoring material which is legal and within our rules, reads a
statement heading the video.
We apologise for the removal and the delay in getting it back, but when you run a website you don't consider that some people would be insecure enough to threaten our lives simply because they do not like the content of a video we neither produced nor
endorsed but merely hosted, it added.
Even later the video on LiveLeak has been removed again for the copyright reason mentioned above. There is a note that an edited version will appear soon.
Indonesia has banned Fitna. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch right-wing Freedom Party (PVV), would also be barred from the archipelago. Yudhoyono said world leaders had a moral responsibility to prevent the
making of such films.
Dozens of Indonesians have demonstrated outside the Dutch embassy in Jakarta over Fitna.
Some protesters hurled eggs and plastic water bottles at the embassy as riot police formed a wall to keep them away. The demonstrators from the Muslim group Islamic Defenders Front, held placards saying Geert Wilders is a Christian terrorist , Kill Geert Wilders
and Holland go to hell!
Hundreds of Indonesian school students also demonstrated against the film in central Java on Sunday.
The public prosecutor of the Netherlands is looking into Fitna , and based on the prosecutor's findings, charges could be filed against the far-right lawmaker Geert Wilders in a court, Dutch Ambassador to Qatar Hans Van Vloten Dissevelt told Gulf
Dissevelt said Dutch leaders had time and again unequivocally made it clear that the film did neither convey the stance of the government nor the people but the personal view of an individual.
In Holland, we have full freedom of expression. There is absolutely no censorship. People are expected to behave responsibly and those who cross the limits will be accountable for their actions, the ambassador said.
Besides the public prosecutor, some NGOs are also considering taking Wilders to court, the envoy said. If the judge found Wilders has crossed the limits, he would be sentenced.
Asked why the government could not prevent the launch of the film Fitna , the ambassador said the Dutch government was not in a position to stop people from expressing their views before hand.
He said his country was pleased with the response to the film from governments and people around the world. Most of the people realise that it has got nothing to do with the Dutch people or their government. They have been able to identify the
difference between the standpoint of a nation and the viewpoint of a national. A country should not be punished for the action of a single citizen.
The Taliban has said two attacks on Dutch forces in Afghanistan were in retaliation for the anti-Islamic film Fitna.
In a communique posted on the Internet, the Taliban said its Shura Council leadership announced reprisal operations against Dutch forces because one of the members of the Dutch parliament produced a film that hurts Islam, and he published it with bad
The Taliban statement referred to two attacks on Sunday, which it said killed a large number of "occupier soldiers."
The Dutch Defence Ministry said five Dutch soldiers were wounded in two separate incidents on Sunday, including one soldier who lost both his legs. None died.
The Indonesian government has ordered the country's ISPs to block Youtube for publishing the 15 minutes anti-Muslim film Fitna made by the Dutch MP Geert Wilders.
Some of the country's ISPs followed the block order, but Fitna could still be viewed through other providers.
A letter was sent to Internet providers asking them to block any site or blog posting the film Fitna . Not only YouTube has uploaded the film, so it is up to the ISPs' discretion to block these sites, communications and information ministry
official Ferdinandus said.
At the time of this writing, the dissemination on the worldwide web of the deliberately provocative anti-Islam film Fitna , made by the Dutch populist MP Geert Wilders, has not provoked violent protest on the scale of the Rushdie affair or the
Danish cartoons. If things remain this way, that is progress of a kind.
In the meantime, three questions need to be asked about the film. The first is "Should Mr Wilders be murdered for making it?" That's what some demonstrators outside the Dutch embassy in Indonesia called for, waving banners saying Kill Geert
Wilders . Theirs is an attitude that the British writer Douglas Murray has sharply characterised as say my religion is peaceful or I will kill you . More seriously, even before the movie was released, al-Qaida issued a fatwa calling Muslims
everywhere to assassinate Wilders, thus further increasing the threat to a man who is already under 24-hour protection.
Now, that Wilders should not be murdered for making a film may seem so obvious that it hardly needs saying. But it does need saying, again and again; in truth, it's the first thing that needs to be said. For one of the most deeply corrosive realities of
our time is that not just one but many people across the world are living under death threats, in hiding or with round-the-clock security, simply because they have said, drawn or done something that is alleged to "insult Islam".
Indonesia's ISPs have restored access to YouTube and MySpace after a ban on the sites for carrying a the controversial film Fitna .
An association of Indonesian ISPs has announced that they would only block access to specific pages carrying the film.
The decision to lift the internet ban followed protests by web users who were unable to access several sites including YouTube, Multiply and MySpace, an industry official said: We don't need to block the sites but only links that broadcast the film.
If the film is moved to another site, we will keep on chasing and block it .
President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pottering, said that he was against the anti-Islam film Fitna .
Talking to reporters in Doha on the sidelines of the eighth Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade, he said that he understood the cultural differences between the Islamic world and Europe and that he was committed to dialogue based on
If there are people who commit acts of terrorism in the name of Islam, we do not believe they represented the mainstream of Muslim thinking… we [the EU] will not accept that Islam and terrorism are identical. We are not in favour of descriptions and
pictures that identify violence with Islam. We are against any cartoons that could instigate violence, he said.
We are committed to the freedom of the press... BUT ...I am against publishing cartoons that hurt the feelings of others.
As a Catholic, I would feel insulted if someone derides the Pope. We might disagree with others but we have to respect them.
European Commissioner for External Relations and Neighborhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said in Saudi Arabia that the EU would not develop new laws against blasphemy.
Ferrero-Waldner was speaking in reference to the recent release of Fitna , a short film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, and Mohammed cartoons published in European newspapers in 2005 and 2006.
There are two principles involved in this matter: freedom of press and freedom of religion. Every individual has a right to express what he thinks is correct. Similarly, the other individual, who is not in agreement, can rebut in the same way, she
Ferrero-Waldner said that the Dutch government was quick to stress that the opinion made in the stupid film is not that of the government or its people: It is an individual opinion. We practice freedom of religion. You have to understand that
Muslims have freedom to practice their religion in our country .
Fitna , the short feature film on Islam and violence put together by MP Geert Wilders does not break the law, the Duthc public prosecution department has said.
In addition, a number of statements about Islam made by Wilders over the past few months are also within legal limits, ANP reported Amsterdam's chief public prosecutor Leo de Wit as saying.
Some 40 individuals and largely Muslim organisations have accused Wilders of encouraging religious hatred.
According to NOS, no action is being taken against Wilders because he attacks Islam as a religion but not its followers While his comments are sometimes offensive, Wilders does not overstep any boundaries, the public prosecution department said.
A Dutch anti-discrimination group, The Netherlands Shows its Colours, said it would appeal the prosecutors' decision.
A Jordanian prosecutor has charged Dutch politician Geert Wilders with blasphemy and contempt of Muslims for making an anti-Koran film and ordered him to stand trial in the kingdom, judicial sources said.
In Riyadh, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), a league of 56 Muslim nations, said it was deeply annoyed after Dutch prosecutors said they would not take action against Wilders as he was protected by the right to free speech.
The decision ... encourages and supports the irresponsible defamatory style followed by some media outlets and instigates feelings of hatred, animosity and antipathy towards Muslims, the Saudi Arabia-based OIC, said in a statement. The OIC said
the prosecutors' decision showed they ignored the thin line separating freedom of speech and the instigation of hatred, animosity and discrimination.
Judicial sources in Amman said Jordanian prosecutor Judge Abdallat had charged Wilders after a legal complaint by a coalition of Jordanian activists and community leaders. An order was issued through the Dutch embassy in Amman to bring Wilders to stand
trial. The charges carry a maximum sentence of three years in prison, lawyers said.
Wilders said he was concerned about the Jordanian case against him which could limit his freedom to travel.
The Muslim cleric Sheikh Imam Fawaz Jneid is claiming 55,000 euros in damages from far-right Freedom Party MP Geert Wilders for allegedly damaging his reputation. The cleric was shown in Wilders' film Fitna .
Wilders, quoted by Radio Netherlands says Jneid's claim is the world upside down.
The prosecutor general in Amman charged the 12 with blasphemy, demeaning Islam and Muslim feelings, and slandering and insulting the prophet Muhammad in violation of the Jordanian Penal Code. The charges are especially unusual because the alleged
violations were not committed on Jordanian soil.
Among the defendants is the Danish cartoonist whose alleged crime was to draw in 2005 one of the Muhammad illustrations that instigators then used to spark Muslim riots around the world. His co-defendants include 10 editors of Danish newspapers that
published the images. The 12th accused man is Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, who supposedly broke Jordanian law by releasing on the Web his recent film, Fitna , which tries to examine how the Quran inspires Islamic terrorism.
Neither Denmark nor the Netherlands will turn over its citizens to Interpol, as the premise of Jordan's extradition request is an affront to the very principles that define democracies. It is thus unlikely that any Western country would do so, either.
But there is no guarantee for the defendants' protection if they travel to countries that are more sympathetic to the Jordanian court.
Unless democratic countries stand up to this challenge to free speech, other nations may be emboldened to follow the Jordanian example. Kangaroo courts across the globe will be ready to charge free people with obscure violations of other societies' norms
and customs, and send Interpol to bring them to stand trial in frivolous litigation.
The UK's House of Lords will show Geert Willders' controversial Islam film Fitna . So says Wilders following the European Parliament's refusal to show the short film.
The European Parliament rejected a request by the UK MEP Gerard Batten of the anti-European Independent Party to allow Fitna to be shown in Strasbourg to MEPs and journalists. Wilders called the ban "censorship" and compared the European
Parliament to Saudi Arabia.
Wilders has recently shown Fitna at meetings in Jerusalem and New York. He said the film will also be on view in the House of Lords in January.
Christian democratic MEP Maria Martens was pleased by the decision not to show Fitna in the EP. The film has nothing to do with freedom of expression. This freedom does not give the right to offend.
Conservative MEP Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert on the other hand called the banning of Fitna unbelievably stupid because the film does fall within the boundaries of the law and Wilders has now got more publicity and attention than if he had
been able to show his film.
The Far-right Dutch politician who produced a film, Fitna , claiming links between the Koran and terrorism is to be put on trial for his public statements against Islam.
Geert Wilders, the leader of the Freedom Party (PVV), said he was surprised that the Amsterdam Appeals Court is to allow his criminal prosecution for inciting hatred and of discriminating against Muslims by comparing their religion to Nazism.
Mr Wilders' views constitute a criminal offence. [He] has insulted Islamic worshippers by attacking the symbols of the Islamic faith, the court stated, referring to his comparison of the Koran to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf .
Wilders said he was stunned by the judgment: This was the last thing I expected. The fact that I can no longer speak openly but have to go before the court makes this a very black day, not just for me but for freedom of expression in this
country . What I do is to express my opinion on behalf of half a million people who voted for me and who think it should be possible to criticise Islam. We are fed up with the 'Islamisation' of the Netherlands.
The decision by the Amsterdam Appeals Court, the second-highest legal authority in the country, overturns an earlier ruling by the Dutch Prosecution Service, which last June dismissed hundreds of complaints against Wilders on the grounds that his
utterances had been made in the context of public debate , a position that was endorsed by the Dutch Prime Minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, a Christian Democrat.
APP reports that a scheduled screening of Geert Wilders’ film Fitna in the House of Lords has been cancelled. It was due to be shown on Jan 29th.
The decision was taken after a meeting between Lord Nazir Ahmed, Government Chief Whip of the House of Lords and Leader of the House of Lords, and representatives from the Muslim Council of Britain, the British Muslim Forum and others.
Protests and demonstrations have been cancelled,
Lord Ahmed called the decision a victory for the Muslim community
Meanwhile Wilders has asked the Dutch Supreme Court to halt his prosecution on hate speech charges for anti-Islamic remarks.
Geert Wilders says the remarks — including labeling the Quran a fascist work and calling for it to be banned — fall within the realm of normal discourse and his prosecution threatens his right to freedom of speech.
Geert Wilders has been refused entry to the United Kingdom to broadcast his controversial anti-Muslim film Fitna in the House of Lords.
Wilders said he had been told that in the interests of public order he will not be allowed to come to Britain.
He responded to the decision in fighting mood, telling reporters that he still intended to travel to London.
He said: I shall probably go to Britain anyway on Thursday. Let us see if they put me in chains on arrival. It is an unbelievable decision made by a group of cowards.
The film features verses from the Koran alongside images of the terrorist attacks in the US on 11 September 2001, Madrid in March 2004 and London in July 2005. The film equates Islam's holy text with violence and ends with a call to Muslims to remove hate-preaching' verses from the Koran.
Last night, Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said he had called British foreign secretary David Miliband to protest against the decision.
He said: It is disgraceful that a Dutch parliamentarian should be refused entrance to an EU country.
A spokesman for the Lords said that the invitation to show his film remained open.
Home Office sources confirmed Mr Wilders had been refused entry to the UK.
A Home Office spokesman told The Daily Telegraph: The Government opposes extremism in all its forms. It will stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country. That was the driving force
behind tighter rules on exclusions for unacceptable behaviour that the Home Secretary announced on in October last year.
The film by a Dutch MP who was refused entry to the UK over fears he would incite hatred with his message about Islam, was shown twice at Westminster last night.
The first screening of Geert Wilders Fitna was in the House of Lords and attended by about 30 people. No MPs and only five peers attended, although organisers blamed poor attendance on the fact parliament rose for a week's recess earlier this afternoon.
A second screening, which Wilders had been planning to attend, was held later in the evening, for the press, including journalists from the Netherlands. The 17-minute production quotes five Suras, or verses, from the Koran which apparently support
violence against non-Muslims.
Wilders, a member of Holland's Freedom Party, had wanted to show the film to British MPs, but on Tuesday received a letter from the government warning he was not welcome because his views would threaten community security and public security in
the UK. The 45-year-old tried to defy the ban, but was turned back at Heathrow after three hours.
Crossbench peer Baroness Cox, hosting the screening for the press near to the Houses of Parliament, said she did not agree with everything the film suggested, but that Mr Wilders had a right to defend it.
Muslim groups were divided on whether to bar Wilders.
Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, backed the government's decision to keep Wilders out of Britain, accusing Wilders of inciting religious hatred: Mr Wilders film is all about demonising and attacking Islam and Muslims .
But the Quilliam Foundation, a Muslim think tank devoted to fighting extremism, said he should have been allowed into the country so that his views could be challenged through debate and argument.
The Muslim Council of Britain said in a statement
: We have no problem with the challenge of criticisms to our faith ...BUT... the film that will be screened tomorrow by Lord Pearson and Baroness Cox is nothing less than a cheap and tacky attempt to whip up hysteria against Muslims.
They went further and called for Lords hosting the event to be sacked: Mr Wilders' xenophobic and repugnant views have been identified by a Dutch court, and are now confirmed by his official exclusion to the United Kingdom. It is now time to ask why
Peers of Realm who promote such demagogues without any censure are allowed to be regarded as mainstream, responsible leaders in our community.
I read in Private Eye, just hours after watching Lord Ahmed sounding off about Wilders, that a Lord Ahmed is awaiting sentence for dangerous driving, having killed a bloke while simultaneously driving and texting.
Bit worse than being rude about some bloke who's been dead 1500 years, I think.
Update: Labour Ahmed was sentenced to 12 weeks jail for dangerous driving.
In the past, Lord Ahmed has shown himself to be a selective friend of free speech, hosting a book launch at the House of Lords in 2005 for a notorious anti-Semite who calls himself Israel Shamir. Last month, a Pakistani press agency reported that a
screening of Mr Wilders' short film Fitna at the House of Lords had been called off after Lord Ahmed and representatives of the MCB met government leaders. When Lord Ahmed discovered that the screening was to go ahead, he said he had received threats and
asked the Government not to allow Mr Wilders into the country.
As Jacqui Smith deemed it necessary to ban Geert Wilders from addressing the House of Lords, he has posted his prepared speech on his website
Thank you for inviting me. Thank you Lord Pearson and Lady Cox for showing Fitna, and for your gracious invitation. While others look away, you, seem to understand the true tradition of your country, and a flag that still stands for
Thank you very much for letting me into the country. I received a letter from the Secretary of State for the Home Department, kindly disinviting me. I would threaten community relations, and therefore public security in the UK, the letter stated. For a
moment I feared that I would be refused entrance. But I was confident the British government would never sacrifice free speech because of fear of Islam. Britannia rules the waves, and Islam will never rule Britain, so I was confident the Border Agency
would let me through. And after all, you have invited stranger creatures than me.
By letting me speak today you show that Mr Churchill's spirit is still very much alive. And you prove that the European Union truly is working; the free movement of persons is still one of the pillars of the European project.
Ladies and gentlemen, the dearest of our many freedoms is under attack. In Europe, freedom of speech is no longer a given. What we once considered a natural component of our existence is now something we again have to fight for. That is what is at stake.
Whether or not I end up in jail is not the most pressing issue. The question is: Will free speech be put behind bars?
Fitna was shown in Rome and Wilders was present proving that Italy is a much more free society than Great Britain which constrains and cajoles in the name of the intolerant New Labour creed that tolerates no dissent from its worldview.
The event in Rome took place in an environment of massive security with the Italian army and the Caribinari securing the immediate vicinity of the conference.
Vaz self destructs into a stream of liquid bullshit on Newsnight
Based on article from bakelblog.com
See also video Keith Vaz is a Disgrace
See also video, Fitna
The chairman of the British Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz, was among the top decision makers who, last week, bravely denied Geert " Fitna " Wilders the right to open his mouth anywhere on U.K. soil.
It's painful to watch Vaz pretending to misunderstand what free speech means, but even more gobsmacking to hear him admit, below, that he hasn't seen the film that he's deemed so hateful that its Dutch maker must be banned from England.
The co-host of BBC Newsnight , Kirsty Wark, is momentarily speechless. You're chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee ... it's fourteen minutes long ... and you haven't seen it? V az splutters that he's had more important things to do
than go a private screening of Fitna at the House of Lords — willfully oblivious to the fact that the short film has been streaming on thousands of websites, including mine, for almost a year.
In the slightly intemperate words of Pickled Politics, He then proceeds to self-destruct in a thunderous self-inflicted detonation, causing blood, sperm and liquid bullshit dripping off the studio furniture. Leaving the other protagonists in the
discussion to carry on with the semblance of a conversation, while the fulminated entrails of Vaz's credibility twitched involuntarily around them.
Republican Senator Jon Kyl is hosting a film screening at the Capitol building in Washington for a the controversial Right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders
Kyl agreed to facilitate the event because all too often, people who have the courage to point out the dangers of militant Islamists find themselves vilified and endangered, said Ryan Patmintra, his spokesman.
Thursday's event was being sponsored by the International Free Press Society, headed by Lars Hedegaard, the Danish activist, and the Center for Security Policy, a think tank in Washington led by Republican Frank Gaffney.
The event is closed to the public and the media, but the film is being screened to members of Congress and their staff.
Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders has called for an International First Amendment that would repeal all hate speech laws.
During a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., Wilders discussed the recent attacks and prosecution he is facing for speaking against Islam and for showing his film.
He also joined the International Free Press Society in announcing a global initiative to protect free speech from laws that criminalize hate speech, whether they are criticisms of Islam or the doctrines of Shariah.
Lars Hedegaard, president of the International Free Press Society, said in a statement that hate speech and blasphemy laws in many European countries lack clarity as to precisely what they aim to criminalize and are usually unequally applied.
The way to deal with controversial, offensive or even hateful statements — unless they are directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action — is to expose them to public debate and criticism, he stated.
The press conference included a screening of Fitna . Wilders toured the United States this past week, with stops in New York, Boston, New York City and Washington, to rally support for the campaign to protect free speech worldwide. He also
screened his film to the U.S. Senate.
Britain's controversial ban on the anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders has helped push his Freedom Party into the lead for the first time, according to Dutch opinion polls.
Geert Wilders began to see a rise in his popularity after an Amsterdam appeals court decided to try him for anti-Muslim comments in January.
New opinion polling now puts Mr Wilders ahead of the Christian Democrats, who lead a coalition government.
How happy I am about this. These are of course just polls, but it is an enormous sign of confidence from the Dutch voter, said Wilders: As far as I am concerned, elections can be held tomorrow, then I will be the next premier.
Polling by Maurice de Hond has predicted that the Freedom Party or PVV would take 18% of the vote to win 27 seats in the 150-seat Dutch parliament. This would put Wilders in the position of being a power broker and prime minister in a traditionally
complicated Dutch multi-party coalition.
In a decision which could have positive consequences for Geert Wilders' upcoming prosecution , a supporter of the Dutch extreme right National Alliance has had his conviction for insulting Islam overturned by the High Court.
The man had displayed a poster in his window after the murder of Dutch film maker Theo Van Gogh. It read: Stop the tumour that is Islam. Theo has died for us. Who will be next? Resist now! National Alliance, we will not bow down to Allah. Join now.
Originally given a suspended sentence, he was acquitted by the High Court. The judged concluded that it was not an offence to express insults towards religion. Not even if that happens in such a way that the devotees feel their religious feelings are
Dutch MP Geert Wilders has launched an appeal against the Home Office's decision to ban him from travelling to the UK.
Wilders was scheduled to screen his controversial film, Fitna, in the House of Lords when he was refused entry into the country last month. The home secretary, Jacqui Smith, refused to allow him into the country on grounds of public security.
The Dutch MP Geert Wilders is planning a follow-up of his provocative anti-Koran film, Fitna . The outspoken leader of the opposition Freedom Party, who has labelled the Koran fascist , says the new film will deal with the growing
Islamisation of Western countries.
Wilders told the newspaper De Telegraaf that the film would tackle freedom of speech and Sharia: And I will offer solutions.
The National Counter-Terrorism Coordination Services said that they had taken note of the new announcement and would monitor the security situation.
Geert Wilders will definitely be prosecuted charged with inciting hatred against Muslims and Islam, news agency ANP writes.
A request by Wilders’ lawyer Bram Moscowicz to have the decision to prosecute quashed has been rejected by the Dutch supreme court.
Amsterdam appeal court said in January Wilders should stand trial for hate speech and discrimination. The public prosecution department had said earlier there were not sufficient grounds to prosecute the MP.
Wilders said he expected a political trial . I am being prosecuted for something millions of Dutch people are thinking... Freedom of speech is being sacrificed on the altar of islam. But I am ready to fight back with my head held high’.
Good news from Holland, where the prosecution department has decided to dismiss the cases against the TV show NOVA, and politician Geert Wilders. Both had reproduced the Mohammed cartoons on their websites.
In a statement (Google translation), the prosecutor said: The cartoons are about the prophet Mohammed, not about Muslims as a group. None of the cartoons are offensive to Muslims or incite hatred, discrimination or violence against Muslims. Because
the cartoons are not illegal, publishing and distributing them is also not illegal.
Geert Wilders, the Dutch far-right politician, has won his appeal against the Government's refusal to let him enter Britain.
Wilders challenged the decision by then home secretary Jacqui Smith which led to him being turned back at Heathrow Airport.
The ruling by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal means the head of the Freedom Party, who is accused of Islamophobia, could now be allowed into the country.
He was due to show his short film Fitna , which criticises the Koran as a fascist book , at the House of Lords in February. But Smith said his presence had the potential to threaten community harmony and therefore public safety
A Home Office spokesman said the Government was disappointed by the ruling: The decision to refuse Wilders admission was taken on the basis that his presence could have inflamed tensions between our communities and have led to inter-faith
violence. We still maintain this view.'
Dutch political party leader Geert Wilders is set to stand trial in October on charges of inciting racial hatred against
Muslims, the Amsterdam district court has announced.
The trial of Mr Wilders will start in October, the court said in a statement. According to a preliminary schedule, the case is to be heard on October 4, 6 and 8, followed by judgment on November 2, it said.
The lawmaker is accused of five counts of religious insult and anti-Muslim incitement. Wilder faces up to one year in jail if convicted.
His 17-minute film, Fitna , was called offensively anti-Islamic by UN chief Ban Ki-moon after its screening in The Netherlands in 2008 prompted protests in much of the Muslim world. Prosecutors initially declined to charge Wilders,
citing freedom of speech in dismissing dozens of complaints from around the country. But an appeals court last January ordered prosecutors to put the MP on trial, saying politicians could not make statements which create hate and grief .
The flamboyant Dutch MP, Geert Wilders, who holds the balance of power in the Netherlands, told judges that he had no regrets over the comments.
Wilders is being prosecuted for describing the Koran as fascist and for comparing it to Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf, a text that is banned in the Netherlands.
In March 2008, he released a film called Fitna , Arabic for Strife, which linked the verses in the Koran to anti-Semitism, terrorist attacks in New York and London and urged that, like Nazism, Islamic ideology has to be defeated .
Wilders faces five charges of inciting racial hatred between Oct 2006 and Mar 2008. If found guilty, Wilders faces over a year in prison or a £6,600 fine.
Speaking at his trial yesterday, Wilders said: I am sitting here as a suspect because I have spoken nothing but the truth. I have said what I have said and I will not take one word back.
However, proceedings were suspended for 24 hours, after Wilders demanded that the court's presiding judge be replaced. If the court rules in favour of the objections, new judges will need to be appointed, delaying proceedings.
After an opening statement by Wilders, Bram Moszkowicz, his lawyer told the court that the defendant would exercise his right to silence and would not answer questions during the trial.
Wilders also accused the Dutch authorities of putting on trial the 1.5 million voters who backed his anti-immigration Freedom Party (PVV) during June elections. I am on trial, but on trial with me is the freedom of expression of many Dutch citizens,
It does not matter if you agree with Geert Wilders's film, Fitna , or his politics. He must not be prosecuted for expressing his views.
Wilders's populist and nativist politics are exactly opposed to my own views, and entirely beside the point. In a constitutional state, with liberal political rights and the rule of law, a man is being prosecuted for causing offence by expressing his
views. Wilders's protest that the judgement is an attack of freedom of expression is scarcely adequate to the infringement on liberty. These proceedings are a monstrous abuse of power. Wilders must be supported.
Dutch prosecutors have recommended acquitting leading anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders on all five charges of hate speech.
They said his comments had targeted Islam, not Muslims, and he had the right to comment on social issues.
The trial will continue next week and judges may still disagree with the prosecution and convict Wilders.
The trial of Wilders, who compared the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf, has gripped the Netherlands. His Freedom Party's support is crucial to the country's new coalition government.
Prosecutors had initially declined to press charges against Wilders in June 2008. But they were ordered to do so in January 2009 by the appeals court, which ruled that there was significant evidence that the politician had sought to sow hatred .
Prosecutors Birgit van Roessel and Paul Velleman reached their conclusions after studying interviews with, and articles by, Wilders as well as his anti-Koran film Fitna . Criticism [of religion] is allowed, Ms van Roessel told the Amsterdam
district court. Velleman told the court that most of the politician's remarks seemed to have targeted Islam as an ideology rather than singling out Muslims for abuse.
Judges in the hate speech trial of Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders have been ordered to step down by an independent appeals panel.
The move follows a request by Wilders' lawyers who said they feared the judges were biased against him.
The legal process that began in January must now begin again with new judges. The trial itself started in October.
Wilders' lawyer Bram Moszkowicz had argued that the bench at Amsterdam District Court had created an impression of partiality by putting off a decision on the defence's request to recall a witness. Being denied the opportunity to recall the
witness would make it impossible for the defence to substantiate a crucial part of its case , he added.
A hastily convened panel said on Friday that it found the trial judges' decision to be incomprehensible in the absence of any motivation . They said that Wilders' fear of bias as a result was understandable .
Under the circumstances, the request [for the judges' removal] is granted, said a statement from the panel. Another chamber will handle the rest of the case.
The case against the Dutch politician has backfired in every way imaginable.
When even the prosecution calls for a defendant's acquittal and the trial judges have been disqualified for the appearance of bias, maybe it's time to drop the charges. Rather than a retrial, a dismissal would be the best outcome in the case of Geert
Wilders, the Dutch lawmaker accused of insulting and inciting hatred against Muslims.
The trial of Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders for inciting hatred will resume shortly in Amsterdam with new judges, judicial authorities have said.
Wilders is on trial charged with inciting hatred and discriminating against Muslims. The trial was suspended when the defendant's lawyer raised objections against the judges. The impartiality of one of the judges was questioned when it turned out he had
had a private conversation about the case with a defence witness prior to the trial.
Court case against Geert Wilders has no tenable outcome
The trial was brought presuming that it against the law to say anything bad about islam full stop. This was found to be untenable under Dutch Freedom of Expression as one can say bad things if they can be shown to be true.
Now of course it will be untenable on politically correctness grounds to actually argue in court about whether islam is bad or not.
Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders has been granted the right to challenge the charges against him of inciting hatred.
The ruling was made by a new panel of judges appointed after the initial trial collapsed in October when Wilders complained of bias against him.
One of the judges told the court that if the objections were successful, the case will be closed .
The charges against him of inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims, Moroccans and other groups date back to remarks he made in 2006 and 2008. He called Islam fascist and compared the Koran to Hitler's book Mein Kampf.
The prosecution told his initial trial last year that the comments were not criminal.
The first trial eventually fell apart when a separate panel decided that the judges' decision not to allow expert witnesses to provide evidence that Islam is in fact a violent religion. This decision was found to be biased against Wilders and a retrial
The trial of PVV leader Geert Wilders on discrimination and inciting hatred charges will resume on March 14 when his lawyer Bram Moszkowicz will restate his opening remarks to the Amsterdam court, news agency ANP reports.
The public prosecutor will respond two days later.
The court is expected to decide whether the case should continue or be abandoned on March 30.
Geert Wilders will face trial on charges of incited hatred and discriminations against Muslims, after a judge rejected a request to dismiss the case. Wilders was charged with insulting Muslims by comparing Islam to Nazism.
Wilders argues that he is exercising his freedom of speech when he criticises Islam and had won the right last month to seek a dismissal of the case.
But presiding judge Marcel van Oosten said the case would go ahead. He rejected most of the defence's objections but did agree with the defence that part of the indictment against Wilders should be dropped.
The judges said that including the quotes describing the Koran as fascist and that it should be banned were going beyond the brief set out by the Amsterdam appeals court.
The Public Prosecution Office has once again requested an acquittal for Geert Wilders on all charges against him.
The charges include insulting Muslims as a group, inciting hatred and inciting discrimination on the grounds of religion and race.
The Public Prosecution argues that Wilders' comments may be experienced as insulting by certain groups but they are directed at Islam as a religion and not at Muslims as people. The PPO also argued that many of the comments were made in political
debates. Although the office did say his call to ban the Qur'an is on the edge of what is permissible.
The Public Prosecution was reluctant to bring the case against Geert Wilders to trial, but was ordered to by an Amsterdam court.
The Dutch politician Geert Wilders has been acquitted of all charges of inciting hatred against Muslims.
Judges in a court in Amsterdam delivered their verdict in a broadcast that was carried live on Dutch TV. Both the defence and prosecution had called for an acquittal.
Wilders had described Islam as fascist , comparing the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf. He insisted his remarks were part of a legitimate political debate. Wilders had always insisted his statements were directed at Islam and not at Muslim
believers, something which is legal under Dutch law.
But the unspecified members of minority groups, who had been seeking a symbolic one-euro fine, said they will consider taking their case to the European Court of Human Rights.
In June 2011, The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (just renamed from the Organisation of the Islamic Conference) petitioned the Netherlands to gag Geert Wilders.
The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation strongly condemned the attacks on Islam and the supposed insult and vilification of Muhammad and his wives by the Dutch right wing politician Geert Wilders.
The 0IC Secretary General said that Wilders has taken upon himself a dangerous path of derailing inter civilizational harmony and peace by spreading and fanning hatred against Islam and Muslims in his own country as well as in other European countries.
Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu explained that the vilification of Islam and the sacred image of the Prophet Muhammad by Wilders has reached a stage when it can no longer be tolerated under any pretext including the right to freedom of expression. He urged
the Government or Netherlands to take necessary appropriate action to contain the campaign of hatred and incitement by Wilders who is a coalition partner of the Dutch Government. He expressed serious concern that the silence of the Dutch Government in
this respect may undermine the existing good bilateral relations between the 0IC Member States and the Netherlands.
Last week the Dutch cabinet responded to the demands from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal says:
The Dutch Government will continue to reject any call to gag a politician. The Netherlands enjoys freedom of expression and attaches great value to it.
Dutch anti-Islam opposition leader Geert Wilders has gone on trial for inciting hatred and discrimination, 18 months after he led a chant for fewer
Moroccans in the country and called them scum during campaigning for local elections.
A verdict is due in December. The trial raise issues of free speech in the Netherlands particularly as Wilders' comments are supported by strong showings in the opinion polls, suggesting that the party could actually be vying for government in next
Dutch political leader Geert Wilders has been found guilty of hate speech and inciting racial discrimination for leading a
chant calling for fewer, fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands.
Presiding Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said the court would not impose a sentence because the conviction was punishment enough for a democratically elected lawmaker. Prosecutors had asked judges to fine him 5,000 euros ($5,300).
Wilders, head of the PVV Freedom Party, was not present to hear the judgement but his lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops immediately issued a statement to say that he would appeal.
The judge claimed that Wilders had breached the boundaries of even a politician's freedom of speech. Wilders said, in a statement:
I still cannot believe it, but I have been convicted because I asked a question about Moroccans. The Netherlands has become a sick country. The judge who convicted me [has] restricted the freedom of speech for millions of Dutch. I will never be silent. I
am not a racist and neither are my voters.