Daniel Pipes: Geert Wilders New Film On Islam Likely To Cause Riots
By my count, there have been six major episodes in modern times in which Muslims rioted and killed in protest to some Western-based person making comments about Islam:
1989 – Salman Rushdie publishes his novel, The Satanic Verses.
1997 – The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to remove a 1930s frieze showing Muhammad as lawgiver.
2002 – The American evangelical leader Jerry Falwell calls Muhammad a "terrorist."
2005 – An incorrect story in Newsweek, reporting that American interrogators at Guantánamo Bay, "in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet."
February 2006 – The Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten publishes twelve cartoons of Muhammad.
September 2006 – Pope Benedict XVI quotes a Byzantine emperor's views that what is new in Islam is "evil and inhuman."
Every one of these cases shares one particular feature: the persons who set off the ruckus had little to no idea that their views would lead to riots and deaths. Muslim disapproval, yes, not upheaval.
That's about to change with the expected television premier on January 25 of an un-named film by a leading Dutch politician Geert Wilders dealing with the Koran. Wilders in the past has compared it to Hitler's Mein Kampf and wants it banned; the film will likely make arguments along these lines: "With this film I'm trying to show not only in words but also images exactly what I mean," he says.
Unlike the British, American, Danish governments or the Vatican, the Dutch government has prepared. It has adopted a two-track policy of (1) trying to stop the screening and, should that fail, (2) getting ready for crisis mode. An article in today's Volkskrant, "Vrees voor rellen rond Koran-film van Wilders" (translated as "Fear of riots over Wilders' Koran film") provides some details. First, the government is trying to shut things down:
The Justice Department is investigating whether anything can be done to prevent the film from airing.
When it was leaked that Wilders was coming out with an anti-Koran film, three ministers warned him of the possible consequences.
Should this not succeed, preparatory steps are underway:
Security around Wilders, which was already heavy, is being beefed up.
The Amsterdam police have had interviews with imams and other influential persons in the Muslim community this month to prepare for their reactions. A scenario is being prepared for major public order problems. Similar measures are being taken in the Hague and Utrecht.
Investigations are also underway to see whether Wilders will have to acquire a specially secured residence and whether his fellow party members will require security.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has since informed all of its diplomatic posts … to explain to other countries that the Cabinet has distanced itself from the film.