Condemnation builds of Dutch anti-Islam film
Mar 28 02:35 PM US/Eastern
Muslim countries warned Friday of strong reactions to an anti-Islam film posted on the Internet by far-right Dutch deputy Geert Wilders, though initial reactions in the Netherlands were calm.
Wilders posted his film "Fitna", featuring violent imagery of terror attacks in New York and Madrid intertwined with Koranic texts, on the Internet on Thursday.
A handful of Muslim countries had responded early Friday, with Iran saying the short movie showed some Westerners were waging a "vendetta" against Islam, and warning of unspecified repercussions.
Bangladesh also said the film could have "grave consequences", while a coalition of Jordanian media said it would sue Wilders and launch a campaign to boycott Dutch products.
The European Union's Slovenian presidency also attacked the film, saying it served "no other purpose than inflaming hatred."
In an interview with AFP Wilders said "it was not my intention to cause riots," and he was happy about the mild reaction in the Netherlands.
As part of damage control efforts by the government the Dutch ministers of justice and integration met Friday with organisations representing religious and minority groups to talk about the film ahead of weekly prayers in the country's mosques.
The right-wing Telegraaf paper said that "Friday prayers are crucial," and warned of possible violent reactions to come from abroad especially in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
But the left-leaning Volkskrant said the film "was not as over the top as expected".
Christian paper Trouw summed it up as "'Fitna' offends but does not surprise", while the popular Algemeen Dagblad concluded "the book, the Koran, is better".
On Thursday the Dutch government was quick to say it regretted that the film finally aired, despite calls on Wilders to reconsider.
"The film equates Islam with violence. We reject that interpretation," Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said in a solemn statement a few hours after the film appeared on the LiveLeak video sharing website.
The first minutes of the 17-minute movie show a Koran being opened and the text of a sura from Islam's holiest book, which translated from Arabic implores the faithful to "terrorise the enemies of Allah".
The government said the public prosecutor's office was investigating the film to see if it broke any laws, but the general feeling of legal experts in the Netherlands was that although it may be seen as offensive by some it was not illegal.
The Dutch Prime Minister is upset that Wilders movie equates Islam with violence. And, why is he upset?
Because he's worried that Muslims will become violent.
You know he wouldn't be making statements like this if someone made a movie condemning Christianity as violent.
The Dutch Prime Minister is a coward.