Trouble brewing over anti-Qur'an film

A Dutch conservative lawmaker said on Wednesday he is making a film to highlight what he describes as “fascist” passages in the Qur’an, his latest high profile criticism of Islam.

The interior and justice ministers said they are concerned, but believe they have no authority to prevent the lawmaker, Geert Wilders, from screening his film.

Wilders plans to depict parts of the Qur’an he says are used as inspiration “by bad people to do bad things”.

Less than 10 minutes long, the film is expected to air in late January. It will show “the intolerant and fascist character of the Qur’an”, said Wilders, whose anti-Islam campaign helped his Freedom Party win nine seats in Parliament in last year’s election.

In the past, Wilders has said that half the Qur’an should be torn up and compared it with Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf. He has claimed The Netherlands is being swamped by a “tsunami” of Islamic immigrants.

Immigrants from Muslim countries number about one million of the country’s 16-million people.

Wilders’s planned broadcast is reminiscent of the film Submission—a fictional study of abused Muslim women with scenes of near-naked women with Qur’anic texts engraved on their flesh.

Submission director Theo van Gogh was shot and had his throat slit by a Muslim extremist on an Amsterdam street in 2004.
Prominent Muslim critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who wrote the screenplay, was threatened in a note left on Van Gogh’s body. She now lives under round-the-clock protection in the United States.

Justice Ministry spokesperson Wim van der Weegen said the government is “taking measures” before the broadcast of Wilders’s film. He declined to elaborate.

“Based on the discussion, the ministers have expressed concern,” Van der Weegen said. “But at the same time [they] have said that Mr Wilders has freedom of expression.”

Wilders said he is not afraid of reprisals if his film angers Muslims. “I have lived with 24-hour protection for three years,” he said. “I will make the film and see what reaction it creates.”

Dutch Muslim leaders did not immediately return calls seeking comment.—Sapa-AP

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