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Dutch lawmaker's film criticizing Islam finds Web host

  • Story Highlights
  • Britain-based LiveLeak.com posts "Fitna," a film by Geert Wilders
  • Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament, is outspoken in his criticism of Islam
  • 15-minute film includes disturbing images of terror attacks
  • 2nd film -- "About Fitna, the Netherlands and Wilders" -- is a counterargument
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From Samira J. Simone
CNN
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(CNN) -- A Dutch lawmaker's film critical of Islam has been posted on a London-based Web site, though other Web sites and hosts have refused to air the film and the U.S. government has warned that it could spark protests and riots.

Geert Wilders' 15-minute film, "Fitna," Thursday was the top film posted on LiveLeak.com in both English and Dutch.

In Arabic, its title means "strife" or "conflict" of the type that occurs within families or any other homogenous group.

Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament from the conservative Party for Freedom, has been outspoken in his criticism of Islam and his support of immigration restrictions.

He says Islam and the Quran are a long-term threat to the Netherlands and the world, and that his film is a "last warning."

"It's not a provocation, but the harsh reality and a political conclusion," Wilders told reporters on Thursday.

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende rejected the film in a statement Thursday, saying, "The film equates Islam with violence. We reject this interpretation. The vast majority of Muslims reject extremism and violence. In fact, the victims are often also Muslims."

The film opens with a controversial caricature of Islam's prophet, Mohammed -- one of those that prompted demonstrations in early 2006 after newspapers published the images -- followed by translated portions of the Quran.

The passages are followed by graphic images of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks against the United States juxtaposed with audio from 911 calls made by the victims trapped inside the World Trade Center in New York.

The video includes disturbing images of other terror attacks; bloodied victims; beheadings of hostages; executions of women in hijab, the traditional full-body attire; and footage, with English subtitles, of Islamic leaders preaching inflammatory sermons against Jews and Christians.

In one sequence, the film includes a series of newspaper headlines suggesting that Europe is under threat from Islamic beliefs and practices hostile to democracy, and that some Muslims want to create Islamic states in Europe.

The film concludes with scrolling messages reading in part: "The government insists that you respect Islam, but Islam has no respect for you" and "In 1945, Nazism was defeated in Europe. In 1989, communism was defeated in Europe. Now the Islamic ideology has to be defeated."

Another film -- "About Fitna, the Netherlands and Wilders" from Radio Netherlands Worldwide -- is posted on LiveLeak.com as a counterargument to "Fitna." It questions the lawmaker's motives and criticizes the Dutch government for not reprimanding Wilders.

LiveLeak issued a statement Thursday saying the site "has a strict stance on remaining unbiased and allowing freedom of speech as so far as the law and our rules allow."

On the site, LiveLeak's posting rules include a ban on illegal media, such as child pornography, and videos glorifying death with "gory scenes with no explanation and/or set to music."

LiveLeak officials referred questions about posting "Fitna" to a statement issued Monday that says, "There was no legal reason to refuse Geert Wilders the right to post his film."

However, the statement adds, "To many of us involved in LiveLeak.com, some of the messages therein are personally offensive. That being said, our being offended is no reason to deny Mr. Wilders the right to have his film seen."

Some in the Muslim community rejected the film as nothing more than dangerous anti-Islamic propaganda.

"This film is a direct attempt to incite violence from Muslims and help fan the flames of Islamophobia," Arsalan Iftikhar, a contributor to Washington-based Islamica Magazine, told CNN on Thursday. "Any reasonable person can see this is meant to spit in the face of Muslims and insult our religion."

However, he called on Muslim leaders to react peacefully: "Calmer heads should prevail."

Iftikhar said he doubted the film would spark the same type of violence that followed the caricature of Mohammed, adding, "We in the global community learned a lot from the Danish cartoon controversy ... I don't think it will be anything remotely like that."

Balkenende said the Dutch government is aware of the concerns among Muslims about the film. "We have recently spoken with many people at home and abroad to promote mutual understanding," he said. "We will continue to follow this course."

Wilders said he hopes that the film does not result in violence. But, "should this happen, which I don't hope, then it's the people who use violence or threats who are responsible."

This week, a Web site promoting "Fitna" was suspended by its host company after the firm received unspecified complaints about its content. "This site has been suspended while Network Solutions is investigating whether the site's content is in violation of the Network Solutions Acceptable Use Policy," the company said in a posting on the Web site set up to promote the film. "Network Solutions has received a number of complaints regarding this site that are under investigation."

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI also warned this month that the release of Wilders' film could spark protests and riots.

Last month, Pakistan's government blocked the popular video-sharing Web site YouTube because of a "highly blasphemous" and "anti-Quranic" video featuring Wilders, according to a government news release. The video was reportedly a trailer for his movie. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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