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Film critical of Islam dropped from Web site

  • Story Highlights
  • LiveLeak.com removes controversial film, citing threats to its staff
  • Dutch prime minister says government is concerned about backlash
  • Filmmaker says his intention was to show "the truth as I see it"
  • "Fitna" remains posted on several other Web sites
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- A London-based Web site has dropped a Dutch lawmaker's film that features disturbing images of terrorist acts juxtaposed with verses from the Quran to paint Islam as a threat to Western society, citing threats to its staff.

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Geert Wilders' 15-minute film, "Fitna," was the top film on LiveLeak.com on Thursday.

LiveLeak.com said in a statement Friday that it decided to remove the film a day after it was posted "following threats to our staff of a very serious nature."

Attempts to reach LiveLeak for further comment were unsuccessful. However, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said the government was concerned that Geert Wilders' film "Fitna" could provoke a violent backlash.

"The possibilities are there of real threats," Balkenende said. "I have already warned Dutch people that there could be enormous consequences on the basis of our intelligence services and what we heard from the business sector."

Early response in the Netherlands was restrained, but hundreds of Muslims rallied in Pakistan, where the government temporarily blocked access to YouTube last month over a trailer for Wilders' film. The protesters burned the Dutch flag and called on Pakistan to cut ties with the Netherlands.

The Dutch government and others, including the European Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, have rejected the film. Still, Wilders stood by his project.

"My intention was not to offend in any way but to show the truth -- at least, the truth as I see it," Wilders said. "And if the truth hurts and could be offensive, well, this of course is not my problem." Video Watch Geert Wilders speak about his controversial film »

Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament from the conservative Party for Freedom and an outspoken critic of Islam, said he doesn't hate Muslims. But he said he has "big problems" with the Prophet Mohammed, the Quran and "everything that is stated inside this terrible book."

Despite LiveLeak's decision to drop the film, "Fitna" was posted on several other Web sites, including Google Video and YouTube, a Google subsidiary.

The film was easily accessible via Google, but YouTube posted a disclaimer with the video and required a login to view it.

In a statement, YouTube said, "YouTube allows individuals to express themselves and to communicate with a global audience. The diversity of the world in which we live ... means that some of the beliefs and views of some individuals may offend others."

The film is also hosted on a Dutch Web site. The Web site of Wilders' political party also links to sites where the film can be viewed.

The title of the 15-minute film, "Fitna," translates in Arabic to "strife" or "conflict" of the type that occurs within families or any other homogenous group.

Criticism of Wilders and the film grew Friday.

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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the film, calling it "offensively anti-Islamic" while urging calm.

"There is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence," he said in a statement. "The right of free expression is not at stake here." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Matthew Chance contributed to this story.

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