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Muslims condemn Dutch lawmaker's film

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  • NEW: Leading Islamic group condemns Dutch lawmaker's anti-Islam film
  • Organization of the Islamic Conference says film "deliberate act of discrimination"
  • European Union and Dutch government also criticized the 15-minute movie
  • Danish Union of Journalists says caricature of Prophet Mohammed used illegally
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- The Organization of the Islamic Conference on Friday added its voice to the growing criticism of a film released by a Dutch lawmaker, which features disturbing images of terrorist acts superimposed over verses from the Quran.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the Jeddah, Saudi Arabia-based OIC, released a statement condemning "in the strongest terms the release of the film 'Fitna' by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders."

The organization added that the film defamed and denigrated "the Holy Quran, causing insult to the sentiments of more than 1.3 billion Muslims in the world.

"The film was a deliberate act of discrimination against Muslims" that aimed to "provoke unrest and intolerance," the organization said.

The OIC has 57 member states over four continents and claims on its Web site to be the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations.

In its statement, it urged the international community to condemn the showing of the film and asked the Dutch government to prosecute the author of the documentary under Dutch law.

The 15-minute film, posted Thursday on a London-based Web site, has also drawn condemnation from the European Union and others.

The European Union said the film inflames hatred, and Iran's Foreign Ministry called the movie "anti-Islamic and insulting."

The foreign ministry called on the EU, the Netherlands, and Britain to take action to put an end to its showing, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The Danish Union of Journalists said it was suing Wilders for using a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed drawn by one of its members, newspaper political cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. It said Wilders used the picture -- which shows Mohammed with a turban shaped like a bomb -- without permission.

The film, titled "Fitna," opens with Westergaard's controversial caricature, followed by translated portions of Islam's holy book, the Quran.

The passages are interspersed with graphic images of the September 11 terrorist attacks juxtaposed with audio from 911 calls made by the victims trapped inside the World Trade Center in New York and other video clips.

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 subtitles, of Islamic leaders preaching inflammatory sermons against Jews and Christians.

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."

Wilders, the filmmaker, is a member of the Dutch parliament from the conservative Party for Freedom. He has been outspoken in his criticism of Islam and called the religion a threat to the world.

"It's not a provocation, but the harsh reality and a political conclusion," Wilders said of the film Thursday.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini on Friday condemned Wilders and the UK-based Web site hosting the film, LiveLeak.com, for showing the "provocative and anti-Islamic movie."

"He said such a 'dirty act' of the Dutch lawmaker and of a British institute at the end of the Islamic Unity Week reveals continued enmity and deep hostility of such western nationals against Islam and Muslims," IRNA reported.

"Warning against consequences of such 'provocative' acts, Hosseini asked the Dutch and British governments as well as (the) European Union to step in the case as soon as possible and prevent and put an end to showing of such (an) 'insulting, anti-Islamic and anti-cultural' film," IRNA wrote.

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."

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said Thursday that the film equates Islam with violence.

"We reject this interpretation," Balkenende said in a statement. "The vast majority of Muslims reject extremism and violence. In fact, the victims are often also Muslims."

Slovenia, which holds the rotating EU presidency, said Friday that it supports the Dutch government's position and believes the film does nothing to promote dialogue among religions.

"Mutual tolerance and respect are universal values we should uphold. We believe that acts, such as the above-mentioned film, serve no other purpose than inflaming hatred."

The U.S. government warned the film could spark protests and riots.

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

LiveLeak issued a statement Thursday saying there was no legal reason not to allow Wilders to post the film. It said the site's policy is to remain unbiased and allow freedom of speech.

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."

Iftikhar said he doubted the film would spark the same type of violence that followed the publication of the caricature of Mohammed, but he called on Muslim leaders to react peacefully.

Westergaard's caricature was one of a dozen printed in a Danish newspaper in late 2005. Violent protests erupted early the next year after other European newspapers reprinted the images as a matter of free speech.

Some Muslims believe the Quran forbids showing an image of the prophet. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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