- Title: VARIOUS: Court action bids to ban controversial Dutch film
- Date: 29th March 2008
- Summary: (W3) AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS (MARCH 28, 2008) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF MOSQUE NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English) MOHAMMED RABBAE, LEADER OF DUTCH MOROCCAN COMMUNITY SAYING: "The community is very offended by the approach of making a link between violence and the Koran. We know this guy for two years now, we do think that the best manner to deal with his statements and his policy, is to react in a responsive but very controlled manner respecting the Dutch Constitution and the Dutch Law" MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (Dutch) MOHAMMED RABBAE, LEADER OF DUTCH MOROCCAN COMMUNITY: "I call upon my sisters and brothers abroad to follow our strategy and not to undermine our strategy by any violent incidents."
- Embargoed: 13th April 2008 13:00
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement
- Reuters ID: LVA4O2C8KZI009FI9JT8OBUJZCJ6
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Dutch Muslims take right-wing politician Geert Wilders to court after he released his film accusing the Koran of inciting violence. Netherlands Muslim leaders urge restraint as Pakistan, Iran and Indonesia condemn the film.
A court in Rotterdam began hearing an injunction case against right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders on Friday (March 28) over his controversial film attacking the Muslim faith.
The Dutch Islamic Federation (NIF) is pressing for a ban on further publication of the anti-Koran film that accuses the holy book of inciting violence. The NIF wants the ban to allow an expert analysis of the work to see if it contains any material offensive to Islam or Muslims.
Wilders released the 15 minute film "Fitna" on the internet on Thursday night (March 27).
NIF lawyer Ejder Kose said he had watched the movie several times and that he was disturbed by the fact that the images within it, without any commentary, painted Muslims with the same hateful brush.
"When I saw it the first time I thought it's not that bad, but when you look at the film the second, third and the fourth time, then you can feel that the people of the film, why it's made is to make hatred to the Islam or to the Muslims and that is also why we went to court to prevent that in the future," said Kose and added:
"If I have the right for expression, that does not mean the right to insult. You can talk with me but in a normal matter, without insulting me and not just me but also my religion."
Dutch authorities reported a calm night in contrast to unrest that swept the country following the murder by a militant Islamist in 2004 of film director Theo van Gogh.
There was a lone right-wing protester infront of Rotterdam court on Friday, who was taken away by police at the end.
Dutch Muslim leaders appealed for calm and called on Muslims worldwide not to target Dutch interests. The Netherlands is home to about 1 million Muslims out of a population of 16 million.
"We do think that the best manner to deal with his statements and his policy, is to react in a responsive but very controlled manner respecting the Dutch Constitution and the Dutch Law," Mohammed Rabbae, a Dutch Moroccan leader, told journalists in an Amsterdam mosque.
"I call upon my sisters and brothers abroad to follow our strategy and not to undermine our strategy by any violent incidents," he added.
Pakistan, Iran and Indonesia condemned on Friday. Dozens of Islamists staged protest in Pakistan's southern city of Karachi, holding banners, placards that read: "Down with Holland" and "Down with west".
In Indonesia, foreign ministry spokesman Kristiarto Legowo said that Wilders should not insist on releasing the film if it was going to offend Muslims.
"The content of the film is very much misleading and full of racism. That is why we consider its production as irresponsible action under the blanket of freedom of the press." said Legowo.
"Fitna", an Arabic word sometimes translated as "strife", intersperses images of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and other bombings with quotations from the Koran.
It starts and finishes with a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad with a bomb under his turban, originally published in Danish newspapers, accompanied by the sound of ticking. Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who drew the image, said he planned to take legal action on Friday to have it removed from the film, saying it was taken out of context.
The image ignited violent protests around the world and a boycott of Danish products in 2006. Many Muslims consider any depiction of the Prophet as offensive.
Before the film's release, demonstrators had already taken to the streets from Afghanistan to Indonesia to burn Dutch and Danish flags, and the governments of Pakistan and Iran sharply criticised Wilders' project.
NATO has expressed concern the film could worsen security for foreign forces in Afghanistan, including 1,650 Dutch troops.
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