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A defaced image of the website promoting the film, which was removed by ISP Network Solutions.  (Source: Klein Verzet)

The current notice appears when visiting  (Source: DailyTech)

The video and the site sparked a large protest Saturday in Amsterdam.  (Source: Fred Ernst / AP)
Dutch filmmaker Geert Wilders faced with possible removal by his ISP may seek possible alternate distribution means for his radical film

The Netherlands is becoming the surprising center of conflict over the extent of free speech, religion and allegations of racism.  The debate centers around an upcoming film by a local politician, which expresses strong criticism against Islam faith. 

Several Islamic government have sought to ban materials criticizing Islam.  The most recent example of this was when Pakistan blocked the website YouTube for promoting non-Islamic or anti-Islamic materials, inadvertently crippled the country's internet traffic.

Nearby Denmark found itself in the center of a similar controversy when a Danish newspaper aired cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, the most important Islamic historic religious figure, in an embarrassing light.  The cartoon led to protests worldwide outside Dutch embassies, death threats and at least one murder.

Now Holland is back in the limelight.  Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, head of a reactionary party which controls 9 seats in the 150-seat Dutch Parliament, promoted his new film which portrays Islam in an extremely critical light, only to find his website taken down amid a storm of criticism.  The film was promoted on the site which formerly had a simple title image, the words "Fitna" ("Coming Soon"), and an image of a gilded Qu'ran. 

The website has since been taken down, and a note is posted stating that Network Solutions, the U.S. based service provider, is investigating whether the site violates its terms of service.  The note about Wilder's site states, "Network Solutions has received a number of complaints regarding this site that are under investigation."

Network Solutions hosts the website of Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based organization labeled by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization. 

While the company could not be reached for comment, its terms of service do include a broad provision banning, "objectionable material of any kind or nature."  While the former website gave scant details about the upcoming 15-minute film, to be released on March 31st, it is certain to be found objectionable by some.  Filmmaker Wilders says the film will underscore his belief that the Islamic holy book is "fascist."

Wilders prepared to distribute the video over the internet after being met with refusal from television stations unwilling to grant it airtime.  Wilders, who lives under police protection due to death threats, refuses to be deterred, and was quoted Dutch news agency ANP on Saturday stating, "How many ways are there left for me to be worked against?  If necessary, I'll go hand out DVDs personally on the Dam." The Dam is a colloquial name for Amsterdam's central square.

On Saturday protesters crowded the Dam to voice their distaste for Wilders.  Amid sleet and heavy wind, between 2,000 and 3,000 protesters of mixed ethnicities assembled "Netherlands Shows Its Colors" in an advanced reaction against the film.  Protesters carried signs such as "Standing Together Against the Right-Wing Populist Witch-Hunt." 

One protester, Elisa Trepp, said, "I'm very much against Geert Wilders and racism in general.  I think it's really important to show not only Holland but the rest of the world that there's a lot of people who do not agree with his ideas."

Hassan Iaeti, another demonstrator, traveled for hours to make it.  He states, "The government could really do something. That's in the interest of the country - stop him, just stop him."

Dutch officials fear that the film may spark violent protests worldwide.  Free speech in the U.S. is currently solely limited against making statements that would incite imminent lawless action (riots) as defined by the case Brandeburg v. Ohio.  Similar limits to free speech exist throughout much of Europe, much to the chagrin of free speech advocates.  As the video may spark worldwide lawlessness, the government may see it fit to block the video. 

However the government remains relatively apathetic to the situation by all indications.  No prominent politicians showed up at the protest.  Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has said previously that he did not agree with Wilders views, but supported his right to free speech.  Balkenende did add that the video could threaten Dutch interests worldwide.

In Afghanistan protesters burned effigies of Wilders and demanded the withdraw of NATO-deployed Dutch troops from the country.  A Dutch court will hear complaints against the film lodged by Muslim groups, on March 28th, however Wilders can elect to release the film before then. 

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A dangerous precedent
By masher2 on 3/24/2008 12:24:48 PM , Rating: 5
I'm extremely disappointed that free speech has once again been abrogated to avoid offending a particular group of people.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By geeg on 3/24/2008 12:28:17 PM , Rating: 5
When it comes to religious matters, one's free speech might become one's free curse..

RE: A dangerous precedent
By lompocus on 3/24/08, Rating: 0
RE: A dangerous precedent
By ShaolinSoccer on 3/25/2008 7:39:13 AM , Rating: 1
What you said doesn't make sense. If an athiest did something violent, would you blame it on him being athiest? It would seem that the majority of religions teach peace. Except for maybe Satanism. There are millions of Islams living on this planet and not going out commiting any violence. Same thing goes for all the other religions. You know how they say guns don't kill people. People kill people. Same with religion... I admit there are people who would kill for their religion but that's what you call an "extremist"...

RE: A dangerous precedent
By therealnickdanger on 3/25/2008 9:18:48 AM , Rating: 2
Well, you don't need religion to shut down a website. Apparently Mr. Castro has some problems with people complaining on blogs about the living conditions in "paradise".

RE: A dangerous precedent
By wien on 3/24/2008 12:28:45 PM , Rating: 2
Aren't corporations perfectly free to decide what customers they want to serve? As long as the government stays out of it, free speech shouldn't really enter into it.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By masher2 on 3/24/2008 12:34:16 PM , Rating: 5
Until and unless ISPs are adjudged to be common carriers, you are correct -- there is no constitutional issue here.

However, I question the ethics (as well as the common sense) of a US company which sees fit to host the website of the terrorist group Hezbollah, but takes down a site for saying Islam is associated with terrorism.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By eye smite on 3/24/2008 12:51:51 PM , Rating: 2
I have made reference to a site on here before explaining human behavior and how we are more animals than we realize. This type of selective behavior really doesn't surprise me. Have a read on this site and see if you can apply what I'm talking about....

Here's a paragraph from the site if it helps your interest any:
"Desmond Morris also looks at some of the damaging consequences that can be seen when we try to deny our animal heritage: how territorial fights erupt when the tribal systems within our overcrowded cities break down, and how human relationships disintegrate when natural social or sexual patterns change."

RE: A dangerous precedent
By charliee on 3/24/08, Rating: -1
RE: A dangerous precedent
By eye smite on 3/24/2008 5:34:21 PM , Rating: 3
I didn't make my post as an alternative to religion. If anything the link I posted shows why man cannot control his emotions and act like a civilized, rational creature of God, and why man is constantly backstabbing each other in the name of religion. It shows we're all just primates.....albeit sophisticated primates, but still just primates. That happens to be the reason why I was rated down so badly and bashed for asking if anyone had thought about the motivations behind Hitlers heinous acts. Many could not control their emotions and immediately perceived what they wanted to from that question instead of reading it for the question it was and trying to give a sensible answer. Very much like you just did here with the post I made. There's honestly alot of you I have no hope for.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By freaqie on 3/25/2008 4:39:51 AM , Rating: 1
The problem with Geert WIlders is that he is just being a sensationalist. he is just saying stuff to get attention the more the better.
also he does not care how people might be affected. he could say i dislike Islam... however he states :
which is obviously false and he gets attention...

and it obviously works.....

RE: A dangerous precedent
By ShaolinSoccer on 3/25/2008 7:42:44 AM , Rating: 2
lol reminds me of the Stephen King movie The Mist. But ya, you're absolutely right.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By Ratinator on 3/25/2008 3:09:39 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but I would guess only within the bounds of the constitution. You could be held accountable if your company is found in violation of any points within the federal constitution of which your business runs under.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By ButterFlyEffect78 on 3/24/2008 12:30:35 PM , Rating: 5
Freedom is NOT free.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By boogle on 3/24/2008 12:56:12 PM , Rating: 5
Freedom is NOT free.

Too many people seem to forget this :(
If you want freedom you have to fight for it, or else you lose it all.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By tjr508 on 3/24/2008 3:04:05 PM , Rating: 3
Or a buck o five

RE: A dangerous precedent
By Segerstein on 3/24/2008 9:00:53 PM , Rating: 2
In vino veritas! I guess this is why Muhammad has banned alcoholic beverages...

RE: A dangerous precedent
By Polynikes on 3/24/2008 12:30:48 PM , Rating: 5
I agree. Criticism doesn't equate to outright hate. Now, if the film was advocating persecution of Muslims, it would be a different story.

So much for free speech.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By FITCamaro on 3/24/2008 12:32:48 PM , Rating: 2
I'll bet you though if it was a video by a black person talking about the evils of the white man, it'd be perfectly acceptable.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By wien on 3/24/2008 12:37:34 PM , Rating: 1
That's all silly speculation from your side, and is completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. How about you produce some proper arguments instead of trying confuse the issue.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By masher2 on 3/24/2008 12:53:19 PM , Rating: 5
Actually, Network Solutions hosts quite a bit of such material, including the Nation of Islam's site (, when one can find copious reams of material criticizing the "evil white man".

RE: A dangerous precedent
By JustTom on 3/24/2008 1:00:28 PM , Rating: 2
Sir, please do not confuse the situation with facts.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By baldman on 3/24/2008 1:10:09 PM , Rating: 2
Oh really?

I suppose that kind if stuff is "perfectly normal" in your opinion. So much about confusing the facts Sir...

RE: A dangerous precedent
By Master Kenobi on 3/24/2008 1:14:33 PM , Rating: 1
It's perfectly normal in the radical muslim sects. I'm surprised the moderate muslims who do not share this view have not stepped in and done anything about this.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By Ryanman on 3/24/2008 3:03:26 PM , Rating: 2
they never react to this stuff. They let those who allow stereotypes to be formed have a free rein.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By wien on 3/24/2008 3:59:54 PM , Rating: 4
They haven't? I've seen bucket-loads of statements made and educational meetings held by moderate Muslims to try to combat this stereotype. They just don't get any press. "Muslims are actually all right" doesn't sell papers for some reason.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By headbox on 3/24/08, Rating: -1
RE: A dangerous precedent
By almared on 3/24/2008 7:41:44 PM , Rating: 2
I'm a Muslim and you are correct in a way. There is no such thing as moderate Muslims because all Muslims are simply Muslims or not. But there are those who kill in the name of Islam and I fail to find a name to call them but I'll adobt the term Radical-Muslims as many call them. These people don't really understand what Islam is because there is no one place in the Quran where it says go slaughter or punish non-Muslims. Islam, like any other religion, forbids killing another human soul unless there is a war or for self-defense.

I really can't say why these people come and kill or threating others by name of Islam. Maybe it's because where they come from. Take Afghanistan for example, who made Osama ben-Laden? Isn't it the Americans when they wanted to "free" his land? Who created HezboAllah? Isn't it Israel when attacked Lebanon and the Palestinians?

There is always a cause for people's actions but Islam isn't always the one.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By lompocus on 3/24/2008 11:49:57 PM , Rating: 1
And what made the need for an israeli state? Mebbe it was:
-Jews being persecuted and MURDERED in teh holocaust
-Jews being kicked out of Arab countries
-Jews being bombed IN arab countries
-Jews having to where else to go

And what made the need for America to invade? Mebbe it was:
-Arabs bombing our towers
-Arabs blowing other arabs up
-Osama blowing other arabs up
-Saddam blowing up, electrocuting, killing, etc. other arabs
-Arabs natural suicidal attitudes being an obvious danger
-Arabs love to hijack planes and hold everyone for ransom
-Sunni Vs Shiite muslims blowing each other up
-Lots of oil in the place that you guys are blowing yourselves up in
-Maybe we should stop people from killing themselves? (deaths in Iraq are far, far lower than they were during saddam, believe it or not. It's 0.5 americans a day and 5 iraqis a day, if you want statistics, which, while not perfect, is better than some loon suddenly wanting to shoot up his neighbor's family)
-Mebbe it was the fact that the arabs were getting invaded by the Soviets a while back?
-Mebbe is was the fact that some arabs thought to use American supplies meant to kill Soviets to subdue other arabs?
-mebbe it was the fact that osama just lost his evil grip on the middle east?

And there is a part in the koran that says kill your neighbor. I've posted it around here before too many times to count. You have a korean. look them up!

Oh but no, all those awesome Jews and us awesome Americans are ALWAYS the cause of hunger, chaos, disease, and your soretooth :P

RE: A dangerous precedent
By Strunf on 3/25/2008 8:36:18 AM , Rating: 3
There is no country made for Atheists... we are and have been prosecuted for years, in some countries the atheists were even burned alive... I want a country where all the atheists can go and be free from all the religious folks...

RE: A dangerous precedent
By DeathSniper on 3/25/2008 11:22:19 AM , Rating: 2
There's called the Moon! Meet you there in 10 years ;)

RE: A dangerous precedent
By wien on 3/24/2008 1:20:21 PM , Rating: 2
What on earth does that have to do with my post? Stating that there would be no controversy if the opposite happened was pure speculation on his part ("I bet") and irrelevant to this particular issue. How your link is relevant to that I have no idea.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By glennpratt on 3/24/2008 2:58:42 PM , Rating: 2
... completely irrelevant ...

This isn't a court of law, it's a public forum. The standards for relevance here are a little more lax. He has an opinion about a similar, theoretical situation, while it may not be totally apt, I think his opinion is relevant enough -- and possibly even true enough as others have pointed out.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By almared on 3/24/08, Rating: -1
RE: A dangerous precedent
By wien on 3/24/2008 12:44:25 PM , Rating: 5
Insult is all in the head of the "insultee". There is no firm definition of that is insulting. As long as your statements are factually true you can say more or less anything you like, criticism of religion most definitely included.

The fact that people get insulted shouldn't have any bearing on the issue. In fact, as soon as we start to limit free speech to prevent people from getting insulted, we're going down a very dangerous road. Where the hell do you stop? That train of though is so naive it scares me shitless.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By Manch on 3/24/2008 5:24:49 PM , Rating: 2
insult: to treat with insolence, indignity, or contempt

also : to affect offensively or damagingly

Yup doesn't give specifics on what's insulting.

One point though. Your statements don't have to be factual. Of course that can make you libel. Still you can say it at your own detriment!

RE: A dangerous precedent
By geeg on 3/24/2008 9:21:36 PM , Rating: 2
As long as your statements are factually true

There are matters where the words fact, factual, true have no meaning. For example:
1. There is God.
2. There is no God.
Can you tell me which one is factually true? One of them must be, right?
So that is why we invented the word "taboo". There are some matters you do not talk like you talk about daily matters.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By boogle on 3/24/2008 12:46:13 PM , Rating: 5
So if I insult you or any member of your family then you should do nothing according to your free speech. You can't insult other people's religion and call it free speech!!! Religion for Muslims is as important as their families.

Free speech means exactly that, you can insult any one or any thing. You can say ANYTHING you like. That is free speech!

Free speech has two sides, you can say anything you want about anything. You can insult other people. On the other side, people can do the same, and insult you.

In my humble opinion, if you can't take criticism of your beliefs, then maybe you're not very strong in your faith? If someone criticised what I believed I would be happy to explain/elaborate or even just ignore the jab. But I certainly wouldn't murder you or try to have you censored. That would be fascism.

Heh, I guess you could put free speech down as 'I disagree with what you say, but I'll die defending your right to say it'. I agree with that whole-heartedly.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By mmntech on 3/24/2008 1:17:31 PM , Rating: 3
This post deserves a 6. Very well said. In my opinion, free speech is an inalienable right. One of two, the other being the right to life. As far as I know, there is no provision in any bill of rights that states that people are guaranteed freedom from criticism. What happens when you start placing limits is what we have in North America (both Canada and the US) right now. People are afraid to seriously debate "sensitive" issues. It's no wonder there is such division.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By abzillah on 3/24/2008 2:07:25 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you on free speech, but there is a difference between the general population's free speech and that of a government official.
This is a congressmen who has made a video saying that all Muslims are terrorist because terrorism is part of Islam, while at the same time governing over a large population of Muslims.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By glennpratt on 3/24/2008 3:04:35 PM , Rating: 2
This is only a difference for the people who elected him and his fellow politicians, certainly not Network Solutions.

A politician shouldn't revoke their right to free speech, only accept that there is increased responsibility and risk when invoking the right.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By fic2 on 3/24/2008 3:47:17 PM , Rating: 3
Interesting that you know what the film is all about and yet it hasn't been released.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By abzillah on 3/24/2008 5:23:10 PM , Rating: 2
Well, maybe you should read more.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By clovell on 3/24/2008 5:29:03 PM , Rating: 2
I may be mincing words here, but you've got it wrong. Protected free speech in the USA does not allow you to simply insult other people at will. Factual claims that happen to be insulting are another matter.

I'm not sure if that's what you were saying, but too many people take that viewpoint, and it's not what was intended at all.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By Rob Pintwala on 3/24/2008 12:46:29 PM , Rating: 3
The issue at hand is, the movie is critical of - not insulting (though, we'll see to what extent). Nothing is above criticism - not government, not religion, not even God himself.

I understand that the Islamic religion is as important as family, but it is an ideal; a concept, and it can't be offended or upset. Unless you can hurt Islam's feelings, I don't see a reason why criticism of it should be restricted.

Oh, and, by that "particular group of people" he was talking about, he meant the Muslims in the world who would be offended, as not all Muslims will be outraged. In fact, I spoke with several of my Islamic friends, and none of them said they found this insulting or offensive. Their imams (I believe is the correct term) encourage them to criticize Islam, because through criticism and free through they can strengthen their own beliefs.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By Grast on 3/24/2008 4:20:40 PM , Rating: 2

I believe everyone understands that no all muslims are terrorists. In fact, the frields that you have which are muslim would be hanged and beheaded with us non-muslims if the extreamist had any say in the matter.

RE: A dangerous precedent
By theapparition on 3/24/2008 12:37:02 PM , Rating: 2
I'm extremely dissappointed I had to look up the word "abrogated". :P

RE: A dangerous precedent
By AnnihilatorX on 3/24/2008 12:41:33 PM , Rating: 2
me too

RE: A dangerous precedent
By Rhaido on 3/24/2008 1:49:03 PM , Rating: 2
Clever wordsmithing or lucky. I'll give Mike the benefit of the former :) Abrogation is a term used within Islam that explains the belief that the writings of Muhammad supercede one another chronologically speaking. That is to say, if something in writing #2 is contradicted by something in writing #4, then the writing #4 applies and overrules/replaces writing #2. In my opinion, it is somewhat lazy from the perspective of psychological rationalization but I guess it saves some time by foregoing an Ecumenical Council ;)

RE: A dangerous precedent
By deadbolt2002 on 3/24/2008 3:35:56 PM , Rating: 4
The Islamic religion has evolved into 2 sects (most likely many more, but from an outsiders point of view, and for the purpose of this post lets stick with 2 groups). From an outsiders view we predominantly see the Islamic terrorists, and the violent nature "inherent" in that religion. But we predominantly see this because its the only thing that receives mass publicity, and offers a threat to other people. The vast majority of Muslims are incredibly respectful, mostly peaceful people who value wisdom. It is these muslims that would encourage intelligent and respectful criticism and discussion of the Islamic faith. Any intelligent individual should be able to discuss their faith, regardless of which one they choose, in a calm and respectful way and be open to criticism.

Now, this Wilders guy SEEMS like an ignorant, disrespectful, biggot, incapable of having an intelligent discussion. BUT, I have never seen his work, nor heard him speak, so how can I judge him? As a result of all that I have read, I already have a distaste for him as a person, and believe that if the allegations of biggotry are true he should be removed from office, but what I would like to see more than anything is him have a calm, intelligent, rational discussion with a peaceful muslim leader.

But the specific issue at hand is freedom of speech, not the Islamic religion. I believe the video should be publicly released so that the public may judge it and him for themselves. I believe that many people are ignorant enough, or unintelligent enough to accept what he has to say as fact, but that is a shame that we must accept. Many documentaries are released, such as Michael Moore's work, and Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" that address hot topics with factual inaccuracies, or stretched truths, but it is up to the viewer to be skeptical. Freedom of speech means freedom of speech. I agree with one poster's famous quote "Though I may disagree with what you have to say, I would die for your right to say it."

RE: A dangerous precedent
By pav2pav on 3/24/08, Rating: -1
By josealexandrecroca on 3/24/2008 7:29:32 PM , Rating: 2

must see (being very serious)

RE: A dangerous precedent
By P4blo on 3/25/2008 7:34:06 AM , Rating: 2
Absolutely. like most people I'm sick to death with how these people deem it right to burn flags, riot and murder people (or call for them to be murdered). But it's wrong for anyone to express a negative view about them or their extremist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic ways. (Sounds like a fascist organisation to me!)

We are being bullied into keeping our views quiet because these children will cry and burn flags if we don’t. Sadly, they are just destroying their own faith's reputation. Nobody cares about the wise, kindly, helpful Imam, all they remember is the extremist fool with bombs strapped to him screaming 'god is good' before calling for the deaths of all infidels. Why, because someone picked up a pencil and sketched Mohammed with a bomb on his head? Sounds like fair criticism to me. If they choose to align themselves so closely with martyrdom and encourage followers to blow themselves up WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?

Some of these people are so brainwashed and clueless they're close to worthless. I dont like extreme anything, most of all religious types. It's their twisted faith, yet they think we all have to respect it? Well ha ha. Methinks they presume too much. They will have to learn the hard way...

RE: A dangerous precedent
By nah on 3/25/2008 9:26:58 AM , Rating: 2
Yet this is exactly what happens at DT--if a particular group of people ( in this case DT readers) like a post--it's rated up--if it offends them, it's rated down--if someone gives another persons post a negative rating and its hidden from view--does this abrogate the posters freedom of speech ?

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
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