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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 fitnathemovie.com.  (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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Cowardice
RE: Cowardice
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 3/24/2008 1:12:17 PM , Rating: 2
Yea, Islam is getting special treatment. That needs to stop and people in the Western world need to grow a pair and tell them to grow up and deal with it. Unfortunately I don't see this happening for several decades.


RE: Cowardice
By therealnickdanger on 3/24/2008 1:22:55 PM , Rating: 2
By then Islam will have gained further foothold in every level of government, further repressing anti-Islamic speech (true or not), and it will be too late. The "impending" Judeo-Christian theocracy so many on the left claim to be fighting will be replaced - but not by some fruity, diverse, multi-cultural love-in, but by a Islamo-fascist regime that will sneak up behind them via the very channels of tolerance that they so virtuously uphold.


RE: Cowardice
By charliee on 3/24/08, Rating: 0
RE: Cowardice
By hcahwk19 on 3/24/2008 1:39:51 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly. All I have to say to these cowards who are supposedly getting their feelings hurt over criticism is welcome to the daily world of the Catholic Church. If there is a religious group that has been misconstrued as much as the Catholic Church is constantly (especially in the U.S.), I have yet to find one. I am not saying the Church is perfect, because by no means has it been historically. It has made very human mistakes in the past, as we are only human. But it does take the time every so often to step back and reevaluate what is going on within the Church, as well as the rest of the world. It is not conducive to change, but change does happen.

It is time for the Muslims to take the time to step back and reevaluate what they are doing, as the religion is an incubator of violence. Islam has been getting special treatment from liberals in the media and government the world over for the last 45 years. The world has tried time and again to appease Muslims, in efforts to create peace in the Middle East. But it appears to me (and history shows it) that the only thing Muslims understand is violence, even within Islam itself. I have come to see that until the Islamic "House of War" is either eradicated, or worse, rules the world, we will never have peace, especially in the Middle East. We have among us, a religious sect that is hell-bent on world domination, and will kill anyone, including its own, that dares to stand against it. IT is one that has declared its intention to eliminate Israel from the Earth, as well as the United States. These people are willing to kill themselves in order to accomplish their aspirations. They truly believe they will go to heaven and get 72 virgins if they kill themselves and take out even innocent people around them, because no one is innocent in their minds, except themselves. The Western world needs to wake up to the facts and history of Islam and take a stand against it. We did the same thing with Hitler and look at what happened there.


RE: Cowardice
By FITCamaro on 3/24/2008 2:25:29 PM , Rating: 2
It's only getting special treatment because currently those who don't like seeing it mocked are blowing things up over it and killing people.

But it's a peaceful religion....

I agree with you though.


RE: Cowardice
By kappakappa on 3/24/2008 2:25:45 PM , Rating: 2
The statement about Islam getting special treatment, I'd have to disagree.

Any muslim caught in a criminal act is punished as severely (or perhaps even more severely) than any caucasian for the same offense.

Perhaps you were referring only to this particular case, not the entire Islam.

No one has forced Geert Wilders to shut up about the movie. However, several muslim preachers that preach hateful speech have been sent back to their own country.

Point is, from someone who actually lives in The Netherlands, I'm still seeing equal treatment here.


RE: Cowardice
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 3/24/2008 3:03:26 PM , Rating: 2
"Islam" as a faith, is given special treatment. Not Muslims who believe in it. I think you missed the point. People do not wish to "offend Islam" and censor things, yet I see no such thing done for Christianity, Judaism, Catholacism, Mormons, Hindu, Buddhism, etc....

I'm not talking about the individual followers of the faiths, I'm talking about the faith as an entity in and of itself.


RE: Cowardice
By kappakappa on 3/24/2008 3:23:11 PM , Rating: 2
I hadn't missed the point, seems you missed mine though. I have to admit, my wording was lacking.

When I said Geert Wilders hasn't been forced to shut up, I meant that his site isn't permanently taken down, but temporarily, to see if it violates the terms of service. It says it right there in this DT article. Screaming "Censorship!" before there has been a resolve is giving in to fear, don't you think?

I'd say that the site will be back up soon enough, if it holds up in court.

I won't go into comparing religions, but all I have to say about that is.. stem cell research, abortion, gay marriage.


RE: Cowardice
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 3/24/2008 3:34:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'd say that the site will be back up soon enough, if it holds up in court.

That's kind of the problem though. Even if it's "legal" the provider might decide to censor it anyways so as not to offend it's other clients. You think the ISP that owns several of the largest radical Islamic websites really wants to piss these guys off? I will be surprised if they put it back up after the dust settles.


RE: Cowardice
By wien on 3/24/2008 3:53:04 PM , Rating: 2
But why get all riled up and worry before you know for sure what happens? Let the situation play out and if it turns sour, get upset.


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