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

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/03/24/2197...

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 (blog) 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 is...it'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.


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