Geert Wilders’s controversial film “Fitna” has now been posted online. Though the footage is familiar, the film is disturbing. In the film Wilders attributes the murder and violence committed by Muslims in the name of Islam to Islam and the Koran. The film therefore does not distinguish between Islam and Islamism, asserting that the distinction is false.
Taking issue with the film, and seeking to head off a wave of Muslim violence inspired by it, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende felt compelled to weigh in at a news conference held at the Hague: “The film equates Islam with violence. We reject this interpretation.” The Dutch Prime Minister says he rejects the interpretation, but he seems to do so because he fears that it has some merit. His comments put me in mind of the bumper sticker “Support mental health or I’ll kill you.”
The film would not be worthy of note were it not for the fear and threats of violence that the its release has generated. The Iranian regime that commits mass murder in the name of Islam has condemned the film as “hideous” and called on European governments to block the showing of the film. Or else, I guess.
The Washington Post story on the film’s release notes that the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution yesterday deploring the use of the media to “incite acts of violence, xenophobia or related intolerance and discrimination towards Islam” or other religions. Use of the media to incite acts of violence and related intolerance against critics of Islam, or to vent Islamic anti-Semitism, however, is okay by the folks running the U.N. Human Rights Council.
If you are looking for intelligent commentary related to the film, I recommend “Overcoming ‘Fitna'” by former State Department official Scott Carpenter on the site Middle East Strategy at Harvard together with the comments by Lee Smith and Adam Garfinkle.
UPDATE: For excellent commentary on the dynamics of the film’s reception consistent with my notes above, see Diana West’s “Pre-emptive rage.”
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