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Dutch MP set to release film criticizing Quran
Published in Daily News Egypt on 29 - 01 - 2008

CAIRO: Geert Wilders, a Dutch right-wing Member of Parliament, is making a 10-minute film that portrays the Quran as "an inspiration for intolerance, murder and terror, he announced recently.
Wilders, who is also leader of the Freedom Party, is expected to release the film in March, saying that it will show the "intolerant and fascist character of the holy book.
In a statement to Daily News Egypt, the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Cairo said they are preparing for possible repercussions following the release of Wilders controversial film, which reportedly denounces Islam.
Although the film has not yet been viewed, news of its release has already stirred controversy in Holland as the country braces itself for an anticipated backlash from the Muslim world similar to the Danish cartoons debacle.
Netherlands Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende released a statement saying; "This country enjoys a long tradition of freedom of expression, religion and belief. This country also has a tradition of respect, tolerance and responsibility. Maliciously offending a certain population group or those who profess a certain belief has no part in this tradition, which prizes free and unrestricted debate and mutual respect.
He added that the government is "shouldering [their] responsibility for the film's repercussions.
The government, however, cannot ban the film as that would contradict its freedom of expression policies.
But according to Hafez Abu Seada, secretary general of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR), it is not considered freedom of expression if it calls for discrimination and hatred.
"Freedom of belief and expression is absolute. However, if literary and cinematic works stereotype a certain group of people and discriminate against them then that should not be considered freedom of expression as it is banned by the United Nations, added Abu Seada.
Sheikh Mahmoud Ashour, former deputy for Al-Azhar and member of the Islamic Research Center, agrees, saying that "religious beliefs should not be criticized.
Sheikh Fawzy El Zefzaf, the head of Al-Azhar Religious Dialogue Committee, refused to comment on the film before seeing it for himself.
According to BBC News, the Dutch Muslim Council has condemned the MP's film, referring to his politics as "racist, fascist and authoritarian.
The council asked the supporters of Wilders to consider the consequences that the film may have, and called it a threat to Dutch society.
Citizens in Holland organized a small protest against Wilders' ideas, while others expressed their support of Wilders' film and its warnings against what they consider to be the crimes of Islam.
"Does anyone in the Netherlands think twice when someone attacks the teachings of the Bible? Why should the Quran be different? Obviously, the Justice Minister s response makes clear why: Because Muslims will kill over this, and Christians won t, read one post on Dhimmi Watch, an online blog maintained by American author Robert Spencer.
Other posts said; "Get ready for mass riots in Holland and bomb threats. Little old Christian nuns decapitated and as many school children to be mown down as possible to prove that this film is untrue and that Islam really is the religion of peace.
This is not MP Wilders' first attempt at publicly criticizing the Islamic religion. In August 2007, Wilders called for the banning of the Quran in a letter printed in De Volkskrant newspaper, in which he described it as a "fascist book and compared it to Adolf Hitler's autobiography, "Mein Kampf.
He ended his letter with, "I am fed up with Islam in the Netherlands: no more Muslim immigrants allowed. I am fed up with the worship of Allah and Mohamed in the Netherlands: no more mosques.

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