A Dutch Muslim group has appealed for calm at home and abroad in reaction to an anti-Quran film produced by a Dutch right wing politician. Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party, which holds nine seats in the 150 seat parliament says his 10-minute short portrays the Quran as a “fascist book” that incites violence and intolerance of women and homosexuals.
Wilders is yet to find a broadcaster willing to air the film. But he said if he cannot find one, he will post it on the internet. In the past Wilders has said half of the Quran should be torn up and compared it to Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”
Even though the film may never see the light of day, the government has put cities on alert for a possible backlash and warned its embassies of a potential reaction similar to the one that erupted across the Muslim world over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad printed in a Danish newspaper in 2005.
Mohammed Rabbae, is the Chairman of the Dutch National Moroccan Council, “ We want to make it clear that the Netherlands is not the country of one man, Wilders, but also of the Muslims who live here. And anything that hurts the Netherlands hurts us.” Rabbae also called for a peaceful reaction to the film.
On the streets the mood is one of caution concerning Wilders and his film. “Well I don’t think its very wise of Wilders to try to provoke a discussion in this way. There are other ways to do it,” said one man.
The controversy brings back memories of the murder of film director, Theo van Gogh who was shot by a Muslim extremist, had his throat slit and a letter stabbed into his chest threatening the life of Hirsi Ali the writer who penned the screenplay for the film. Van Gogh’s film “Submission” criticised the treatment of woman under Islam, citing Quranic verses that appeared to justify abuse.