THE NETHERLANDS

A film to fuel the fire

An image of the Koran taken from the film. The text says: “Warning: this book contains shocking images”. Published 26 Jan. 08 by De Telegraaf The extreme-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders has announced the imminent release of his new “anti-Koran” film. Although no one has seen the documentary yet, every one is already anticipating a second round of the Danish cartoons controversy.

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An image of the Koran taken from the film. The text says: “Warning: this book contains shocking images”. Published 26 Jan. 08 by De Telegraaf

Article compiled with the help of our Observer in Holland, Carl Konigel.

This Friday the Pakistani authorities ordered a countrywide block on YouTube. According to an official quoted by AP, this radical measure was put in place to stop anyone from seeing the trailer of Geert Wilders' new film. However, not one shot of the film is available on YouTube. Only Dutch daily De Telegraaf has received the images, and they have so far only published a few screenshots on their site. So, despite no one having yet seen the film, every one from Holland to Pakistan is dreading it and the fuel it will add to an already-raging fire.

"If they want to do it let them "

Comment from Umar Mirza, founder of the Dutch Muslim blog "Wij blijven hier" (We stay here):

I don't feel threatened as a Muslim in Holland. [Geert] Wilders is a minority. It might be a growing minority but it's still a minority and the majority of Dutch people simply aren't like that. I was born here; this is my country. I couldn't feel threatened in my own country. And I'll never leave. That's one of the reasons we set up the blog "We stay here".

I don't think he [Geert Wilders] really wants a debate between Muslims and non-Muslims; he just wants loads of attention. We're used to it here. After what's happened in the last few years we've learnt it's better just to say "if they want to do it let them do it". I guess we won't have any problems here in Holland. Well, I hope not. It's more likely that things will flare up in the UK or very Muslim states. I just hope they stay focused and don't do anything stupid."

I can see why the Pakistani government did what they did. You have to remember it's not a democratic state yet. There are already problems; they don't want them to escalate further. It's a completely different situation over there. It's easy to criticise them from the outside, but on the inside I suppose the government values peoples' lives more than freedom of speech."

"He wants to create the Mohammed cartoon affair all over again"

Comment from Laurent Chambon, a French sociologist who moved to the Netherlands 14 years ago and wrote a book about minorities in politics and the media:

Geert Wilders is a former member of the VVD; a liberal party that veered towards the far-right. He was thrown out of the party for "Islamophobia" and founded his own movement called the PVD (the Liberal Party), which has around ten seats in parliament.

Wilders is part of a gradual shift in Holland, where a far-right, nationalist and xenophobic stance has established itself. The former MP Hirsi Ali, originally form the Sudan, is from the same gang. She comes out with all sorts of polemic stuff, and then acts surprised when she receives threats.

Wilders likes to provoke people. No-one knows what his documentary will be like. It's only seven minutes long, but that doesn't matter. It's the event around it, and he's very good at creating that. I'm not sure if his film will have a strong impact here because Dutch Muslims are used to his provocations - they won't fall for them. His real target is foreigners. Perhaps he's hoping for someone to attack him, just so he can play the martyr.

He wants to create the Mohammed cartoon affair all over again. But I don't think Dutch society is like the Danish one. Holland is still a multicultural and tolerant country, unlike Denmark, which is much more closed."

Fake trailer of Wilders’ film

Posted 9 Jan. 08. Apparently this is the video that caused Pakistani authorities to block YouTube, thinking that it was the trailer to Wilders' film, although it turned out not to be.

Parody of the trailer: "The most provocative movie you’ve never seen"