Uproar Over Anti-Islam Film Falls Flat

A Quran expert interviewed by ABC translates the Quranic verses in the film.

ByABC News
February 10, 2009, 9:54 PM

March 28, 2008— -- The leader of Netherlands' anti-immigration party, Geert Wilders, posted an anti-Islam film Thursday that was expected to raise an uproar among Muslims. So far, the fallout has fallen flat.

Wilders posted his film on the Internet after local distributors declined to release it. His film entitled, "Fitna," which translates to "Discord" in Arabic, suggests the Quran promotes violence and acts of terrorism. The 10-minute film shows various verses of the Quran followed by a montage of violent photos and video ranging from the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center to photos of the Shiite ritual of self-flagellation.

Wilders concludes the film with a graphic, saying it is up to "Muslims themselves to tear out the hateful verses of the Quran. Muslims want you to make way for Islam, but Islam does not make way for you." Wilders urges his audience to "stop Islamization, defend our freedom."

So far, the protests over the film have been largely over legal issues. European news reports say Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard will sue Wilders for using his copyrighted image of the prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. News reports also say Dutch rapper Salah Edin is seeking legal recourse for his picture appearing in the film mistaking him for the man who murdered Dutch film director Theo van Gogh.

Small protests over the controversial film have sprouted in the Muslim world but have remained nonviolent.

ABC News spoke to a Quran expert to investigate what the verses in Wilders' film mean. Below are expert Mohammad Al-Hayek's translations of the meanings of the verses used in "Fitna."

Verse from Fitna: (Chapter 8; Verse 6) Prepare for them whatever force and cavalry ye are able of gathering to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah and your enemies.

Al-Hayek: The purpose of this verse is to urge Muslim governments to be militarily strong in order to intimidate its enemies. Building up power is meant to serve as a deterrent to those wanting to attack Muslims.

This chapter was revealed about the major Battle of Badr that took place between the Muslims and the Quraish tribe of Mecca in the second year of the established Muslim state. The verse immediately after it says, "but if the enemy inclines toward peace, do thou also incline toward peace." Muslims are commanded to halt war immediately if the enemy shows signs of peace. Even in war, Muslims are instructed in the Quran to adhere to strict rules of engagement.