Anti-Islam Filmmaker Defends His Work
Dutch lawmaker who made the film says it defends Western values.
March 29, 2008— -- The Dutch lawmaker who made a controversial film that criticizes Islam and the Koran, defended his work after protestors in Pakistan and Europe condemned the movie.
The 17-minute movie, posted on the Internet, shows terrorist attacks and quotes lines from the Koran, Islam's holiest book. Among the quotes from the Koran used in the film are: "When ye meet the unbelievers, smite at their necks" and "Fight them until there is no dissension."
"The Koran is not an old book somewhere on the shelves that no one is looking at," the film's maker, Geert Wilders, told ABC News. "But this is indeed the base of a lot of terrible things happening throughout the world."
Wilders is the leader of a Dutch anti-immigration party that holds nine seats in the national parliament. He wants the Netherlands to ban all Muslim immigrants and more than that, he wants Muslims to change their ideology, which he likens to Nazism.
"I believe that our culture is far better than the Islamic culture," Wilders said. When pressed on what he meant by "better," Wilders replied, "Well, we have a separation of church and state, we treat women equally."
Friday night, the Web site hosting Wilders' movie, "Fitna," an Arabic word that means discord, said said it had decided to take down the film "following serious threats to our staff."
In the Netherlands and across Europe there is anger. Many Muslims say they feel insulted, but there has been no violence so far.
There have been demonstrations in Pakistan and elsewhere. Anticipating trouble, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende condemned the movie.
"We believe it serves no purpose other than to cause offence," Balkenende said.
In 2005 violent protests broke out around the world and more than 100 people were killed after a Danish newspaper printed cartoons portraying the Prophet Mohammed.
"I think his message is even worse than those cartoons," said Abdou Bouzerda, who heads the Dutch chapter of the Arab European League. "His political message is that Muslims do not belong here."
For now Dutch Muslim leaders are urging debate and restraint.