Muslim Hardliners in Indonesia Rally Over Dutch Film

Reuters, March 31, 2008

About 50 members of a hardline Indonesian Muslim group held a rowdy protest outside the Dutch embassy on Monday, calling for the death of a Dutch lawmaker behind a film accusing the Koran of inciting violence.

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Dozens of police, with two water cannon at the ready, did not intervene during the protest by white-clad members of the Islamic Defenders’ Front, some of whom hurled eggs and plastic water bottles into the compound of the Dutch embassy in Jakarta.

“I call on Muslims around the world, if you run into the maker of the film, kill him,” said one of the speakers at the rally, Awit Mashuri.

“Geert Wilders is a Christian terrorist,” declared a placard held up by a protester. “Kill Geert Wilders,” read another.

The Front is notorious for its past raids on nightspots the group accused of harbouring prostitutes and drug dealers.

In 2003, the group’s leader, Mohammad Rizieq Shihab, was jailed for seven months for inciting violence.

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So far, the protests against the Dutch film have been small scale in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation and a former Dutch colony.

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