Posted on April 2, 2008

Threat of Lawsuits Force Changes to Dutch Anti-Islam Film

Voice of America News, March 31, 2008

A far-right Dutch lawmaker says he will make changes to a controversial film that accuses the Muslim holy book, the Koran, of inciting violence.

The film, which has drawn widespread protest, contains an incendiary cartoon showing the Prophet Muhammad wearing a turban resembling a bomb.

Film producer Geert Wilders confirmed Monday that he will edit out the caricature, after the original artist threatened a lawsuit for copyright infringement.

Dutch entertainer Salah Edin also threatened to sue, complaining the film wrongly identifies him as the Muslim radical who killed a Dutch right-wing filmmaker in 2004.

Wilder posted the film on his political party’s Internet site last week, triggering protests in the United Nations and across the Muslim world, where such depictions are considered blasphemy.

In Indonesia Monday, several-dozen members of a hardline Islamic group rallied outside the Dutch Embassy in Jakarta to protest the film.

At the rally, some 40-members of the Islamic Defenders Front demanded that the Indonesian government cut ties with Amsterdam in response to the film.

Wilders says he made the film to show how Muslim immigration is a threat to Europe’s democracies. In it, he alternates images of terrorist attacks with quotations from the Koran.

Indonesia has banned the controversial anti-Koran film by the Dutch right-wing MP, Geert Wilders.

The Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called for calm in the mainly Muslim nation on Tuesday and said that Wilders would also be barred from entering the country.

Wilders’ 17-minute film entitled Fitna, criticised Islam’s holy book, the Koran. The film sets verses of the Koran against a background of images from terrorist attacks. It accuses Islam of inspiring violence.

Small groups of protestors had gathered outside the embassy of the Netherlands in Jakarta to protest against the film. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation with some 90 percent of its 230 million people following Islam.

The Dutch government has condemned the film and Dutch broadcasters have avoided showing it. The video had been posted on a video-sharing website.

Reports say that Wilders has received death threats and is under police protection.