Balkenende. Warning
Photo: AP
Wilders. Not afraid
Photo: AFP

Dutch PM warns of attacks due to anti-Islam film

Jan Peter Balkenende says Holland risks economic sanctions, attacks on its citizens and businesses because of right-wing politician's plan to broadcast anti-Islamic film, after likening Koran to Hitler's 'Mein Kampf'

The Netherlands risks economic sanctions and attacks on its citizens and businesses because of a plan by a right-wing politician to broadcast an anti-Islamic film, the Dutch prime minister warned on Friday.


Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, who has called for the Koran to be banned and likened it to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, has made a film in which he presents his views about Islam's holy text.


"Dutch products have been rejected at an exhibition, the Taliban (in Afghanistan) announces actions against Dutch soldiers, stewardesses are afraid to work on certain air flights," Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende told journalists during a televised briefing.


He did not rule out the possibility people could be killed.


In 2006 demonstrations and rioting erupted in many Muslim countries after Danish cartoons, one showing the Prophet with a turban resembling a bomb, appeared in a Danish newspaper. At least 50 people were killed and three Danish embassies attacked.


Balkenende did not call upon Wilders to stop his broadcast plan but emphasized the Dutch government does not share Wilders' views. He said the cabinet was obliged to point out the risks of transmitting the film and had talked to Wilders.


Wilders said on his website, "Our prime minister is so afraid of the consequences of the film that he seems to give in to Islam instead of defending our democratic values and rights. Let me make one thing clear: the film will be broadcast."


Wilders, who is the target of death treats on Islamic militant websites, said he had completed the film and was in negotiations with TV stations for its broadcast.


Media reported he expected it to air in March or April.


'Tsunami of Islamization'

Wilders' party has nine of the 150 seats in the Dutch parliament, and has gained support in recent opinion polls. He has warned of a "tsunami of Islamization" in a country that is home to nearly one million Muslims.


Three Dutch employers organizations called upon Wilders to not broadcast the film, saying it would harm trade.


"We reject insulting statements and a lack of respect," said the chairman of the VNO-NCW employers' group, Bernard Wientjes.


Elsewhere, Turkey has voiced concern about the film, the Iranian government has called it a "provocative and Satanic" act, while Pakistan this week condemned all efforts to denigrate Islam.


In 2004 the Netherlands was plunged into turmoil when an Islamic militant killed director Theo Van Gogh over a television film accusing Islam of condoning violence against women.


Wilders has called his film "Fitna", an Arabic term used in the Koran and sometimes translated as "strife".


פרסום ראשון: 03.01.08, 12:00
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