Reaction by Dutch Prime Minister, Dutch Muslims and
Dutch politicians to Fitna
STATEMENT BY PRIME MINISTER BALKENENDE (www.government. nl)
'On behalf of the Dutch government, I would like to respond to the
online film by Mr Wilders.
The film shows images of violent acts and holds Islam and the Koran
responsible for them. The government condemns such acts and those who
The film equates Islam with violence. We reject this interpretation.
The vast majority of Muslims reject extremism and violence. In fact,
the victims are often also Muslims.
We therefore regret that Mr Wilders has released this film. We believe
it serves no purpose other than to cause offence. But feeling offended
must never be used as an excuse for aggression and threats. The
government is heartened by the initial restrained reactions of Dutch
Muslims, Christians and people of other convictions can easily live
together in peace. The problem is not religion, but misuse of religion
to sow hatred and intolerance. That is why we are calling for respect
for everyone's deepest convictions.
We are aware of the concerns and the sentiments about this film in the
international Muslim community. We have recently spoken with many
people at home and abroad to promote mutual understanding. We will
continue to follow this course.
The Dutch government stands for a society in which freedom and respect
go hand in hand. Such a society demands dedication and commitment. We
oppose extremism. Anyone who breaks the law is dealt with firmly. Let
us solve problems by working together. Let us reach out to others and
build confidence and trust. Let us conquer prejudice. We shall surely
REACTION BY DUTCH MUSLIMS
Dutch News Agency ANP reports that the 'National Comittee of Maroccans
(LBM) has said to be 'very relieved' now that they have seen the movie
by Geert Wilders. "The concerns that we and the Dutch society had for
riots are considerably lower" said mr Brahim Bourzik. According to
Bourzik this is also thanks to the efforts of the Dutch Government,
"specifically the efforts made by Prime Minister Balkenende and
Minister Vogelaar". Bourzik also said that Wilders apparently did
think very well about his movie. "it is within the borders of the
law". Like the LBM had promised before, the Maroccan Mosques will open
their doors for all Dutch people on Friday. They will hold a press
conference in the El Ouma Mosque in Amsterdam on Friday morning.
ANP also reports that Mustafa Biltunku of the Eyüp Sultan-mosque in
Amsterdam, has not seen the movie. "Don't pay attention to it", the
Turkish Iman said. "As long as we do, it will only become more
important, while it is not worth it. That is wat I advise my people".
Imam Ali Kartal of the Mescid-i Aksa Mosque (Milli Görüs) in Utrecht
said that he will not pay attention to the film in his sermon on
Friday. "We should not be dancing in the garden of Wilders. The man is
not worth it. Also when the mosque-attendants have questions, I will
advise them not to react.". Kartal has only seen short parts of the
film. "That he wanted to make an anti-Islam film, was clear to
Former 'head-Iman' of MMilli Görüs, M. Hulusi ünye, also was not very
impresssed. "This kind of reaction we have seen since the revelation
of the Qu'ran. The Qu'ran and the Islam are big enough to resist
ANP reports that Qu'uran expert Shayk Fawaz has called on Muslims for
calm reactions. He did that in a speech in Arabac for hundreds of
Muslims in Roermond. "We should not go and throw stones at windows
after this film, because that is exactly what Mr Wilders wants" said
Fawas at the debate with Christians that was organized by the Salafist
youth organization Alfeth. Fawaz said that he has taken Qu'uran verses
out of the right context.
REACTION BY DUTCH POLITICS
Government coalition parties:
CDA (Christian Democrats)
"De film is villainous and unnecessarily hurtful". The Christian
Democrats had already called on Wilders not to produce the film.
PvdA (Social Democrats)
Marriette Hamer, vice-Partyleader said: "Wilders is seeding fear. The
images are well-known, but the way he puts them together is
deliberately meant to seed fear. Legally, it is within the law. I hope
that the Dutch will be commonsensical enough to not be letting them
drift apart". The PvdA is hoping to debate mr Wilders soon and
appreciates the fact that Wilders has said he is willing to, "because
so far he has refused".
CU (Christian Union)
"The impression is made that every Muslim uses violence, which
fortunately is not the case. Most Muslims reject the mis-use of Islam
and appreciate the fact that such abuse is not permitted in The
SP (Socialist Party)
The Socialist Party said that they had seen "nothing new" in the Film
Fitna. 'Most of the images and newspaper clippings are nothing new.
Wilders only recognizes one kind of Islam: the Islam of the
fundamentalists. In that respect, he is one and the same with the
people he says he wants to fight with".
VVD (Conservative Liberals)
Partyleader Mark Rutte said the film was a 'missed chance'. "he had
the opportunity to present solutions to a public of millions for
problems of radical Islam and integration. Instead, he chose to show
old images of terrorists and criminal acts. Parliamentarians should
not be digging in archives, but work towards solving problems. That is
what we are being paid for".
D66 (Liberal Democrats)
,,Wilders tries to explain a world religion in 16 minutes and connects
in an inimitable way fascism, communism and Islam", says Alexander
Pechtold, Leader of D66. He appreciates that Wilders is willing to
engage in a debate with Muslims, but he would like to engage him in a
parliamentary debate. "I have been asking for such a debate for the
last year, but he keeps on evading it."
Floris van Hövell
Royal Netherlands Embassy