Netherlands raise alert level over film
The Netherlands is expected to raise their national risk level to "substantial" over fears of a terrorist attack due to the release of a new film.
The film, unsurprisingly, is critical of the Koran and comes from the right-wing politician Geert Wilders and is expected to raise religious and racial tensions both within the country and externally.
The level was last raised over a film when Theo Van Gogh was murdered by an Islamic militant simply because of a film he made which condoned violence against women in the Islamic religion.
Reuters have the story that the Justice Minister is expected to update Parliament with a new threat assessment later today, although it doesn't cite the cause as just being the film but also points to a raised threat level around the world.
The Dutch government have already announced that the film is expected to cause unrest, particularly with the large Dutch Islamic community, after the uproar caused by the cartoons of the Islamic prophet Mohammed were printed in a Dutch newspaper.
The film from the politician Geert Wilders is keeping the film under wraps, but from what has been heard the film Fitna and Wilders himself, it could well be controversial. The word Fitna is Arabic and is often translated as strife, but more to the point Wilders is a right-wing politician who has previously called the Koran a facist book that incites violence, he even believes that it should be banned.
For these reasons no Dutch broadcasters wants to actually show the film and it is expected to be released on the Internet later this month. Reuters says that a poll shows that the majority of the Dutch want the film to be shown, and that they do expect tensions to rise between Muslims and non-Muslims in the country. They even suggest that the film might harm Arab relations abroad.
However it doesn't seem as though the controversy is waiting for the release of the film. Already the Pakistani Foreign Ministry has accused the Dutch politician of propagating hate and promoting xenophobia, and the Dutch government have begun publicly and politically distancing themselves from the beliefs and comments of Wilders.
It seems that the Dutch government are taking this threat seriously, despite not having seen the film yet. However I do think it's a bid early for other governments to be leaping up and denouncing them for…well…not actually doing anything.
Without the film being seen and protests raised, why should they ban the film? - Unless of course it is blatantly inciting racial hatred. More to the point, why are the Pakistan government leaping up and condoning them for not doing anything when no one has seen the film and everyone is just assuming it's going to be negative? There has to be something said about the Dutch laws on freedom of speech.
We'll see what happens as the release day approaches.