The cabinet is concerned about a ‘provocative’ film about the Koran by anti-immigration party PVV leader Geert Wilders which he expects to be shown on tv at the end of January.
The justice, foreign and home affairs ministers, who are worried about a backlash from Islamic countries, have warned Wilders about the risks of screening such a film.
Justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin stressed that while Wilders is free to express his views about the Koran, he also has a responsibility towards society in general. ‘Think about the what the repercussions could be,’ he said.
If the film is hard-hitting, it could evoke hard-hitting reactions against himself and others,’ says the minister. Those who want a free debate must show respect for all religions and for things that are sacrosanct for others, he said.
Wilders says it is not the aim of his film to insult people but if they are insulted, that is ‘a pity but not my problem’. He says he wants Muslims to realise that the Koran is a ‘terrible and fascist’ book which inspires people to commit ‘terrible’ deeds.
He repeated his belief that the Koran, like Hitler’s Mein Kampf, should be banned in the Netherlands.
Abdelmajid Khairoun, chairman of the Dutch umbrella organisation of Muslim organisations, said Wilders’ film would damage not only Muslims but the Netherlands in general. In addition it could lead to a boycott of Dutch products similar to the anti-Danish reaction which followed the controversy about cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed two years ago.
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