The government has taken legal advice about banning Geert Wilders’ short anti-Koran film, the Telegraaf reports on Monday, quoting sources close to the cabinet.
The paper says that the government’s legal officials told ministers that going to court ‘need not be entirely hopeless’ because of the danger to national security and public order the film could provoke.
Although the cabinet rejected the idea of trying to ban the film during Friday’s ministerial meeting, the idea has not yet been thrown out, sources told the paper.
However, the cabinet is divided on the issue and Labour ministers in particular are totally opposed to a ban, the paper says.
On Sunday, Nato leader Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, a former Dutch foreign minister, told a tv programme he too was concerned about the likely effect of Wilders’ 15-minute film. He said he is especially worried about the possible consequences for the 50,000 Nato troops in Afghanistan.
On Sunday around 800 demonstrators in northern Afghanistan took to the streets to protest against the ‘insult’ to Islam by Danish newspapers and the planned film by Wilders, report various news agencies.
On Friday prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende urged Wilders (who heads the anti-immigration PVV party) to carefully consider the consquences of broadcasting his film which Wilders says aims to prove that the Koran is a fascist book which encourages murder and violence.
While stopping short of asking Wilders not to release the film, Balkenende said he was seriously worried about the effect it could have on Dutch citizens, soldiers and companies.
‘It is our duty to point this out to Mr Wilders. That is why we are publicly speaking out,’ Balkenende said after the weekly cabinet meeting.
‘We have a duty to make clear to everyone that the methods and thoughts of one MP do not correspond to those of the government.’
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