MP Geert Wilders came under fire from across the political spectrum on Tuesday evening when MPs debated his anti-Islam film Fitna. At one point Wilders accused ministers of lying when they claimed he told them the film would include pages being torn out of the Koran and burnt.
Liberal (VVD) leader Mark Rutte accused Wilders of being a ‘political pyromaniac’ who ‘lit a fire and walked away’. His film was a missed opportunity which offered no solutions to solve the country’s integration problems, Rutte said.
And Mariette Hamer of the ruling Labour party (PvdA) said the film contained nothing new. ‘But the way the images were strung together was meant to sow hatred,’ she said.
Wilders accused the cabinet of over-reacting to the film and creating a crisis situation before they knew what Fitna contained. He said prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende should apologise for his actions.
However, justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin produced notes made at a meeting between the PVV leader and several ministers in November to discuss the film plans.
The notes, said Hirsch Ballin, showed that Wilders was planning to destroy a Koran during the film. ‘The justice minister is concerned in particular about the end of the film in which Mr Wilders is planning to tear out several verses from the Koran and burn them on an open fire,’ the note reads, as quoted by news agency ANP.
The notes only contain ministers’ reactions to Wilders’ comments and are not transcripts of the meeting.
Wilders said the notes were rubbish and full of lies. ‘I am being made a fool of by the justice minister,’ he said. ‘ The cabinet is cleaning up its own image. This is a massive scandal.’
At the end of the debate, MPs gave their full backing to the cabinets pro-active approach to the film.
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