Fitna- the ‘challenge’ of Islam
Yet the reaction and calls for censorship constitute precisely what Cranmer warned of some time ago. There is an emerging definition of blasphemy which is replacing the now-defunct UK laws relating to the crime, and which is demanding pan-European adherence. Thus the EU has condemned the film because it is ‘critical of Islam’ and features ‘controversial images of the Prophet Mohammed’.
Note that reports do not mention ‘the Islamic Prophet’; just ‘the Prophet’. The ‘Son of God’ would undoubtedly be pre-fixed with ‘whom Christians believe to be’ in almost every media narrative.
Yet the outrage over this film may be unsurprising in Iran, Indonesia or Pakistan, but it is somewhat disproportionate in the West considering that it simply depicts how jihadists commit violence and justify their atrocities according to the Qur'an. Yet that fact itself has never aroused outrage among significant numbers of Muslims, such that they would be moved, say, to mount protests against it, as they are against this film.
But the collusion in the universal enforcement of respect for ‘the Prophet’ has spread to the Land of the Free. Network Solution – a US company that hosts 7 million domain names - has decided to suspend its hosting of fitnathemovie.com while it investigates whether the site’s content is in violation of the Network Solutions Acceptable Use Policy.
This is an unacceptable pre-emptive censorship, and must be an infringement of constitutional right. Network Solutions has caved in to radical Islam and spat in the face of free speech. It should not be for Network Solutions to determine what is and is not acceptable any more than it should be for Google. If causing offence is deemed to be unacceptable, who knows who might get offended next and which sites will be pulled?
And it is noteworthy that Network Solutions is perfectly content to host radical Islamic websites, some of which belong to (or are closely affiliated with) terrorist groups like Hizbollah.
Fitna may be viewed by going to Mr Wilders; PVV website and clicking ‘Fitna in première'. To Cranmer’s knowledge, no blogspot account is presently hosting the film, and that will doubtless remain the case.
One might think, since the murders in Holland of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh, and the hounding into exile of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, that Geert Wilders might be more inclined to moderate his language on Islam or avoid the controversy altogether. But there is something in him that will not bow the head or bend the knee to what he perceives to be a very real threat to the traditions, culture and liberties of his country.
While he derides the Dutch prime Minister for his weakness, he insists in The Spectator that he is ‘not bound to any Afghan or Sufi or Pakistani law. I am bound to the Dutch law and I’m sure that my movie will be within all the boundaries of the Dutch law. You can like the text or dislike the text, like the message or dislike the message, but I’m not doing anything that will be an incitement of hatred or things like that.’
So what is his aim?
He says: ‘I really believe that the Qur’an is a fascist book and Islam — which is more ideology, according to me, than religion — is something that is at least very bad for our values and our society. I’m not a cultural relativist. I believe that we should be proud of our culture. Our culture is far better than the more retarded Islamic culture. So this is why last year in an article I wrote, I said, well, we should ban the Qur’an. I initiated a big debate with the Prime Minister in the Dutch parliament about it and talked about how it would be good if there could be a new Qur’an like a New Testament and all the hatred and incitement and intolerance — get rid of that.’
The sole limit to freedom of speech that Mr Wilders recognises is incitement. And this is the problem he has with the Qur’an.
‘Big parts of the Qur’an today are still used to do the most terrible things. And I believe a lot of people don’t know that and I hope it will open their eyes and we will get a discussion going about the real nature of Islam. We should stop this process of Islamisation and we should protect not only our identity but also our freedom more. With the growing amount of Islamisation of both our countries and our societies we will lose our freedoms. At the end of the day Islam will kill our democracy and our society, and I know it will not happen tomorrow or the day after tomorrow but there is a process going on and there is a total lack of urgency of people who really feel that it is a threat.’
And what is his main message to the non-Muslims who see his film?
‘Stop being a cultural relativist and be proud of who you are, and fight for it especially if, you know, I mean these people are not Buddhist. I wrote an article a few weeks ago that said, imagine if I would have said last year that I wanted to burn the Bible, that I want to make a movie to show the fascist character of Christianity. Would there be extra meetings of the government? Would there be evacuation plans of our embassies in Rome, Berlin and Brussels? Would there be bishops like grand muftis who say there would be bloodshed? The answer of course is “no”. So it proves my point already. All the reactions of the Islamic world, even unfortunately from the Dutch government, show that Islam is something different, has to be treated differently, as something entirely beside our own culture and values.’
For Mr Wilders, Fitna is an apt title for Islam is indeed a challenge. And Douglas Murray is persuaded that the film will have loud consequences and that perhaps the price of silence is already too high: ‘When the limits of freedom of speech are dictated from outside you may not feel it today or tomorrow. But the day after, or some day soon, you will’.