Friday, March 28, 2008

Appeal For Calm Heeded Over "Fitna" Film.

An appeal for calm by Muslim leaders in the Netherlands after the release of an anti-Islam film appears to have been heeded. They urged restraint during Friday prayers following the publication of the video by right-wing politician Geert Wilders on the internet yesterday.

Senior Islamic figures also met government representatives who praised Muslims for their restrained reaction. Wilders said the government was wrong to anticipate trouble: "I'm happy there's been calm in the Netherlands. Muslims reacted in a more responsible way than the Prime Minister, who used words like 'crisis'."

The short feature intersperses images of the September 11 attacks with quotations from the Koran, Islam's holy book. The film urges Muslims to tear out what it calls "hate-filled" verses from the Koran.

It had been a huge talking point before its release and the government stepped up security fearing a backlash. Dutch broadcasters refused to air the video and it finally appeared only briefly on a website. Amid the fallout a Muslim group has begun legal action to try to stop Wilders from comparing Islam to fascism, saying he has incited hatred of Muslims.

But the film does have it supporters and members of of a far-right group made their presence felt outside the court in Rotterdam. Several were arrested.

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