3/28/2008                                                                                       View Comments

Fitna the Movie

Geert Wilders' film about the Quran



Fitna is a film by Dutch politician Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Dutch parliament. The movie offers his views on Islam and the Qur'an. The film's title comes from the Arabic word fitna which is used to describe "disagreement and division among people", or a "test of faith in times of trial". The movie was released to the Internet on 27 March 2008. -- Wikipedia


Freedom of expression or freedom to insult?

Calls from countries with a largely Muslim population to ban Geert Wilders film Fitna have fallen on deaf ears in the Netherlands, where freedom of expression is seen as an unassailable right. Folkert Jensma, NRC Handelsblad's legal affairs correspondent, explains the options.

Could the screening of Wilders' video have been prevented by law?

No, at least not in principle. The Dutch constitution does not allow censorship, which is defined in Article 7 as the freedom to publish or show anything without prior consent. This freedom applies not just to the printing press. It also covers art, movies, photos, cartoons – indeed any medium that can be used to express oneself. It’s a basic civil right and a founding principle of Dutch democracy. Basic civil rights also include the freedom of religion, protection from discrimination and the right to equal treatment. In democratic societies these basic rights are sacrosanct and protect individual citizens from the potential abuse of power by governments.

The only way the government could over-ride this basic right would be to declare a State of Emergency. Then it could have used special powers, including media censorship. But this was never a real option. Wilders' video may be a public relations disaster for the Netherlands but it is not a national disaster like war or serious flood caused by a break in the dykes.

Such an intervention was also out of the question politically. Dutch foreign policy champions human rights and the country hosts several international courts and legal institutions like the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice and Europol. The Netherlands initiated the European Convention on Human Rights which specifically forbids public authorities from interfering with the freedom to ‘hold opinions’ and to ‘receive and impart information’.

So it is impossible to ask the Dutch authorities to prevent the publication of an insulting book or the opening of an exhibition which is guaranteed to upset people?

This is where things get complicated. No freedom is absolute, even in an open, democratic society. Article 10, section 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights defines the ‘conditions and restrictions’ that need to be prescribed by law and that should be ‘necessary in a democratic society’. It also allows for restrictions to freedom of expression ‘for the protection of health or morals’. However, in practice the European Court of Human Rights tends to allow publications that may shock, offend or disturb and permits member states a wide margin in deciding where morals should be protected.

So yes, someone could have tried to stop the film, but they would have stood little chance of success. Top Dutch lawyer Gerard Spong said he would go to court because the commercial interests of one of his clients were being damaged by Wilders. Spong has not revealed the identity of that client apart from indicating it is an Indonesian company trading in the Netherlands.

Other organisations and members of the general public have also taken action. The national public prosecution department has received dozens of complaints from citizens and organisations who feel Wilders has broken blasphemy and libel laws. The department says it will take a decision on whether or not to proceed with the complaints 'in due course'.

As a member of parliament, Wilders is immune from criminal prosecution for libel and the state's response will probably be cautious. Since the murders of political rising star Pim Fortuyn and film director Theo van Gogh, the gloves are off in Dutch political debate. There is a feeling that everything that needs to be said should be said - preferably as loudly as possible.

In addition, the prosecution department can look back to the 1997 prosecution of Hans Janmaat for discrimination. Janmaat was an extreme right-wing member of parliament with an anti-immigrant message that preceded those of Pim Fortuyn and Geert Wilders. His conviction and €3,400 fine for speaking out publicly against multi-culturalism was later generally regarded as unmerited. By today’s standards Janmaat’s statement seems almost polite.

Wilders, meanwhile, has been warned privately by Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin that a criminal prosecution is a serious option, depending on the content of his film. After the meeting, Wilders complained of intimidation by cabinet officials.

So why was no action taken before the premiere?

The main problem was nobody knew what exactly the film was about. Nobody had seen it. Wilders steadfastly refused to preview his production to anyone. Legally speaking, there was no smoking gun - because the shot hadn't been fired yet. All lawyers knew was that Wilders intended to say insulting things about the Muslim religion. From the legal point of view, this could only be seen as attempted insult or conspiracy to insult. No such crime exists in Dutch law.

Don’t forget that this is as much a story about political gamesmanship as it is about legal wrangling. By not saying explicitly what his video film was about but repeatedly dropping hints, Wilders raised expectations and at the same time kept himself out of legal trouble.

Is a civil claim now likely?

Don’t underestimate the legal power of commercial self-interest. The former member of Dutch parliament and critic of Islam Ayaan Hirsi Ali was forced out of her home after her neighbours managed to convince a judge that the value of their property suffered from her presence.

Wilders has already abandoned attempts to show his video during a press conference in a building next to parliament in the centre of The Hague. Security costs would have amounted to several hundred thousand euros, which he said he couldn't afford. In addition, nearby shop owners claimed they would need to take increased security precautions for months and said they would demand compensation.

But Egbert Dommering, a professor of law at the University of Amsterdam and a respected expert on media law, thinks a civil claim against an ‘unknown’ film might have been successful if it presented a ‘clear and present danger’ to public safety. Then, he says, a banning order would be justified and could easily pass scrutiny by the European courts.

The order, could, for example, have banned publication on the internet. A limited ban cannot be considered censorship, Dommering argues because it would be proportionate in view of the expected damage. But no such move was made.

Where does all this leave Wilders? Since all Dutch television stations have refused to accept his terms for broadcasting his production and showing it during a press conference is expensive and may attract legal claims, Wilders has only one real option: the internet. The internet is full of insulting images of Islam already. And to stay out of legal trouble in the Netherlands, Wilders has hosted his website www.fitnathemovie.com in the United States. ‘Coming soon’, it said. Until recently. The internet provider Network Solutions withdrew Wilders’ account and suspended his website. They are currently investigating whether the site’s content is in violation of its 'current use policy', which forbids publication of defamatory or libelous material. Or 'hate propaganda'.

STORY LINK



35 comments:

Andrew said...

Why? You going somewhere?

But congratulations to graduating to the status of genuine hate site.

Hate those Muslims!

Right, Dave?

stronger now said...

To the troll,

See here

Telesmith said...

Andrew-
Would you mind pointing out to me exactly which passages contained above are not worthy of any moral and ethical person's scorn and disgust. Yes I do in fact "hate" Islam. I reserve the utmost disdain for any ideology that would subjugate women and advocate the killing non-believers. Please, come back here and point out to me exactly what is wrong with that. I'm dying to know.

Do you condone the infliction of violence on individuals who do not adhere to Islam, your own religion, your political views? I doubt it. But, this is the sentiment you are implicitly defending.

Telesmith said...

...And shame on you for doing such!

Pull The Other One! said...

So, Christians would never dream of criticising Islam, eh Andrew?

As for the film. Yes, Wilders is being hypocritical, because he's a right-wing populist with his own political agenda.

At the same time, the film wasn't as inflammatory as I was expecting. Wilders didn't have to do very much apart from hold up a mirror to the Koran and to what some Muslims are actually saying and doing.

People in the West in particular need to hear those parts of the Koran, and not just the mild reassuring parts that are quoted so often.

Andrew said...

Telesmith, the focus of the film is not criticism.

It is to engender hatred of Muslims, much like Christians are hated around here.

Spin it however you want.

Who ya kiddin, sport?

Except yourself.

.:webmaster:. said...

To someone like Andrew, the Muslims are brothers in religious fervor.

The only thing Andrew hates is atheists. He doesn't mind if we adopt another religion -- that's OK with him. What he hates is those who think gods and goddesses are imaginary.

He just can't accept that some people think believing in mythology is silly.

Andrew, any group that embraces with dogmatic fanaticism a particular worldview and believes there is justification in forcing others to join (for their own good, of course) is a bad thing.

However, this site is not forcing anything down anyone's throat. There are millions of websites promoting millions of agendas. This is simply one voice among uncountable millions. No one has to listen, and no one has to agree. Those who are offended may simply click off. No one is running for office, here. No one is campaigning in the streets one way or the other. No one is knocking on doors. No one is rabble-rousing.

What you don't like (apparently)_is allowing people who have left Christianity to talk about it. YOU are the one campaigning. YOU are the one behaving poorly. You are the one whose rhetoric resembles the political activists in Germany and Russia. You constantly reaffirm that the leaders of those countries were once monsters, and I'd agree. But it wasn't their worldview that made them monsters -- it was their dogged fanaticism that made them monsters. Their self-justifying, self-righteous, un-waiverable stubborn faith that they we doing "the right thing" for humanity is what made them into monsters. The same thing has happened throughout history whenever any fanatical worldview gained a lot of political power. Catholics, Protestants, and even Democracies all have their long lists of atrocities committed in the name of "good." Whenever any group adheres fanatically to some form of "Manifest Destiny," bad shit happens.

Totalitarianism, whether it be political or theocratic, when adopted by a whole country, brings horrific consequences.

These Muslims believe they are doing the right thing. Be careful, Andrew, lest you be one of those desiring a theocratic, fascist state.

Jim Arvo said...

Andrew,

You have provided a veritable catalog of logical fallacies.

1: "Given your atheistic views, our thoughts are nothing more than the biochemical rumblings in a meat brain, obeying the laws of chemisty and physics."

This is the fallacy of composition. Since atoms are not "free", neither are things built of atoms. That's rather like saying that water cannot be wet because neither hydrogen nor oxygen are. Our concept of freedom only applies to vastly higher-level concepts that operate at the societal level. If you think that's a dodge, then I have a challenge for you. Give me an operational definition of free will. Or, put another way, tell me how to distinguish between two hypothetical beings; one possessing free will and the other not. You'll find it's a quagmire, and for good reason.

2: "You cannot demonstrate your claims that all existence, life, mind, and reason itself are the product of mindless forces."

This is a straw man fallacy. As far as I can tell, nobody is making this claim. What we are telling you is that we do not accept your claims without substantiation. The rest of us are quite aware that there are myriad mysteries, but we do not infer anything from this, such as the existence of a fantastic invisible being who magically "explains" it all.

3: "Christ will accept anyone at anytime...."

This is the existential fallacy. You are asserting the X has property Y without first establishing the existence of X. This can also be viewed as begging the question, as your assertion builds upon the unproven assertion that is being discussed.

Bottom line: Either provide some credible objective evidence for your purported invisible being, or humbly admit that you have none and stop expecting everybody to adopt your beliefs.

Andrew said...

The purpose of the film is to promate hatred of Musims; people whom I disagree with.

But even the Prime Minister of the Netherlands thinks the purpose of the film is to promote hate, by quote mining, pictures, cartoons and smearing all Muslims with the same brush.

And as to my second point Jim, that claim is raised by Dawkins, Dennet, Harris and Hitchens routinely, all of whom are regularly praised around here.

As to providing proof, you have not even shown me any basis for accepting the biochemical rumblings of your own meat brain over those of anyone else.

.:webmaster:. said...

Andrew positioned himself this way: "As to providing proof, you have not even shown me any basis for accepting the biochemical rumblings of your own meat brain over those of anyone else."

Andrew, unless you have a supernatural lineage, you too are relying on the biochemical rumblings of your meat brain to make every decision in life.

For instance, how did you come to the conclusion that your deity is real? Did biochemical rumblings within your meat brain have anything to do your conclusion? Because if your meat brain didn't play a role, then I cannot comprehend how in the world you came to any conclusion. The brain, so far as I know, is the only organ humans possess capable of concluding anything.

I wonder what it is about the natural world that Andrew so despises. Surely if Bible-God had created the natural order, it would be all good, right? In fact, it seems to me that to despise the natural universe would be to despise the creator.

Why do you hate your brain, Andrew? Why do you hate your own mind? Your brain is a natural part of the natural universe, Andrew, unless you can demonstrate otherwise. And if you can, please do so.

2ddCeNxooolBn.6.0D2E_Kl4ZA-- said...

"even the Prime Minister of the Netherlands thinks the purpose of the film is to promote hate"

Being Dutch, I'd like to state here that our PM is a scaredy-cat who has practically gone out of his way to put the fear of god into everyone about this silly movie.

Basically, everybody's going "That's it?"

boomSLANG said...

Jim Arvo to "Andrew"..."Bottom line: Either provide some credible objective evidence for your purported invisible being, or humbly admit that you have none and stop expecting everybody to adopt your beliefs."

"Andrew" responds to Jim Arvo...As to providing proof, you have not even shown me any basis for accepting the biochemical rumblings of your own meat brain over those of anyone else.

Dear Goldrew,

Jim will correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm almost certain that when he asked you to provide objective evidence that substantiates your supernaturalist worldview, that he was NOT offering naturalism as "proof" against supernaturalism. A naturalist worldview; a natural Universe is the default position. We already KNOW that "Nature" exists, and that it conforms to Natural laws. Thus, the burden of proving that Nature conforms to some "other" law, namely, a supernatural law..i.e.."God's Law", is YOUR burden, Goldrew...not his; not ours; not the Atheist's. M'kay?

Furthermore, it has already been explained to you, in abundant detail, how each and every time you blather on about the human mind being "random", "biochemical" processes, blah, blah, ad nauseam, that you commit the fallacy of composition, which, again, is erroneously assuming that because one or more components of a particular "thing" have certain characteristics/limitations, that of entirety of whatever said components might make-up must therefore have the same characteristics, limitations, etc.

A simplistic analogy of your silly argument may as well be: "Gee, I cannot drive to work on this tire; I cannot drive to work on this chunk of metal; I cannot drive to work on this seat; I cannot drive to work on this gas-powered motor...therefore, I cannot drive to work in this automobile!"

Again, fallacy of composition. Stick it in your memory-bank.

Goldrew continues...But even the Prime Minister of the Netherlands thinks the purpose of the film is to promote hate, by quote mining, pictures, cartoons and smearing all Muslims with the same brush.

"But, but, but, but". More dry-heaves from "Andrew".

Once more, you attack a strawman. For instance, and for sake of argument---okay, fine, the purpose of the film is to do all of the things that "Andrew" say it does. Further, secretly, ALL Atheists have nothing but killing on their minds, 24/7, goddammit---they eat, sleep, and BREATHE killing people. Grrrrrr! KiLL, KiLL, KiLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, now, again: Do you, "Andrew" have any evidence that "God" exists, and that this "God" is none other than "Yahweh", the tribal war-god of the Holy Bible?

Yeah, exactly.....'thought not.

Andrew said...

Boomslang...you don't know squat.

Given you beliefs, all you are aware of is a biochemical reaction in a meat brain.

Andrew said...

Boomslang...you don't know squat.

Given you beliefs, all you are aware of is a biochemical reaction in a meat brain.

Andrew said...

WebMan, I am not operating on your assumptions...that the universe, life, mind, and reason itself are the product of mindless forces.

Thats your gig, and you can't demonstrate ANY of it.

YOU are the one who is pretending that the biochemical reactions in your meat brain are superior to mine.

Do you like Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi?

And for that matter, don't you find it odd that those biochemical reactions are able to abstract high order mathematical concepts that happen to be able to describe the mechanical operations of the observable universe?

Of course you do, but you will have to side step it.

Andrew said...

In the meantime, keep spreading the hate film, you abysmal hypocrites.

"Humanists" my ass.

.:webmaster:. said...

Andrew,

Your rants epitomize every cliché of Christian logic.

Congrats!

Andrew accused, "YOU are the one who is pretending that the biochemical reactions in your meat brain are superior to mine."

I am proffering no such thing. I freely admit that I was once a die-hard, dogmatic, fundamentalist Christian. I one day changed my mind about my previous assumptions. Now I assume that unless verifiable evidence can be presented to me supporting the existence of supernatural forces, natural forces seem the most likely explanation for tornadoes, disease, earthquakes, lightning, thunder, life, death, etc. Perhaps demons really are the cause of insanity, palsy, and cancer, and perhaps weather patterns are indeed the judgments of Bible God, but with all the evidence to the contrary discovered over the past few centuries, attributing such mindless forces to a god just seems silly.

And you still haven't answered my question about how you came to decision that your deity is real? You did use your mind to come to that conclusion, right? Well, since you denigrate the human mind so much, how in the world can you be sure you’ve chosen the correct deity?

Andrew wrote, "And for that matter, don't you find it odd that those biochemical reactions are able to abstract high order mathematical concepts that happen to be able to describe the mechanical operations of the observable universe?"

I think the entire universe is quite odd, frankly. I find it bizarre in every aspect. And that proves what? My opinion about the universe proves nothing, but discoveries about how the universe works has greatly improved the human condition. Religions gave us the Dark Ages and today religion is giving us terrorism. I'll take my chances with scientific advancement over religious fanaticism.

I'll tell you what, Andrew. When religionists of every stripe stop killing people in the name of their particular deity and also stop threatening eternal damnation and horrific torment against all who don't believe in their chosen mythology, then this website and others like it will go away. I don't care what people privately believe, but I'm not interested in religious totalitarianism of any kind. And, I think it’s fairly clear from current history and your posts that dogmatic religion frequently breeds hatred.

So, just keep right on spewing your vicious hatred, Andrew. You are doing more damage to your cause then I could ever hope to accomplish.

I sincerely suggest you take a psychology course and learn what "Projection" means. If you do, you'll find your approach to this topic clearly delineated.

Jim Arvo said...

Andrew: "And as to my second point Jim, that claim is raised by Dawkins, Dennet, Harris and Hitchens routinely..."

I have no idea what your "second point" was, but whatever it is I'll challenge you to back it up (once you make clear what you are asserting). I'd wager you are projecting some absurd position onto them, or pulling quotes out of context, or both (judging by the numerous hasty generalizations and other fallacies you've displayed thus far).

Andrew: "...all of whom are regularly praised around here."

The implication, of course, is that we blithely accept everything they have to say, which is patently false. Each of them makes some excellent points, which most of us agree with. However, I/we weigh each argument on its own merits, not on "authority" (as I'm guessing you imagine to be the case).

Andrew: "As to providing proof, you have not even shown me any basis for accepting the biochemical rumblings of your own meat brain over those of anyone else."

Let me make this as clear as I can. You apparently wish for US to accept YOUR fantastic assertions. Do you have any credible objective evidence to support those assertions? Let's start with a "yes" or a "no" to that simple question. If the answer is "no", then swing away at me all you like--there is no reason to listen to thing you have to say. If the answer is "yes", then let's hear it. That seems fairly straightforward to me.

(Scanning Andrew's most recent replies, it seems to me that he will continue to dodge this question. Oh, and BoomSLANG, you are spot on.)

Andrew said...

You changed your mind? What "mind".

You mean you switched from Diet Coke to Diet Pepsi.

In answer to your questions:

1. Mathematics started it.

2. Yes

However, I don't denigrate the human mind; I am merely pointing out that YOU DO if you are consistent.

Which you are not.

Which is why you are even able to walk out the door in the morning.

And your constant bigotted statements, "religionists" being the latest of them shows who is spewing the hate.

Want to do something useful?

Denounce the actions of the officially atheitic government of China for trying to impose atheism on the Tibetans (Amnesty International).

And their current brutal crackdown.

Do that, UNRESERVEDLY, and I will concede you have a small start of credibility.

Go ahead.

I'm waiting. The world is waiting.

Jim Arvo said...

WM asked "Why do you hate your brain, Andrew?"

Tisk, tisk, Dave... caught you in an existential fallacy! :-)

.:webmaster:. said...

I denounce every totalitarian state, including China.

I challenge you to find one person here who supports that regime.

Now if you want to find support for China, you need look no further than W.

.:webmaster:. said...

@ Jim: Oy! :')

stronger now said...

"Tisk, tisk, Dave... caught you in an existential fallacy!"


Jim, I spilled my popcorn when I read that. LOL!!!

boomSLANG said...

"Andrew" pulls out the "big guns", and says...Boomslang...you don't know squat.

Given you beliefs, all you are aware of is a biochemical reaction in a meat brain.

Boomslang...you don't know squat.

Given you beliefs, all you are aware of is a biochemical reaction in a meat brain.


I presume quantity = quality, right? Only in the mindset of the superstitious....

Goldrew,

Your implication; your "argument", that while you and I both have a "meat brain"(mind), and because I don't believe that my mind was "Designed" by an invisible spook in the clouds, that that somehow makes my "mind" useless and of no purpose..i.e a piece of "meat", is a pathetically weak and unconvincing argument. You and I both have a "meat-penis", too(provide you're male), however, that says nothing of whether the Universe had a "Creator", nor if said being actually gives a flying f%ck if I have foreskin on my weenie, or not. YOUR claim; your burden.

In other words, dip-wad....projecting your own distorted beliefs about other people's beliefs on to those very people, and then holding them to those absurd, distorted projections, is fallacious reasoning.

Telesmith said...

I'm still dying to know.

Are you gonna answer or just weave a web of irrelevancies while accusing me of spin.

Furthermore, I find it finger licking ironic that an individual who assents to the ethicality of eternal torment for those who don’t agree with them would be calling us hateful. I wouldn’t wish such evil on anyone. ANYONE. We’re hateful? Ok. Sure.

You might as well go away. I think you've lost all moral credibility here.

Andrew said...

WebMan, I am not asking you to denounce that actions of some totalitarian state, thats easy.

I am saying that you need to denounce the actions of the officially atheistic government of China in imposing atheism on the Tibetans so as to establish...atheism! (Amnesty International)

You can't do it can you?

You abysmal, nauseating, weakling...

Andrew said...

Oh, and boomslop, since you brought up penises I will extend my comparison...stomacks digest, livers secrete, penises ejactuate, and brains think.

Big deal.

My cat does all those things too when he can get out of the house and nail the female cat next door!

Andrew said...

I might add, I don't agree with those statements, but if you were CONSISTENT in your atheism...you would.

Telesmith said...

“No one has to go to hell, teleboy…”

Right you are. All I have to do is believe your brand of crazy. Catch is, however, that I would be destining myself for the hell of other’s brands of crazy. With so many hells I suppose we’re both statistically bound to end up in one of them. Oh, wait, that’s right, your particular version is real and everyone else’s is superstitious fiction. I guess I’ll just take your word on it. I would take God’s but he won’t say anything back.

“What the officially atheist government of China is doing is real, happening as we speak.”

Uh huh, and it’s wrong. Again, what’s your point? All you have proven is that the litany of bad ideas doesn’t stop with religion. Totalitarian atheism is maladaptive to society as well. Here’s the difference. Pay close attention because I’m only typing it once. There is nothing intrinsic to atheism that necessarily leads to evangelism or even forced conversion. And, there is nothing intrinsic to atheism that demands the punishment of believers. However, these things are present in all the monotheistic religions. I won’t bother quoting the verses for you. I’m sure you know them. And, if you have ever witnessed to a friend or stranger, supported missions or believed in hell you concede my point with your actions.

“Atheists denounce something like hell, that they think is imaginary, but support all type of dehumanizing actions like abortion and euthanasia.”

I Didn’t know this was a tit for tat. Didn’t know I supported abortion and euthanasia either but thanks for informing me. Rather assumptive of you.

“Moral credibility?”

Yup, ya got none.

Keep weaving…

“Do you like Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi better?”

RC Cola actually.

(Vroom) The sound of common sense and intellectual honesty flying right over Andrews head.

And please, the handle is Telesmith. Your mocking me isn’t speeding up my conversion. Don’t they teach friendship evangelism at your church? If you intend to show Christ’s love to me I suspect a little more gentility is in order.

Jim Arvo said...

Andrew, you're either a troll or a complete idiot. You repeat your fallacious rants ad nauseam and dodge the most basic questions. Clearly your intent is to raise ire in lieu of a single thoughtful point. Whether your persona is real or a ploy, it's thoroughly vile. If it's a ploy, scram. If it's real, get some counseling (and scram).

redtail said...

If I have to see the phrase "meat brain" again, I'm gonna hurl. Jeez Andrew, you're not only annoying, but BORING. Try a new phrase on-you remind me of my teenager.

.:webmaster:. said...

Ah Andrew,

The love of Christ compels you, doesn't it?

The more you post, the more appealing you make your religion. I'm sure your savior mightily approves of you.

.:webmaster:. said...

Andrew has (as usual) severely violated the TOS. His posts will no longer be tolerated.

Jim Arvo said...

What I find hilarious about religionists like Andrew is that they cannot offer one iota of evidence to support their fantastic assertions, then they get all whiney when others don't fall in line behind them.

You're either a troll or an idiot, Andrew--possibly both.

Jim Arvo said...

What I find hilarious about religionists like Andrew is that they cannot offer one iota of evidence to support their fantastic assertions, then they get all whiney when others don't fall in line behind them.

You're either a troll or an idiot, Andrew--possibly both.