Man of the hour
The film that has the world holding its breath could appear today. “Dutch film to slam Islam,” by Leander Schaerlaeckens in the Washington Times (thanks to Sparta):
BRUSSELS “” Europe’s uneasy relationship with its Muslim minority faces another blow next month, when Dutch politician Geert Wilders releases a 15-minute film that compares Islam to Nazism and communism.
The film is called “Fitna,” an Arabic term for “discord.” It intersperses verses of the Koran with footage of terrorist attacks and other Islamist-inspired violence.
“The film will show that the Koran isn’t a dead work, but the face of Islam “” a tremendous hazard,” Mr. Wilders told the daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad.
He said the film calls the Koran “the latest test to Western democracies since Nazism and communism.”
Mr. Wilders said the film will be finished tomorrow and will be posted on a Web site, www.fitnathemovie.com, when it airs on television.
Several Pakistani Internet providers tried this week to block YouTube on the orders of the government because it carried a movie trailer for the film. The effort caused a worldwide crash of the popular online site for sharing videos.
The next part of this article, you’ll note, has no perpetrator. Insults to Islam somehow, inexplicably, “turned deadly,” leading to “worldwide riots” that “left more than 100 people dead” — at whose hands? We don’t know. At least we do hear that van Gogh’s killer thought of his victim as an “enemy of Islam”:
In recent years, other perceived insults to Islam in Europe have turned deadly.
Worldwide riots after the 2005 publication of editorial cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad left more than 100 people dead.
In 2004, a terrorist killed Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in broad daylight over another short film titled “Submission,” which told the tale of abused women in the Muslim community.
The assassin called Mr. van Gogh, a descendent of the 19th-century artist, an “enemy of Islam” in a note that threatened the life of then-Dutch lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who wrote the script for the film.
Ms. Hirsi Ali now lives in the United States under tight security….
I’m not sure that’s accurate at this point, but then again, I wouldn’t know.
The Iranian justice minister requested his Dutch counterpart to ban the latest film, calling it “satanical and undermining,” according to Iranian press agency IRNA.
The Dutch government has thus far refused to act, citing the principle of free speech.
Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, director of the Washington-based Center for Islamic Pluralism, said it was “strange” and “ahistorical” to think that a 1,400-year-old text could become a threat to the West.
“My advice to Muslims is to ignore such trivial provocations, maintain their dignity and faith and work to improve their communities,” Mr. Schwartz said. “Mr. Wilders has a right to make whatever films he wants and Muslims have a right to ignore them.”…
I’m glad that Schwartz, as a Muslim spokesman, says that Muslims “have a right to ignore” Wilders’ films, which presumably suggests that Muslims also have a right not to start going mad, smashing things, issuing murderous threats, and attacking people because of Wilders’ current film. But Schwartz’s statement that it’s “‘strange’ and ‘ahistorical’ to think that a 1,400-year-old text could become a threat to the West” is, well, strange and ahistorical. Muslims motivated by Qur’anic texts conquered the Middle East, North Africa, Persia, Spain, and much of India, and threatened Europe for 1,000 years. At any time during that period if anyone had asked any of the jihad warriors what he was fighting for, he would have answered with Qur’anic references.
And after that, when the Islamic world grew weak and jihad against the West became an historical memory, this change was not the result of a new understanding of Qur’anic imperatives to wage war against and subjugate Jews and Christians (cf. 9:29) and war against other unbelievers also (9:5). Rather, it was simply a matter of being too weak to act upon these imperatives, until Saudi money and the communications revolution changed all that. Strange and ahistorical? When jihadists today unanimously frame their actions in terms of the Qur’an? No. It appears that Mr. Schwartz is indulging in that all-too-common feature of today’s public discourse: Fantasy-Based Analysis.
“Geert Wilders spreads hatred. We want to be an open, tolerant and democratic society and he preaches the opposite,” said Michael van der Vlis, a former city councilman of Amsterdam who is one of Mr. Wilders’ fiercest critics.
Mr. van der Vlis began his own Web site, “Don’t spread hatred,” to counter Mr. Wilders.
Within a few weeks of opening the site last year, he received thousands of supportive e-mails but eventually abandoned the effort when faced with a never-ending stream of hate mail.
“Yes, we have a problem with a part of the Muslim community and you can’t ignore that, but you should solve it very differently than the way Wilders tries to,” Mr. van der Vlis told The Washington Times.
“You should attract people, not make them outcasts. [Mr. Wilders] preaches ripping up half the Koran and the fight against Islam. This shows extremely little respect for those with a different religious opinion. He does not contribute to a tolerant Netherlands.”…
The problem is, neither do the jihadists. Wilders, by calling attention to the problematic aspects of the Qur’an, is providing an opportunity for the Muslims who profess to reject jihad violence and Islamic supremacism to explain how they approach such texts, and how they propose to disabuse jihadists of their understanding of them. But instead: rage.