It’s no surprise that no spine would be found in such quarters. It is a bit of a surprise that the usually reliable Washington Times would headline this article “Dutch TV stations refuse anti-Muslim film.” If the film — which I have not seen — vilifies Muslims, then such a headline would be justified. But if it does what Wilders says it’s going to do — illustrate quotations of the Qur’an with scenes of Muslims acting upon them by committing violence, then how is that “anti-Muslim”? If Muslims commit violence and justify it by reference to the Qur’an, as they do on a more or less daily basis, why is it “anti-Muslim” to call attention to this?
This is, of course, the same kind of witlessness that in Britain has led Jacqui Smith to label Islamic terrorism “anti-Islamic activity.” The assumption — unproven though taken for granted everywhere — is that those who commit violence in the name of the Qur’an must be misusing it. Hence they themselves are “anti-Muslim,” as are those who report on their misuse.
But in fact, reality is not pro- or anti- anything. It just is what it is.
By Leander Schaerlaeckens in the Washington Times:
BRUSSELS “” Private and public television stations have refused to air the anti-Muslim film “Fitna” by Dutch politician Geert Wilders, fearing a violent backlash that prompted the government to raise its terror threat level yesterday.
“I had hoped that a television broadcaster would say: ‘You have the right to do this, we will give you a podium’,” he told Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad.
A local newspaper reported Monday that the Dutch government is considering banning the film on the grounds of national security.
The government is reluctant to set a precedent against freedom of expression, but is worried about a violent backlash and economic repercussions.
The film has provoked official condemnations from Iran, Bangladesh and Pakistan and sparked several demonstrations in Afghanistan.
The Taliban announced on its Web site that it will not tolerate the “Crusader war” waged through “Fitna” and the reprinted Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.
The cartoons, first printed in September 2005, sparked global riots in which more than 100 people died.
In Afghanistan, protesters demanded that Danish and Dutch NATO troops withdraw from their country, Reuters news agency reported.
Mr. Wilders is defiant against pleas from Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, who asked him to reconsider releasing his film. He responded that Mr. Balkenende was a “weak leader” and spineless for refusing to stand for freedom of expression.
Indeed he is, and he and Sarkozy and the lot of them should have the decency to resign. But of course there is no one on the horizon in Europe, except Wilders himself, who would chart a course that would be any different.