A Dutch politician has posted a graphic film on the internet warning the West about the teachings of Islam, as a Muslim group prepares to challenge the movie as a potential violation of hate speech laws.
Right-wing legislator Geert Wilders released the film Fitna — the Qur'anic term for "strife" — Thursday, despite warnings from the Dutch government that it could spark violent protests in Islamic countries similar to those held over cartoon caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Credits at the end of the film list Wilders as co-scriptwriter.
The film quotes verses of the Qur'an alongside footage of terrorist attacks in the United States and Spain, at times showing graphic footage of bloody, mutilated bodies set to music, and even a beheading of a Caucasian man by men garbed in black.
"The government insists that you respect Islam, but Islam has no respect for you. Islam wants to rule, submit, and seeks to destroy our Western civilization," says text appearing near the film's end that eventually calls on Europeans to defeat the ideology of Islam.
The film ends with a caricature of Muhammad, his head drawn in the shape of a bomb that explodes into a crack of thunder and lightning.
A Dutch judge is scheduled Friday to review a petition from a Muslim group seeking an independent review of whether the film violates the country's hate speech laws.
An American internet company on the weekend suspended the film's website, as the company assesses whether the film contravenes its "acceptable use policy" following a number of complaints. But the film is still available for viewing on the internet.
For his part, Wilders — a well-known anti-Islamist who has called for a stop to immigration from Muslim countries and a halt to the building of new mosques in his country — has said he's not against Muslims but against their faith.
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has said he rejects Wilders's views, but supports his freedom of speech.
Dutch officials fear the movie could spark violent protests in Muslim countries, and have emergency evacuation plans in place for their citizens in those countries.
In 2004 controversial Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death outside a government building following the TV broadcast of his film, which portrayed violent treatment of women in Muslim society.