Web site of Dutch anti-Islam film is suspended

Date: 24 Mar 2008


Web site of Dutch anti-Islam film is suspended
The Associated Press
Sunday, March 23, 2008
AMSTERDAM: The Web site on which the Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders was promoting his film, which is said to be critical of the Koran, has been suspended by its U.S. hosting service.
The site formerly showed the film's title, "Fitna" ("Coming Soon"), and an image of a gilded Koran. Now it shows a note that the U.S. company, Network Solutions, is investigating whether the site violates its terms of service.
"Network Solutions has received a number of complaints regarding this site that are under investigation," the note said.
The company could not immediately be reached for comment. Its terms of service contain a sweeping prohibition against "objectionable material of any kind or nature."
While the exact contents of the 15-minute movie, due to be released by March 31, are unknown, Wilders has said it will underscore his view that Islam's holy book is "fascist."
Dutch officials fear the movie could spark violent protests in Muslim countries, similar to those two years ago after the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper.
Wilders has said he will release his movie on the Internet after television stations refused to air it.
Wilders heads a reactionary party with 9 seats in the 150-member Dutch Parliament, which was elected on an anti-immigration platform. He lives under police protection because of death threats. Wilders could not immediately be reached for comment on Sunday.
"How many ways are there left for me to be worked against?" the Dutch news agency ANP quoted him as saying Saturday. "If necessary, I'll go hand out DVDs personally on the Dam," he said, referring to Amsterdam's central square.
Demonstrators from many different ethnic groups crowded the square Saturday, braving wind and sleet to show their opposition to Wilders.
The protest, called "Netherlands Shows Its Colors," was primarily a reaction in advance to the film.
One protester carried a sign saying "Standing Together Against the Right-Wing Populist Witch-Hunt."
"I'm very much against Geert Wilders and racism in general," said one protester, Elisa Trepp. "I think it's really important to show not only Holland but the rest of the world that there's a lot of people who do not agree with his ideas."
Hassan Iaeti, who traveled for hours from the far south of the country to attend the demonstration, said: "The government could really do something. That's in the interest of the country - stop him, just stop him."
He said he believed Wilders was abusing the right to freedom of speech, which he said had limits.
To the frustration of some who attended the demonstration, no prominent politicians were among the 2,000 to 3,000 people who the police estimated turned up.
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has said that although he rejects Wilders's views, he supports his right to freedom of speech. But he has also warned Wilders that the film could put Dutch interests at risk.
Protesters in Afghanistan burned effigies of Wilders on Friday and demanded that Dutch troops withdraw from the NATO mission there.
A Dutch court will hear a complaint lodged by Muslim groups seeking to bar Wilders from releasing the film March 28, but there is no legal barrier preventing him from releasing his film before then.
It was not clear whether YouTube or other video-sharing sites would be willing to carry the movie.
Last month, YouTube was inaccessible globally for several hours after the government of Pakistan blocked it, citing what it said were offensive clips in which Wilders made denigrating remarks about Islam.