Frankly, it's one nasty little propaganda film. And unfortunately, one could make the same type of film about Christianity (see the book The End of Faith to see what I mean; more in this earlier post). In fact, it would be interesting to run Fitna and jihadi propaganda films simultaneously on a split screen. Here's an AP story about how al Qaeda's media arm, al Sahab, is looking for a few good online-savvy media geeks.
The most offensive thing to me is how Dutch politician Geert Wilders' film unrelentingly paints a picture of all Muslims as vicious extremists out to slaughter all non-believers and take over the world.
There is no perspective like this post-9/11 comment from a Muslim colleague, who told me about the al Qaeda types: “These are our Nazis.”
The reaction in Europe is that the film isn't as bad as people were fearing, according to this BBC story.
Kurt Westergaard, the Danish Jyllands-Posten cartoonist who drew a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban — and has allegedly been the object of a death plot for his troubles — is suing Wilder for using the cartoon in the film without permission.
Mr Westergaard told Danish TV that his cartoon was a protest against terrorism, not Islam as a whole.
According to a March 10 BBC story, Westergaard urged that the film be shown.
“In Denmark, we have criticism of everything: the Queen, politicians, religion … provoking debate is the job of the newspaper and so also of the cartoonist. Muslims have to accept that.
“A Danish politician knows that you should not limit freedom of expression,” he said.
The film was posted on LiveLeak.com for a reason. From the W-P:
Dutch television stations had refused to air the film, and Wilders was unable to find a venue to screen it in the Netherlands because of the prohibitively costly expense of security. The U.S. Internet provider that Wilders used to advertise the film suspended its Web site last week. …
The U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution Thursday deploring the use of the media to “incite acts of violence, xenophobia or related intolerance and discrimination towards Islam” or other religions.
But early Thursday evening, LiveLeak.com, a site based in the United Kingdom that specializes in running raw videos from the battlefields of Afghanistan, as well as crime footage from around the world, posted “Fitna.”
“There was no legal reason to refuse Geert Wilders the right to post his film (Fitna) on LiveLeak.com and it is not our place to censor people based on an emotive response,” the Web site said in a statement posted next to the video. “To many of us involved in LiveLeak.com some of the messages therein are personally offensive. . . . Our being offended is no reason to deny Mr. Wilders the right to have his film seen.”
Within minutes of its release on the Internet, Dutch television aired clips from “Fitna,” and the film dominated the nightly news.