Controversial Fitna film to be screened in Parliament

By staff writers
February 11, 2009

Parliament has ordered extra security for a House of Lords event with the controversial Dutch MP Geert Wilders was to attend.

The private screening of Wilders' film Fitna was initially postponed to allow time for clarification on issues concerning freedom of speech.

It will go ahead despite the ban on the MP entering the country, imposed last night by the Home Office.

There is still likely to be a demonstration and opposition from a British Peer, Lord Ahmed, and Muslim community leaders.

The meeting will go ahead tomorrow (Thursday 12th February) as planned Lord Pearson, the Peer who invited the dutch MP, has said.

Wilders' film Fitna features verses from the Quran alongside images of the terrorist attacks in the US on 11 September 2001, Madrid in March 2004 and London in July 2005. The film equates Islam's holy text with violence and ends with a call for Muslims to remove 'hate-preaching' verses from the Quran. It provoked protests in Muslim-majority countries including Indonesia and Pakistan.

The leader of the Dutch Freedom Party, Wilders, has lived under 24-hour police protection since 2004. Following Fitna's release online in March 2008 al-Qaeda issued a fatwa calling for Wilders' death.

Wilders currently faces prosecution in Holland for incitement to hatred and discrimination. The charges are based on his film Fitna and comments in the Dutch press last year in which he argued that as Mein Kampf has been banned in Holland, the Quran should similarly be banned under Dutch incitement laws.

Wilders called the Dutch Court of Appeal's decision to prosecute an attack on freedom of expression. "Participation in the public debate has become a dangerous activity. If you give your opinion, you risk being prosecuted," he said.

The court ruled that prosecution does not conflict with Wilders' right to freedom of speech. "Statements which create hate and grief made by politicians, taken their special responsibility into consideration, are not permitted according to European standards," the court said in a statement.

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