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2008-04-02

Algerians join international outrage over "Fitna" film

Achira Mammeri in Algiers contributed to this report – 02/04/08

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Algerians have added their voices to a global outcry over "Fitna", a controversial film by extreme-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders which mixes violent images of terrorist attacks and executions in Muslim countries with Suras from the Qur'an. Released on the internet on Thursday (March 27th), the film was soon removed from several websites in response to threats.

The documentary-style production has provoked international outrage. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the film "offensively anti-Islamic".

Algerians expressed their shock and anger over the film's message. Anis Anouar, a statistician, told Magharebia that Fitna "gives a falsified, rigged [and] manipulated image of the Muslim faith".

The short film risks "deepening the rift between Muslims and the West just at the time when we most need to come together and listen to one another," maintained university student Amine Souari. "The risks are huge," he said.

Other observers agree that rather than uniting the international community against terrorism, the film actually widens the cultural divide between Muslims and the West.

"The Dutch MP has fallen right into the trap laid by Islamist extremists, who are going to use this video to convince sceptical young people that the West harbours great hatred for Muslims", said Souhila Iftisen. "Neither the West nor Muslims needed this serious distortion of the facts," she added.

The young Algiers resident emphasised, however, that the Muslim community must respond with prudence. "We’re not going to serve Islam by burning embassies or attacking the West. [Fitna] shows a serious misunderstanding of Islam. Our role as Muslims is to show this religion’s true face through dialogue," Souhila said.

The Algerian press has also entered the debate: "The film gives a picture of Islam which is diametrically opposed to what it really is, "L’Expression editorialised on March 29th. Le Quotidien wrote, "Many Muslims will not know to exercise restraint in the face of what they regard as an unacceptable affront. The ideal would be to ignore Geert Wilders."

During a forum on Algerian television Saturday, Minister for Religious Affairs and Waqfs Bouabdellah Ghlamallah addressed the Fitna controversy, calling the film "a recurrent expression of the fascism which is abhorred by all cultures".

Following the film's release, Muslim leaders in the Netherlands held a press conference to urge Muslims abroad to stay calm. Mohamed Rabbae, the head of the Dutch Moroccan community, said, "We feel offended by the link between violence and Islam [but] we call on [Muslims] to follow our strategy and not react with attacks."

On Tuesday, the Fitna producer came under fire from his fellow Dutch parliamentarians. "A majority of MPs say that Mr Wilders generalises in a negative manner about Muslims," Radio Netherlands reported, adding, "MPs called him a 'troublemaker', 'political arsonist' and a proponent of discrimination."

"The vast majority of Muslims reject extremism and violence. In fact, the victims are often also Muslims," said Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. Dutch citizens have also shown support for the country's Muslim community on a busy new website called "Sorry for the Film".

In a joint statement over the weekend, the 27 Foreign Ministers of the European Union said, "The vast majority of Muslims reject extremism and violence".

"Feeling offended is no excuse for aggression or threats," the EU ministers noted.

Meanwhile, Algerian imams have been instructed to address the issue on April 4th by denouncing the film's attack on the Prophet during Friday prayers.

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    Souhila Aouali 2009-3-16

    …this man is seeking for hate, war and violence…the world now doesn’t need this…why he is so hateful toward Islam and Muslims?…all religions should be respected and this is what Muslims do, they do respect all religions and especially honor the people of the book.I think that freedom of speech is real and legitimate, but not for such things, because no one obliged him to believe in GOD or be a Muslim, Christian or Jewish or Buddhist….he has all rights to practice any religion he wants or to not practice at all….so he should stop this kind of cultural violence and try to represent better his culture and people from Netherlands!!! it is a big shame because it is an open attack….and would like also to precise, that these people who are called terrorists, and who kill on the name of Islam, they do not have nothing to do with Islam, they are totally contradictory to its teachings and to the teachings of our Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Muslim countries have been suffering from these people for long time, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt…and more….and they are all Muslim countries…just go back in the 15 years ago and you’ll see….so please Wilders…rather than nourishing people with hate, violence, lies, stereotyping, rancor, try rather than this to build tolerance, respect, peace and love….the world really doesn’t need your movie, or your speeches, if you feel important because you had some interviews with some arranged newspapers or channels….the world is about almost 7 billions……if you call for peace and tolerance you’ll be KNOWN….my advice to you: ” …devote your life and your money to something peaceful and more economical in terms of HUMAN LIFES…” PS: Maybe you'd like to visit the website of the movie to know more about! He has been prevented to enter GB

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    slim16 2008-4-12

    I think it would be a good idea to combat these types of individual using their own weapons against them, putting this problem in the media, on the national channels of Muslim countries, by organising debates that would have professional Westerners as their guests and allow them to talk freely in order to show that the imbeciles and idiots who made this tabloid film are beyond worthless. -From Algiers, bye

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    stuart 2008-4-8

    Wilders is an idiot who is trying to win support for himself by playing to the racist attitudes of many Dutch people. Repeating one or two verses from the Qur'an taken out of context says no more about Islam than similarly violent phrases from the Bible say about Christianity and I'm sure he knows this fine well. It's best to ignore him as he doesn't deserve any more publicity for his pathetic agenda.

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    Noures 2008-4-8

    It is really upsetting to note that the slightest breeze makes you change your course. Let us get to the bottom of things—sorry, “OF THINGS”: Al Qaeda and Iraq, these machinations about which you are speaking, could be destroyed with a match. But, the earth has been taken over by these evils. While you say that this is nothing but a strategy, a manoeuvre to distract us from what is going on in our holy places and what our brothers are suffering through, these are the places of our ancestors, who are now turning over in their graves and who need you to act! Re-read these dates and events carefully. Thank you

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    force 2008-4-7

    The best response is just to ignore this film. We are Muslims. We know our religion well. A pig like this does not deserve our attention. They say the freedom needs to be respected, yet they are the first to not do so. Our faith is more than a freedom for us, and they do not respect this. This is not our problem; it is theirs. The best response would be if all Muslims were to boycott the products and services of these pigs throughout the entire world; not to go out in the streets and shouting “Ahhh! They are speaking badly about us and our Quran!” No one is going to hear you, except yourselves. Statistics show that a large number of people are converting to Islam every day. This is making them scared. We are stronger and we love our Islam. It is our life.

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    طالبتان من قالمة 2008-4-6

    Wake up descendants of Salaheddine El Ayoubi and Khalid Ibn Lwalid. Where is your jealousy, where is your dignity? Where are you Muslims?

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    saidani miloudi 2008-4-4

    I would like to remind the Maghrib countries to strife for unity. Isn't it a big Fitna for Morocco and Algeria to close borders in the face of their Moslim population? Not to mention the so called Sahara senario turned both by Polisario and Bouteflika just to run the shameful dialogue scenes animated by the UN assistance.Islam is for unity,dialogue,tolerence and peace and submission.

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    Ari 2008-4-4

    The movie didn't give new crtic about Quran. The problem in this movie man can attention that Geert as a rasist afraid of increasing of forgien people in Holland nad Europe, the movie is a way How can make a hate those people who call them muslim (even thousands of them don't bleive or dont follow islam).

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    fatima bouakline 2008-4-4

    I liked this topic very much because it is a very great comment. Thaaaank yoooouuu for presenting this topic to us.

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    Said 2008-4-4

    Dear humans, Do not be fooled by the fuss. This is just a new, distasteful burlesque on the part of a rowdy character in his quest for popularity. The timing was excellent. On the other hand, if all the extremists were to just let themselves spill out about their vibrant hatred and all the ingredients thereof, then I think this poison we know as “contempt” would become harmless. The problem is that this type of tabloid, be it visual or otherwise, targets poorly educated populations who are living in poverty. Their own leaders manipulate them in order to make them forget their misfortune. It is regrettable that a civilisation such as the West, which has brought us so much, is stigmatised in this way because of a few madmen. Nevertheless, the blame falls back upon the Muslims themselves, because they did not know how to preserve their birthright, declaring themselves to be the world’s victims. (I am not speaking about their material wealth, but their philosophical and spiritual wealth.) In reality, they are victims of themselves. The proof is in the destruction and havoc that followed the publication of these burlesques. Like children, individuals questing for popularity trapped them. The real question is whether these reactions serve the Muslim community or do a disservice to it.

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    نور الدين 2008-4-4

    I saw the film and think that the media clamour inflated it more than its real volume… The film is bad as regards its technical components and dubious arguments. Wilders targeted the wide outspread of Islam in Europe and in the Netherlands in particular.

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    wamar athali 2008-4-4

    The film in question does not even deserve mention, much less devoting our holy Friday to it. Contemptuous silence alone should be our response. Mentioning it or its author is just giving them free publicity and pulling them out of an anonymity from which they should never have escaped. Contempt and more contempt is all the this ignoramus deserves!!!

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    anhar 2008-4-3

    show the fitna film

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    نزهة من المغرب 2008-4-3

    The best reply to this stupid product is ignoring it. God suffices us and He is the best protector.

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    Fathi 2008-4-3

    I have a couple of minor corrections to make to this article. Souhila Iftisen said: “The Dutch representative has fallen right into the trap laid by Islamist extremists…” This does not seem to me to be quite up to date on the admitted goal of the Dutch parliamentarian. It should be known that this politician was addressing a very specific section of the public — a section for whom prejudice and a lack of education has obfuscated. It needs to be said without embellishment that in developed countries there still exist people who are intellectually underdeveloped and who do not verify the content of their populist leaders’ discourse. This is also the case of the Netherlands, where Wilders has cultivated, amongst all things, his physical image with peroxide-bleached hair. This is the country’s call-out to the Nordic racists, who, like Hitler, believe in the supremacy of the blond Aryan race. Hitler sent his henchmen to Easter Europe in order to take away the blond girls and later marry them to his SS soldiers in order to produce a blond-haired, blue-eyed race. Wilders, not having the courage to have blue eyes grafted onto his own, limited himself to the shabby ruse of peroxide. His film reflects his ignorance of Islam. When speaking about Mohammed B., the assassin of Theo Van Gogh, he displayed a photograph of the Moroccan rap singer Salaheddine. The piece de resistance of the film consists of a suicide attack on New York accompanied by a recitation from the Quran calling on the faithful to mount their horses and face their enemies. These verses — obviously — are to be found in a very specific historical context. Their use in another context makes the scene comical, something which spectators still fanatical about the dramatic images of airplanes crashing into skyscrapers have not yet realised. Slander us! Slander us! There will always be something new.

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    Dr. Bee 2008-4-3

    I think the dutch PM is testing dangerous waters. Unlike other religions, Islam is not a religion to be humiliated or made fun off. It is not a question of personal believe or the sort, it is a matter of faith and dignity that will cause good muslims to react appropriately. Let this be a great lessons to all muslims of the world. If you people do not stop bickering one another, others will make fun of you. So muslims of the world come, get united and strengthen our fate in the name of ALLAH God of the worlds.

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    Thomas 2008-4-2

    This video is disgraceful; it insults a religion whom is great and deserves respect. This video does not show the real Islam. Thank you, Thomas Feaster

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    احمد 2008-4-2

    Where are you, Arabs.

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    abbes 2008-4-2

    Why don’t you leave Algeria be my brothers. Fear God in your religion.

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    Toufik 2008-4-2

    Why bother with this stupid idiotic racist? I was hoping Muslims around the world ignore totally those ridiculous 15 minutes which by the way did not disturb me. The guy is free to say anything he wants and voice whatever opinion. Talking about him and condemning him serve no purpose. Ignoring him would serve better Muslims. Muslims should do otherwise to portray themselves as peaceful and tolerant than to demonstrate and condemn others.

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    Kafir 2008-4-2

    End using sword to keep people in Islam by force Mr Wilders has presented verses from Koran (some) that incit hatered and violence, where is the problem?

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    crackers 2008-4-2

    Muslims who feel offended by this film should complain. But, making threats is just justifying the film.

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