An American Web hosting company, Network Solutions, has suspended a site promoting a Dutch lawmaker’s short film criticizing the Koran. U.S. Homeland Security officials have warned that the release of the film, Fitna, by the controversial politician Geert Wilders could spark protests and riots. Pakistan last month blocked YouTube after someone posted what the government called a “highly blasphemous” and anti-Islamic video featuring Wilder. (CNN)
What the commentators said
There’s good reason to worry about the reaction to Wilders’ film, said Celestine Bohlen in Bloomberg.com. The “civility” between Christians and Muslims is “being sorely tested” across Europe, and the last Dutch filmmaker to take a critical look at Islam—Theo van Gogh—got himself murdered. That’s why politicians say Wilders’ film is “is a reckless provocation in a society already divided by ethnic tensions.”
“The shutdown might spare Network Solutions from being ensnared in any fallout from the film,” said Mike Nizza in The New York Times’ The Lede blog. But there’s no chance it will defuse “one of the biggest controversies in Europe.” TV stations in the Netherlands have refused to air the film—although they haven’t seen it—based on reports that it juxtaposes images of the Koran with “execution scenes.” But somewhere there’s a Web site that will host this powderkeg, and, if not, Wilder has vowed to distribute it by handing out DVDs if he has to.
The “mere fact” that Wilders is the creator of this 15-minute film is what makes leaders in Holland and “in parts of the Islamic world nervous about it,” said Gregory Crouch in the International Herald Tribune. “Wilders has built a career, and a new political party, on a risky and defiant outlandishness that encompasses everything from his hairstyle to his rhetoric about Islam.”