New “Fitna” – Netherlands Government on Damage Control Mission

Muslim Matters

New “Fitna” – Netherlands Government on Damage Control Mission

By Masood Rab

There is a systematic and planned approach by the right wing organizations in Europe, America, and elsewhere to create fear and hatred among populations using race, religion or ethnicity as seeds of discord against Muslims. The ultimate goals of the right wing, neo-fascist or Zionist organizations are to ensure their control of resources and gain political clout for their agendas. They see the increasing number of Muslims among them as a threat to their power base. To keep the Muslim minorities spreading their influences in local communities, the religious and ethnic strives are fanned by hate and fear campaigns by the right wing politicians.

In the past few years the far-right politicians and their media outlets have used “freedom of expression” tool to attack Islam and its pillars – Prophet Muhammad (s) and Quran. In the Netherlands, it was Ayaan Harsi Ali, a Somali born Dutch citizen, and Theo Van Gogh making a film “Submission” against Muslim culture and insulting Quran. In Denmark, it was newspaper cartoons insulting the Prophet (s). And now it is “Fitna,” a film made by Geert Wilders in Netherlands.

Geert Wilders is a far-right parliament member of Netherlands and has very close ties with Israel. He claims to have tight connections with the Mossad (Israeli Secret Service). He once stated, “The past years I have visited many interesting countries, from Tunisia to Turkey and from Cyprus to Iran, but nowhere I have that special feeling of solidarity that I always get if I set foot on the Israeli Ben Gurion Airport.” In his incendiary 15-minute anti-Islam film “Fitna”, he decimates the holiness and sanctity of the cornerstone of Islam – Quran. While claiming for his rights of freedom of expression (through a derogatory and insulting film), he demands banning Quran in Netherlands and advocates deporting Islamic scholars from the country. He claims, “I don’t hate Muslims – I hate Islam.”

The Netherlands government, knowing well what happened to Denmark in the aftermath of publishing of Danish cartoons and realizing the upheaval that would erupt after the film Fitna’s screening, sought to proactively control the damages. It sent its diplomats and emissaries to Muslim nations and Islamic organizations on damage control mission to clarify the official government position – “The vision of Mr. Wilders does not reflect the view of the Netherlands government.” The Detroit area Muslim community was also included in the Dutch plan for damage control. A representative of Netherlands government, Jack R. Twiss, Political Counselor, Head of Political Section, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in Washington, DC visited Detroit to meet the Muslim leadership from Southeast Michigan. The meeting was hosted by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan (CIOM) and took place at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. The Muslim community leadership included many Shiah and Sunny Imams from the local Masajid.

Jack Twiss stated that the Muslim population in Netherlands is almost one million in a total of sixteen million and is the third biggest religious group. Dutch people have an open society for ideas and beliefs with freedom of expression and religion as part of their constitution. “Our people restrain themselves and remind every individual that they don’t have a blank check for insult or slander,” he said. “The senior government officials tried to stop him (Wilders) by reminding him of his rights and obligations as a member of the parliament and the consequences of screening the film. He did not agree.” Jack Twiss indicated that the penal code in his country for blasphemy could be applied only after the film is screened. The Netherlands government is very much worried about safety of its citizens in Muslim countries and other fallouts from this incident. He did not mention the impact on his country, if Muslims worldwide call for an economic boycott of Netherlands. Netherlands major involvement in Muslim countries is providing construction machinery and building services. Some agricultural products like cheese is also a big export item to the Middle East.

Now that the film is screened, there is no word yet from Netherlands government if the film will be banned as it violates the Dutch constitution as an instrument of hate and source of violence and that Wilders will be tried in court for blasphemy against the sacred pillars of Islam – Quran and the Prophet.

That leaves Muslims with the following plan of action, after praying to Allah Subhanahu we Ta’ala that Muslim reaction in Muslim lands is organized protests against the film without resorting to violence with loss of life and property.

1. Demand that the Netherlands government reprimands Geert Wilders, bans the film and brings him to the court of justice – as the government’s emissaries were telling the Muslims that it is serious about application of its own constitution and protecting its own minorities.

2. Initiate and organize a grass root level boycott of the Dutch businesses and products at national and international levels. Let us not bring the Muslim governments into this line of action, because of their pre-occupation with staying in power or enjoying their resources.

3. Utilize this tragic event in the history of downfallen and aimless Muslims as an opportunity for more da’wah in the West. This is what leading scholars in America are calling for.


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