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No prosecution of Dutch politician for anti-Islam film

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  • Linda from Ontario Canada
    http://www.cbc.ca/arts/film/story/2008/06/30/fitna-no-prosecution.html No prosecution of Dutch politician for anti-Islam film *Last Updated: Monday, June 30,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2008
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      No prosecution of Dutch politician for anti-Islam film

      Last Updated: Monday, June 30, 2008 | 12:09 PM ET Comments48Recommend13

      CBC News

      Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders will not be prosecuted for making anti-Islam remarks, nor for his short film Fitna, public prosecutors announced on Monday.

      "The fact that [Wilders'] statements are hurtful and offensive to a large number of Muslims does not necessarily mean that such statements are punishable," the Dutch Public Prosecution Service said in a statement.

      According to prosecution spokeswoman Hanneke Festen, Dutch law forbids inciting hatred against a group based on race or religion. However, it also allows for freedom of speech.

      "We came to the conclusion that [Wilders' statements] may be hurtful and painful for Muslims but they were made in the context of a debate in society," Festen said.

      "That doesn't mean you can say anything, but you have to really cross a line and be unnecessarily hurtful and insulting and not add anything" to the national debate in order for prosecutors to act.

      Public prosecutors said individuals filed more than 40 complaints against Wilders over the film and comments he made to the De Volkskrant and De Pers newspapers, as well as on the internet calling the Qur'an, the Islamic holybook "fascist."

      Saying he was not surprised by the decision because he had stayed within the boundaries of Dutch law, Wilders added that he has received comments about the film from around the world.

      "Most were very negative, but some were very positive," he said.

      The 15-minute-long Fitna juxtaposes verses of the Qur'an with footage of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the U.S. and violent video imagery, including bloodied corpses and the beheading of a Caucasian man.

      At least four Dutch broadcasters refused to air Wilders' film, so the legislator released Fitna on the internet in late March. Muslims around the world protested the film, including in Indonesia, where internet providers temporarily blocked YouTube and other file-sharing websites showing Fitna after receiving complaints from web users.

      Wilders has called for the Netherlands to halt immigration from Muslim countries and also to stop the building of new mosques around the country.

      With files from the Associated Press
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