The initiative for this long-winded debate came from the Christian Democrats. They are the largest party in the current coalition government and have delivered the prime minister. It’s was damage control, their Prime Minister was under attack for declaring a crisis even before the film was released.
As expected the debate showed that Dutch political elites oppose the idea that Islam is in it self a totalitarian movement that should be opposed. Dutch elites think that facts as presented in a film like Fitna should always serve a higher purpose. To them, truth is not a lofty goal in itself. Truth is something utilitarian to them. Thus they rejected Fitna’s facts and just blamed Geert Wilders for not contributing to a peaceful resolution.
But even in their opposition to the movie, they reveal their fear of Islam. Leader of the ruling Christian Democrats (CDA) in parliament, van Geel, declared Fitna: “vicious, needlessly offensive, not helping in the fight against terrorism, nor the integration of Muslims [in Dutch society]”. To add not much later by saying to Wilders: “you don’t have any solutions. That’s the problem. You invoke forces that are uncontrollable.”
Uncontrollable forces? That’s an interesting line of argumentation. According to van Geel: making a film that shows the link between terror and Islam, is not factual, but creates it self an uncontrollable force? What kind of force might that be? Let me guess: an Islamic terrorist force?
It becomes even stranger if his Christian Democratic colleague, current Prime Minister Balkenende in the same debate criticizes Fitna by praising the film Obsession. Really!
The other big government coalition partner is the socialist (PvdA). It has delivered two Muslim ministers to the government. The socialists of course also oppose Fitna and blame Geert Wilders for all the troubles. It’s just unacceptable to say Islam breed’s terror. But socialist speaker, Hammer, also said this:
“We ask Muslims to ask them selves why so many people are afraid about Islam, what are the rights of gays and woman under Islam? Too often we see that because of a form of ethnic solidarity, people don’t distance them selves from traditions or behavior that are incompatible with the Dutch constitutional state”
Thus according to the Socialist, the trouble with Islamic immigrants has nothing to do with Islam but with their “ethnic solidarity”. But isn’t that just a euphemism for racism?
The leader of the liberal party, Rutte, also condemned the movie, but his most interesting contribution to the debate was this interesting fact:
“half of all Moroccan boys in the age category between 18 and 25 is already convicted twice”
The Green party (Groen Links) also worried about violent terror:
“It can not be denied, violent extremism is negative factor in the acceptation and integration of [Muslim] immigrants in The Netherlands. It results in polarization, more radicalism and more racism.”
Why didn’t I think of this before: Islam does not breed terrorist, terrorism breeds racism and intolerance with the Dutch. The real problem!
In the same debate is was also quite revealing how low the expectations of Prime Minister Balkenende were about Dutch Muslims. He kind of expected them to become violent and riot when a unbeliever like Geert Wilders criticized their faith. Thus when they didn’t, he felt obliged to start his speech in parliament by praising the Dutch Muslim response. Even declaring how proud he felt. Twice in his speech he praised the Muslim organizations for preventing large public disorder.
The Prime Minister of course again criticized Fitna and claimed he knew some important Islamic moderates himself. He praised the Sultan of Oman as a very wise man for building mosques with conference centers were also Humanist and Christians are invited to debate. And let’s not forget the crown prince of Abu Dhabi who was fighting extremism. In their Koran schools they also teach two year of philosophy. “Why is there no attention for these kind of things?”, he asked.
But the Prime Minister has lately become under attack in parliament for declaring a crisis even before the Fitna was released, at a time that nobody knew anything about it’s content. Remember before the Prime Minister had declared the crisis, Geert Widers had never given anybody any details about the film. Thus why declare a crisis many wondered?
In his defense the Prime Minister cited speculations in newspaper “De Telegraaf” that described that Wilders wanted to shred or burn the Koran in his Fitna film. But he forgot to mention that those speculations came from sources close to his own government.
Before the newspaper had cited these government sources, Wilders had talked to the national anti terrorism coordinator for organizing security during the time he planned to make the film. This meeting was briefed to the rest of the government and stories leaked to the press.
The Prime Minister now claims that Geert Wilders has told in this conversation that he wanted to shred the Koran in the film. Geert Wilders strongly denies this and repeats that he never told anybody about the content of the film. But as proof the Prime Minister has produced for parliament an internal memo (NL) coming from the anti terrorism coordinator. The memo claims that Wilders told that his movie was going to include shredding the Koran. Only problem with the memo is that the movie at that time was still just an idea, nothing was made, but amazingly all things are exactly as described in the memo, except for the shredding of the Koran. The memo also has a falsified date on it: November the 31st.
The government also produced a report about a meeting with Wilders and internal affairs minister Ter Horst and justice minister Hirsch Ballin. In the report they threaten Wilders and remind him of the faith of Theo van Gogh. But the report is incomplete and does not describe what Wilders contributed to the conversation. It only states that Wilders told them about the film but only reports in some detail what the minister say about the movie. Also the justice minister refused to answer any direct questions from other parliamentary members about what Wilders contribution was in the conversation. The government coalition parties think it is not a very good idea to hear the government officials involved…
Christian Democrats now say that they unmasked Wilders (NL). But opinion polls (NL) show that a large majority of the Dutch voters (70%) think that Wilders is telling the truth and the government is telling them lies…
Update: Prime Minister himself confirms his lies
In March the Prime Minister declared in his weekly press conference (NL) that he had no knowledge what so ever about the content of the Film Fitna: "It's rubbish that I would know anything about the content of Wilders his film"