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Fitna
March 27, 2008 2:39 PM   Subscribe

Fitna, a Koranic term translated as 'strife', shows footage of the attacks on the US in September 2001, and images of the bomb attacks on London and Madrid. Geert Wilders, Dutch politician and leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV), has called his just-released Fitna a ‘respectable film’. He admitted that Muslims may not be happy with it, but emphasised that he had always stuck to the facts. He said he believes that the film is also ‘one thousand kilometres within the framework of the law’.

Muslim organisations in the Netherlands were quoted as expressing relief: “The film is not as shocking as expected” and “represented a caricature of Islam”. National alert levels, which recently went up, have not been raised any further.

The movie has more or less dominated dutch news the last few weeks (if not longer), and has recently reached international notoriety, when Network Solutions yanked the site "fitnathemovie.com". Wiki has more on the history of this movie.
posted by DreamerFi (48 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
This post would be a lot better if the film weren't in Dutch. What, exactly, are we supposed to take away from it without subtitles?
posted by Dasein at 2:46 PM on March 27, 2008


The LiveLeak page linked above links to the English version.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:47 PM on March 27, 2008


FitnaFilter
posted by Pendragon at 2:48 PM on March 27, 2008


Some linkdumps from the post I had been preparing:

Radio Netherlands: About Fitna (found this especially insightful, and humorous to boot). From here.

Wilders on Fox News, part 2

Spiegel: How a Film Triggered a Global Panic

Guardian: "I Hate Islam"

NYT: A Dutch Antagonist of Islam Waits for His Premiere

IHT: Website taken down
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:52 PM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Excellent addition to the post, goodnewsforinsane! Thanks!
posted by DreamerFi at 2:54 PM on March 27, 2008


The film ends with someone turning pages of a Koran, followed by a tearing sound.

A text that appears on the screen says: "The sound you heard was from a page (being torn from a) phone book.


Psych! Try burning our embassies now, losers!

Oh...
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:00 PM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Interesting: Kurt Westergaard, author of the Muhammad-with-bomb-turban cartoon, seemed to support Wilders's initiative, but now he's on TV saying he's considering litigation over the use of his cartoon in the film without his permission.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:06 PM on March 27, 2008


I'd almost forget: thanks for the post, DreamerFi.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:07 PM on March 27, 2008


The film is going to cost the PVV dear, just to settle the copyright infringements, I reckon.
posted by ijsbrand at 3:08 PM on March 27, 2008


just to settle the copyright infringements

Dutch law has something similar to "Fair Use", which applies here..
posted by DreamerFi at 3:11 PM on March 27, 2008


Embarrassingly, the photograph in the film intended to portray Theo van Gogh's killer, Mohammed Bouyeri, is actually a photo of rapper Salah Edin, who intentionally (and provocatively) mimicked Bouyeri's mugshot for his album sleeve.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:12 PM on March 27, 2008


After each of the verses quoted in that film, there is a positive opposite. This is a device used throughout the Qur'an to establish a broad dialectic. Scrutinizing one line of any work without proper context, religious or otherwise, is dishonest.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:16 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dutch law has something similar to "Fair Use", which applies here..

Dutch law also has something called portrait right, meaning that anyone not happy being shown in Fitna can demand a compensation fee.
posted by ijsbrand at 3:19 PM on March 27, 2008


Other factual errors, as noted by current affairs programme NOVA, include:

  • Children with bloodied faces and knives, seemingly included to suggest terrorism, are actually observing Ashura, a Shi'ite holy day that involves self-flagellation.

  • Imam Fawaz Jneid of The Hague's As-Sunnah mosque is included in the part about the Theo van Gogh murder (on MeFi, most of it mine I guess). He may have given a hate-filled speech before the murder, but he publicly denounced it afterward.

  • posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:24 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Burahanistan and gnfti: The film isn't even trying to be an honest portrayal of Islam. Wilder is trying to make a point which goes roughly like this: Whenever Islam is criticized (rightly or wrongly), thousands of people in Islam-dominated turn into stark raving lunatics, torching embassies, burning flags etc. According to Wilders, if we curtail our freedom of speech in order to avoid this, we are caving in to the loonies.

    Essentially, Wilder is forcing us to make a decision here on what is to be valued higher: Western values as embodied by freedom of speech/art or avoiding embassy torchings. As a sidenote, I find his approach to be not so different to some pieces of concept art, which are designed to make you think. Looking at it this way, it is almost brilliant. The whole film may (appear to) be poorly researched and executed, but that's totally beside the point.

    Ironically, the biggest favor that the Islamic world can do to Wilder at this point is to torch a few embassies, thereby proving his point. Let's see whether they'll do him this favor.
    posted by sour cream at 3:45 PM on March 27, 2008 [8 favorites]


    He may have given a hate-filled speech before the murder, but he publicly denounced it afterward.
    He cursed filmmaker Theo van Gogh in a sermon a few weeks before he was murdered exactly two years ago yesterday. According to terrorist suspect Soumaya Sahla, the murderer, Mohammed Bouyeri, was present at the sermon.

    In his prayer, Fawaz said to Allah: "Cause Van Gogh a disease which all the inhabitants of the earth are unable to cure. Cause him suffering making him long for death. Blind the sight of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, give her brains a cancer. Give her tongue a cancer." Fawaz said this week he had just wanted "to blow off steam".
    Yeah, I'm not gonna get too worked up about that particular "factual error".
    posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:12 PM on March 27, 2008


    Essentially, Wilder is forcing us to make a decision here on what is to be valued higher: Western values as embodied by freedom of speech/art or avoiding embassy torchings.

    Excellent post, Sour Cream. And this decision would seem to be a no-brainer.

    Freedom of Speech is a core Western Value. We should not be bullied by the riots and murders that followed the Danish Cartoons (Cartoons! ferchrissakes) into giving up freedom of speech even if it is misused by someone like Wilder.

    And while there are numerous errors in Wilder's piece, there is a kernel of truth. Extremists do use Islam as a justification for 9/11, 7/7, Madrid and other terrorists attacks.
    posted by cjets at 4:35 PM on March 27, 2008


    i worry about Edvard Grieg and Piotr I. Tchaikovsky.
    posted by Substrata at 4:37 PM on March 27, 2008


    I suspect that a new meme for overblown panic and overreaction will become "Throwing a Fitna". ("Hissy Fitna?") Wilder is playing the Dutch Government, the Press and the Islamic World like a violinpoorly-tuned banjo. (Fixed that for myself)
    posted by wendell at 5:07 PM on March 27, 2008


    Fighting barbarism in any form, Islamic or otherwise, is a pretty simple mandate. It is sad that some people might need a polemical and provocative film like Fitna to understand that point.
    posted by Falconetti at 5:25 PM on March 27, 2008


    I am disturbed by this quote from the Guardian article:

    The Dutch politician, who sees himself as heir to a recent string of assassinated or hounded mavericks who have turned Holland upside down, has been doing a crash course in Koranic study. Likening the Islamic sacred text to Hitler's Mein Kampf, he wants the 'fascist Koran' outlawed in Holland, the constitution rewritten to make that possible, all immigration from Muslim countries halted, Muslim immigrants paid to leave and all Muslim 'criminals' stripped of Dutch citizenship and deported 'back where they came from'. But he has nothing against Muslims. 'I have a problem with Islamic tradition, culture, ideology. Not with Muslim people.'

    This really puts what sour cream said ("Essentially, Wilder is forcing us to make a decision here on what is to be valued higher: Western values as embodied by freedom of speech/art or avoiding embassy torchings.") in a different light for me. I don't feel comfortable describing this man as a champion of "Western values."
    posted by prefpara at 6:49 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


    "he wants the 'fascist Koran' outlawed in Holland" != "freedom of speech"

    Fighting barbarism in any form, Islamic or otherwise, is a pretty simple mandate. It is sad that some people might need a polemical and provocative film like Fitna to understand that point be recruited to the barbarians. Fixed that.
    posted by wendell at 7:53 PM on March 27, 2008


    "he wants the 'fascist Koran' outlawed in Holland" != "freedom of speech"

    Freedom of speech means freedom for speech we find reprehensible as well. The classic example for me is the was the ALCU defendinfg the American Nazis right to march in Skokie, IL

    And this is not about Wilder being a champion of "western Values." It is about Freedom of Speech being a core western value, again, even if we find it abhorrent.
    posted by cjets at 8:13 PM on March 27, 2008


    Er, that would be defending.

    sorry
    posted by cjets at 8:17 PM on March 27, 2008


    All religion is poison.
    posted by sonic meat machine at 9:38 PM on March 27, 2008


    Initially I was irritated that DreamerFi had posted an essentially contentless FPP on this topic. I mean, the film plus a Wiki link? Talk about jumping the gun on a serious post! But goodnewsfortheinsane saved the day. The Radio Netherlands youtube film (radio? film? how weird! and yet how excellent!) was particularly fun and informative to watch. The driver-as-narrator made for a really a cool format for a minidocumentary. Reminded me of a soundportraits documentary, almost. I realize this is sort of metacommentary rather than commentary on the issues at hand. But this is metafilter...
    posted by jackbrown at 1:25 AM on March 28, 2008


    I'm not trying to be too hard on DreamerFi here. I guess I just didn't like the original links that much, and then I really liked some of the ones goodnews dropped.
    posted by jackbrown at 1:27 AM on March 28, 2008


    All religion is poison.

    All aphorisms are abominable.
    posted by chlorus at 1:30 AM on March 28, 2008


    In any MeFi thread that involves Islam in some kind of negative light, the probability of a commenter denouncing all religions as bad (with the implied meaning that Islam isn't any worse) approaches one.
    posted by lifeless at 2:21 AM on March 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


    I'm not trying to be too hard on DreamerFi here.

    No worries, I'm not taking your comment as a negative, and I'm pretty happy with the help goodnews gave me as well. I'll try harder next time :-)
    posted by DreamerFi at 2:41 AM on March 28, 2008


    I hear StormFront is putting out a film on Muslims too.
    posted by Pollomacho at 4:10 AM on March 28, 2008


    The point that Wilder is trying to make is important; we need to defend our core values.

    But.

    The so called "film" sucks. It's a badly edited bundle of widely available video clips and q'ran verses. Basic "youtube"-material. Could have been made by any 12-twelve year old using iMovie. Maybe the reason why nobody wanted to air it in Holland had more to do with the quality of the film than its content.

    But reactions to the film are interesting to see.
    posted by hoskala at 7:48 AM on March 28, 2008


    The point that Wilder is trying to make is important; we need to defend our core values.

    Is that the point that Wilders is trying to make? As mentioned above, he is a champion of freedom of speech only when it applies to his speech. And he is not entirely clear either about what he means by "our core values": on one hand he clearly considers himself a secularist, but on the other he keeps talking about "Judeo-Christian values".

    Frankly, he is an opportunist and a bottom-feeder, who promotes and feeds on fear and resentment. I'll certainly defend his freedom of speech and thought against the Islamists, but please do not make me share his "values".
    posted by Skeptic at 8:54 AM on March 28, 2008


    All religion is poison.

    Dude, you got your Chinese party-line rhetoric in my Dutch populist race-baiting discussion!
    posted by gompa at 8:58 AM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


    In what weird ass world is this considered a 'film?' It's not shot on, you know, film. It's cut together, mostly, from news footage. Even if you want to make an argument that motion pictures of a certain length and quality are 'films,' this one is about fifteen minutes long and features very little original material.
    posted by Football Bat at 11:28 AM on March 28, 2008


    Okay, some of you don't like aphoristic anti-religion posts. How about I expand?

    The bad religion of the moment is Islam. It's a bad one, no doubt. Worse than any in history because it has the advantage of being the extremist religion at the time of greatest destructive potential.

    However, despite Islam's violence and offensive, ridiculous rhetoric, it also fuels the most distasteful elements in Western thought. It gives radical Christians ammunition. It makes them feel vindicated. They're in a sort of mutually beneficial loop: the muslims do something stupid, the right-wingers grumble that we should nuke 'em, the muslims do something stupid, our governments use it as an excuse to do something stupid (with a nod to the righties)...

    Who's the ultimate casualty? All of you folks who refuse to admit that, yes, all religion is bad. It's benighted. It's passé.

    Of course, if we didn't have religions, we'd find something else to kill each other over, but at least if there was no more Islam and Christianity we would need to find something else to fight about—and that might give us a few decades of peace.

    By the way, do you know that quote "Kill them all, and let god sort them out?" That came from a nice little internecine conflict called the Cathar Crusade. Essentially, the dualistic heresies re-emerged and the Church didn't like it, so they pitched a little bit of a fit. Depopulated a good bit of Southern France.

    All religions (including dogmatic Buddhists, just to get that out of the way) are essentially pre-packaged rules for hating other people. Rage without the effort.
    posted by sonic meat machine at 1:00 PM on March 28, 2008


    Worse than any in history because it has the advantage of being the extremist religion

    This makes it sound like:

    a) Islam is the only religion with extremists;
    b) All purveyors of Islam are extremists;
    c) A majority of Muslims are extremists;
    d) Extremist views are, in fact, not "extreme" for Islam; and
    e) Islam is the religion with the most extremists in positions of the greatest potential destructive power.

    None of which are actually true.
    posted by Pollomacho at 1:30 PM on March 28, 2008


    I originally chose "outsider," Pollomacho, instead of "extremist." Read it that way if you like. The fact is, though, that the most vocal Muslims are the extremists—and while Western actions can be (and are) despicable, most of them aren't undertaken from an explicitly Christian standpoint.

    Look, when Billy Graham starts saying things like "for the glory of Jesus, we must purge the liberal Christians from the Earth," then we can have the discussion about how nice the Muslims are.
    posted by sonic meat machine at 1:49 PM on March 28, 2008


    I think you are confusing those that get the most air time with those that are the most vocal or that hold the majority position. For example, Westboro Baptist Church barely represents a tiny minority of Christians, yet their extremist antics and willingness to be confrontational place them squarely in the media limelight fairly often. The same holds true with Islamic wack-os like Ossama bin Laden.
    posted by Pollomacho at 2:23 PM on March 28, 2008


    Look, when Billy Graham starts saying things like "for the glory of Jesus, we must purge the liberal Christians from the Earth," then we can have the discussion about how nice the Muslims are.

    How about this:

    September 13, 2001 - 700 Club Broadcast:

    JERRY FALWELL: And I agree totally with you that the Lord has protected us so wonderfully these 225 years. And since 1812, this is the first time that we've been attacked on our soil and by far the worst results. And I fear, as Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense, said yesterday, that this is only the beginning. And with biological warfare available to these monsters -- the Husseins, the Bin Ladens, the Arafats -- what we saw on Tuesday, as terrible as it is, could be miniscule if, in fact -- if, in fact -- God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve.

    PAT ROBERTSON: Jerry, that's my feeling. I think we've just seen the antechamber to terror. We haven't even begun to see what they can do to the major population.

    JERRY FALWELL: The ACLU's got to take a lot of blame for this.

    PAT ROBERTSON: Well yes.

    JERRY FALWELL: And, I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen."

    PAT ROBERTSON: Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government. And so we're responsible as a free society for what the top people do. And, the top people, of course, is the court system..

    JERRY FALWELL: Pat, did you notice yesterday the ACLU and all the Christ-haters, People For the American Way, NOW, etc. were totally disregarded by the Democrats and the Republicans in both houses of Congress as they went out on the steps and called out on to God in prayer and sang "God Bless America" and said "let the ACLU be hanged". In other words, when the nation is on its knees, the only normal and natural and spiritual thing to do is what we ought to be doing all the time - calling upon God.
    posted by Pollomacho at 2:26 PM on March 28, 2008


    LiveLeak pulls Fitna from site: "[A] sad day for freedom of speech".
    posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:28 PM on March 28, 2008


    "By the way, do you know that quote "Kill them all, and let god sort them out?" That came from a nice little internecine conflict called the Cathar Crusade. "

    The Cathar Crusade was in 1209. The WTC attacks were 6 years ago. Are saying it's ok that today's extremist muslims have the same morals than XIII century extremist christians? There's a name for that: Moral relativism.
    posted by falameufilho at 4:20 PM on March 28, 2008


    I like how you think I'm being too nice to the Muslims, fala, and Pollo thinks I'm being too nice to the Christians.

    It proves my original point.

    All religion is divisive.
    All religion.

    I'm not a relativist. I think religion is an immoral thing.

    But at the moment, Pollo, no matter what Robertson and Falwell say, the radical Christians are less violent than radical Muslims. Both of those people are extremely far-right; they have influence over a relatively small proportion of the Christian (even the conservative Christian) population. That's why I chose Billy Graham—he's given much more status and influence than any other evangelist.

    He's the fundie pope.
    posted by sonic meat machine at 1:06 PM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


    On the 28th of March LiveLeak.com was left with no other choice but to remove the film "fitna" from our servers following serious threats to our staff and their families. Since that time we have worked constantly on upgrading all security measures thus offering better protection for our staff and families. With these measures in place we have decided to once more make this video live on our site. We will not be pressured into censoring material which is legal and within our rules. We apologise for the removal and the delay in getting it back, but when you run a website you don't consider that some people would be insecure enough to threaten our lives simply because they do not like the content of a video we neither produced nor endorsed but merely hosted.
    It's back up.
    posted by BeerFilter at 6:22 PM on March 31, 2008


    ummm..."dogmatic Buddhists" are all about "hating other people?" Unless you are referring to the Sri Lankan civil war participants, I don't know what this is supposed to mean. You can be pretty damn certain about all of Buddhism's beliefs and not hate other religions. But, then, this lack of hate as a prerequisite to belief is pretty much true with all religions - except maybe those three monotheistic religions (not naming names, but here's a hint: they have a Jealous God who demands to be worshiped).
    posted by kozad at 7:15 AM on April 9, 2008


    New Fitna thread.
    posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:17 AM on April 9, 2008


    He's the fundie pope.

    Perhaps you could provide an example of where a parallel Islamic leader has called for murder of infidels. All I've seen so far would be radicals and I provided radical examples. Examples that actually grace our televisions regularly, whereas islamic radicals only appear occasionally, meaning that Fallwell and Robertson and their ilk are actually more mainstream.
    posted by Pollomacho at 10:55 AM on April 9, 2008


    Also, incidentally, how can you point to all religion as immoral and divisive and then at the same time dismiss non-radical leaders because they are too moderate for your example?

    Sorry, I know I'm late coming back to this.

    By the way, I do not defend extremists of any stripe, I just find that blaming all religion as a bit reactionary when it is fundamentalism and extremism that is divisive and immoral be it religious, political, a-religious, nationalist, etc...
    posted by Pollomacho at 11:00 AM on April 9, 2008


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