THE HAGUE: The Dutch foreign minister met ambassadors from 30 Muslim countries Wednesday to discuss the imminent broadcast of an anti-Islam film made by a far-right Dutch parliamentarian, his office said.
The talks, held at the request of the 50-strong Organization for the Islamic Conference (OIC), came as several Muslim countries threatened an economic boycott of the Netherlands if the film is shown.
“There was a meeting this morning, requested by the OIC, to hear the Dutch government’s point of view on Geert Wilders’ film, a spokesman for Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said.
Thirty ambassadors, based either in the Netherlands or in neighboring Belgium, attended the meeting.
The Dutch government has twice tried and failed to convince Wilders – the leader of the far-right Freedom Party – not to broadcast his film, fearing a repeat of the worldwide protests which met the publication of satirical Danish cartoons of Prophet Mohamed.
The Taliban in Afghanistan have already threatened retaliation against Dutch soldiers in the country if the film is broadcast.
Verhagen pointed out that the “the government is fundamentally in disagreement with Wilders and that “in the internal Dutch debate, both freedom of expression and religious liberty have their place.
Wilders, announcing his film project last autumn, said he was going to expose the Quran’s “fascist nature, which he compared to Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.
Iran, Egypt and Pakistan have all criticized the film as a “gratuitous attack on the Muslim faith and threatened an economic boycott.
Hundreds of Afghans protested across their country Wednesday at the prospect of the film, while the Taliban has already revenge against the 1,660 Dutch soldiers in Afghanistan if the film is shown.
In Paris on Wednesday for talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende reiterated his government’s total rejection of Wilders’ views.
In 2004 Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was brutally murdered by a Muslim extremist after making a short 10-minute anti-Islam film called “Submission. -AFP