Dutch film critical of Islam

The World

Long before the film was released, it caused an outcry. Muslims have protested it as far away as Pakistan and Afghanistan. In the Netherlands itself, about 3,000 citizens marched against the film. It was a relatively low turnout for a country that prides itself on multi-culturalism, and that’s because some Dutch do agree with the film’s anti-Islam and anti-immigration views. Analysts also cite fatigue as a factor; Europe’s intelligentsia is tired of the topic, as is the population. Many leading European thinkers defend the filmmaker’s right to make the film, even though they disagree with the position�an expression of freedom of expression, they claim. Each country in Europe expresses a slightly different view on this topic depending on their relationship with Islam. In France, where one in ten people is Muslim, the discussion is not so much about immigration as about church vs. state issues. This French scholar says it’s a mistake to think that only conservative Muslims want to limit freedom of expression. Still it’s undeniable that tension between liberal western values and traditional Islam has become a flashpoint in Europe. The most recent incident took place this month in Berlin after an art installation was shut down because of protests from angry Muslims. That incident may have provided a catalyst for dialogue though. This professor from Amsterdam says he sees this kind of dialogue more often these days. He points out that many Muslims are integrated in Europe but they tend not to speak out, so only the more radical voices on both sides are heard. In the case of the Dutch film, it’s anti-Koran message appears to be falling flat.

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