The simplicity of the quotes from the Koran accompanied by pictures of terror outrages was quite effective and made an important point. It's one which mainstream politicians have made in speeches, before going on to point out that Islam is a fundamentally peaceful religion and not all muslims should be tainted with the actions of a few nutters. I see nothing wrong in quoting these passages, particularly as there are some unsavoury passages in the Bible which can be quoted back at Christians. UPDATE: Dizzy makes the point powerfully HERE.
My test in these things is always to think: If a muslim politician had made a similar film about Christianity, would the Home Secretary have taken the same action. I think we all know the answer to that one. There are plenty examples of extremist muslim clerics who have made hateful films or written hateful books, calling for Jews and Christians to be slaughtered who have been let into the country.
You have to be consistent in these things, otherwise people feel you are discriminating in favour of one religious group over another.
Watching Question Time last night, it was astonishing that the only member of the panel to speak out in favour of free speech was the muslim leader of the Respect Salma Yacoub. None of them had seen the film they were commenting on (a fact which apparently got Keith Vaz into trouble on Newsnight) and yet all the rest decided that it was better for Wilders to be banned rather than be condemned by his own words. I was particularly shocked by Conservative MP Justine Greening's attitude to this. I suppose it echoed the tepid response of Chris Grayling yesterday, but it was nevertheless discomforting to see a Conservative MP seemingly unable to comprehend the importance of free speech, especially when she hadn't seen the film.
The irony is that if this film is so shocking, and so hate-filled as to stir up racial violence, logic would dictate that the government should actually ban it. They should also take action against any blog or website which hosts it or links to it. But they can't. Instead, by their actions, they have increased Fitna's viewership by at least one hundred fold. Jacqui Smith has made a political martyr out of Geert Wilders. I hope she is proud of herself.
Anyway, you make up your own mind about his 16 minute film. View it HERE.
UPDATE: Peter Tatchell is also trenchantly against banning Wilders from Britain. In an interview with Pink News he says this...
The fact that a Dutch parliamentarian is refused entry to another EU country is highly regrettable. The Home Secretary is guilty of gross hypocrisy. She gives visas to demagogues who incite violence and murder, while banning from the UK a Dutch MP who has never incited violence against anyone. I do not agree with Mr Wilders, but he has never threatened violence against Muslims. The Home Secretary regularly grants visas and work permits to Jamaican reggae singers who openly incite the murder of lesbian and gay people. Incitement to murder is a very serious criminal offence. The Home Office and Metropolitan Police also allow radio stations and record stores to promote their murder-inciting CDs. Last November, Jacqui Smith gave Jamaican reggae singer Bounty Killer (Rodney Price) permission to perform at a concert in east London. He had been banned from Guyana earlier in 2008 over his murderous lyrics, but the British government said he was welcome to sing in the UK. It is double standards to ban Geert Wilders and not Bounty Killer. Bounty Killer encourages and glorifies gang violence. At a time when so many young people have been murdered in gang-related gun and knife crime, it is reckless and obscene for the Home Secretary to give Bounty Killer a visa and work permit.