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LiveLeak Drops ‘Anti-Islam’ Film After Threats

From those defenders of the faith at CNN:

A demonstrator holds a banner with a photo of Geert Wilders during a demonstration in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2008. [Note the demonstrator’s neckwear, which symbolizes solidarity with the non-extremist Palestinians.]

Film critical of Islam dropped from Web site

LONDON, England (CNN) — A London-based Web site has dropped a Dutch lawmaker’s film that features disturbing images of terrorist acts juxtaposed with verses from the Quran to paint Islam as a threat to Western society, citing threats to its staff.

LiveLeak.com said in a statement Friday that it decided to remove the film a day after it was posted "following threats to our staff of a very serious nature."

Attempts to reach LiveLeak for further comment were unsuccessful. However, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkanende said the government was concerned that Geert Wilders’ film "Fitna" could provoke a violent backlash.

"The possibilities are there of real threats," Balkanende said. "I have already warned Dutch people that there could be enormous consequences on the basis of our intelligence services and what we heard from the business sector."

Early response in the Netherlands was restrained, but hundreds of Muslims rallied in Pakistan, where the government temporarily blocked access to YouTube last month over a trailer for Wilders’ film. The protesters burned the Dutch flag and called on Pakistan to cut ties with the Netherlands.

The Dutch government and others, including the European Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, have rejected the film. Still, Wilders stood by his project.

"My intention was not to offend in any way but to show the truth — at least, the truth as I see it," Wilders said. "And if the truth hurts and could be offensive, well, this of course is not my problem."

Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament from the conservative Party for Freedom and an outspoken critic of Islam, said he doesn’t hate Muslims. But he said he has "big problems" with the Prophet Mohammed, the Quran and "everything that is stated inside this terrible book."

Despite LiveLeak’s decision to drop the film, "Fitna" was posted on several other Web sites, including Google Video and YouTube, a Google subsidiary.

The film was easily accessible via Google, but YouTube posted a disclaimer with the video and required a login to view it.

In a statement, YouTube said, "YouTube allows individuals to express themselves and to communicate with a global audience. The diversity of the world in which we live … means that some of the beliefs and views of some individuals may offend others."

The film is also hosted on a Dutch Web site. The Web site of Wilders’ political party also links to sites where the film can be viewed.

The title of the 15-minute film, "Fitna," translates in Arabic to "strife" or "conflict" of the type that occurs within families or any other homogenous group.

Criticism of Wilders and the film grew Friday.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the film, calling it "offensively anti-Islamic" while urging calm.

"There is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence," he said in a statement. "The right of free expression is not at stake here."

Ah yes, the courageous United Nations. Always on the wrong side of every issue.

Here is what LiveLeak now has up:

The miserable cowards.

But here is a copy that is still viewable (for the moment) via YouTube:

(Thanks to Clarissimus for the YouTube link.)

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Saturday, March 29th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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