Saturday, March 29, 2008

Film Fitna: An Incitement to Hatred against Muslims

The film "Fitna" is an assault on the religion of Islam. It wounds deeply-held spiritual feelings of millions of Muslims around the world. It is a call for hatred and discrimination aginst Muslims in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe. Made by a race-supremacist Dutch parliamentarian, the film argues that the Quran incites violence.

The Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and other UN experts, have condemned the film in the following words: "While on the one hand, freedom of expression is a fundamental human right that must be respected, it does not extend to include incitement to racial or religious hatred which is itself clearly a violation of human rights. Public expressions that paint adherents of a particular religion as a threat to peace or global stability are irresponsible."

The European Union (EU), however, has drawn an opposite conclusion from that of the UN experts. While condemning the film as an unjustified attack on Islam, the 27 EU foreign ministers support the freedom of speech that the Dutch parliamentarian exercised in making the film.

Muslims are outraged. They too have the right to free speech in peacefully condemning the film and its hateful producer. They must, however, refrain from any over-reaction. The European history of attacking Islam is old. Centuries before the Europeans embraced the notion of freedom of speech, vicious attacks on the Quran, Prophet Muhammad, and Muslims have been encouraged, tolerated, and disseminated. I document the European hatred against Islam in an article Free Markets of Islamic Jurisprudence.

Muslims must ignore the film, read the Quran, and always remember what the Quran advises them to say on such insulting occasions: "To you be your Way, and to me my Way." Sura al kaafiruun 109:6. Insulting religions is a European problem and they will have to deal with it.