For more on Fitna, see:
- Fitna Release Roundup #2
- Fitna release roundup
- Netherlands: Youth attitudes towards Fitna and Islam
- Netherlands: Muslims offended by Fitna, Dutch against banning it
- Netherlands: Dutch fear of riots drops, fear of Islam increases
Wilders is expected to broadcast his film about the Koran sometime in the next couple of weeks.
The Dutch cabinet has met in top secret sessions [though apparently not top secret enough] to talk about possible repercussions and measures to prevent them. These include quick evacuation of Dutch citizens from Muslim countries. The government is expecting riots, flag burnings and boycotts, and has informed municipalities and police to be ready for such eventualities.
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende expect a serious crisis situation, though he says there is "no reason for panic". Balkenende says Wilders is responsible for the film's contents and the job of the cabinet is to be ready for possible consequences.
There have been reports from Dutch embassies in Muslim countries saying that things might get critical. The Dutch embassies have warned their citizens of possible negative reactions.
Besides threats from the Muslim sector, speculations about its incendiary contents are already making the rounds. Wilders is already being accused of tearing up the Koran in the film.
In a visit to the European Parliament last week, Syria's Grand Mufti Ahmad Badr al-Din Hassoun warned Wilders that he tears or burns the Koran in his film, "this will simply mean he is inciting wars and bloodshed. And he will be responsible. It is the responsibility of the Dutch people to stop Wilders."
The mufti also blamed the media for causing war. "A simple piece of information can spark a war. If a man dies because of information that you have made public, his death will be on your conscience," Shiekh Ahmed Badreddin Hassun told reporters at the European Parliament.
Belgian Vlaams Belang condemned these "threats addressed to Europeans who exercise their freedom of expression." The grand mufti should rescind his comments, the party says. If he does not, he should never be allowed in the European Parliament again, says the Vlaams Belang.
A letter sent to police stations by former police chief and manager of the National Expertise Center on Diversity B. Poelert advises the police to make it easier to lodge complaints against the film. Complaints should be received even if there's no evidence of an offense, in order to enable people to let off steam.
The letter also asks police chiefs to be aware of and expect emotional reactions from Muslim police agents.
The public prosecution in Amsterdam got more than 40 complaints about Wilders in the last month, most due to his statements about banning the Koran. The prosecution will make a decision as to whether this was an offense at the end of January.
Dutch news are doing their best to stoke up the panic. Noor Farida Ariffin, former Malaysian ambassador to the Netherlands, was interviewed saying that she fears the film will lead to riots and dozens dead in the Muslim world. Compared to what she expects, the Danish cartoon riots will be 'a picnic'. She suggests that once the film is out, the government come out against it with the most forceful wording.
"The Koran is holy for us, it is the direct word of God. Through the generations not one comma has been changed in the text. For many the prophet is more important than their father or mother. Please respect our religion." She claims to accept freedom of speech, but says that if the consequences are so horrible, the speakers should ask themselvse whether it's worth it.
Dutch citizens abroad have been interviewed coming out against Wilders film, saying they fear the possible riots and that they will be blamed for the film.
Dutch Muslim organization Contact Organ of Muslims and Government (Contactorgaan Moslims en Overheid), representing 70% of Muslims in the Netherlands, sent a letter to Muslim ambassadors not to react to the film, and to let them handle things on their own.
Meanwhile, the Arab European League has announced it's preparing a counter film.
Sources: Radio Netherlands, AFP, Expatica 1, 2 (English), NRC, RTL, Volkskrant, AD, Telegraaf (Dutch)
See also: Netherlands: Muslim Council "fears the worst", Netherlands: Hizb ut-Tahrir threatening with violence, Netherlands: Concern about Wilders film