Wilders visit to US college cut short

A question and answer session by Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders at a college in the United States was cut short on Tuesday after “the tone of the event began to turn ‘nasty’ and some of the several hundred students ‘began jeering’”.

Wilders visited Temple University in Philadelphia in order to screen his movie Fitna. Associated Press reports that Wilders’ “remarks were met by a mixture of applause and boos, and occasionally gasps — particularly when he stated that ‘our Western culture is far better than the Islamic culture and we should defend it.’” Wilders’ visit was supported by a student group identified as Temple University Purpose.

Internet video imagines Netherlands without Moroccans

An internet video launched on October 20, 2009 envisions a world in which everyone of Moroccan descent has left the Netherlands. The 8 minute film, titled Kop of Munt (Heads or Tails), appears on the website www.munt.nu. The film’s creators describe themselves as “socially engaged Dutch-Moroccan young people bursting with energy and creativity”. But exactly who they are remains unclear, as the makers of both film and website remain anonymous.

In the world of Kop of Munt, Rotterdam has no mayor, taxis are stranded without drivers, and newspapers go undelivered. “Worst of all”, as Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports, “in a country with no Moroccans at the center of controversy, the Dutch press is struggling to fill its pages. An empty newspaper opinion page desperately appeals to its readers for material.”

The makers claim to show that “Moroccan Dutch people are an integral part of society.” However a poll conducted on right wing news website geenstijl.nl in reaction to Kop of Munt was rushed by respondents welcoming the idea of a “100 percent Moroccan-free” Netherlands.

Bosnian Muslims: threat or opportunity?

With their European culture and Islamic faith, Bosnian Muslims want to act as a bridge between East and West but instead feel rejected. There are times when Aida Begic gets on a plane and the looks she receives from other passengers remind her of people’s fears and misunderstandings about Islam. A well-known Bosnian movie director, she flies to film festivals all over the world dressed in fashionable yet distinctively Islamic clothing — a headscarf and outfits reaching down to her ankles and wrists.

Her first feature movie, Snow, premiered in Cannes in 2008. The global fear of flying with Muslims has become part of Begic’s everyday life. Despite this, she denies that there is any clash between her faith and her appreciation of western culture. “I was shaped by European literature, arts and music, and Bach is as much a part of my identity as [Muslim mystic and poet Jalaluddin] Rumi,” she says.

In fact, some experts believe the Muslim communities in the Balkans, whose Islamic faith developed in a European context, could serve as a bridge between the Islamic east and the Christian west.

But the allegiance of Bosnia’s Muslims to both worlds has been sorely tested recently. They feel Europe betrayed them in the 1992-1995 Bosnian war and has excluded them ever since. On the other side, offers of assistance during the war from some Muslim co-believers came at a price, that of the spread of Wahhabism in Bosnia.

Toronto 18 Terrorist Informant Requests More Money from Canadian Police and Spy Agency

Mubin Shaikh, Canada’s most famous informant and the public face of the country’s largest-ever terrorism trial, is asking the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) for more compensation. Initially Shaikh was awarded $300,000 CA to spy on the Toronto 18 and testify against them. He has insisted that money was never his motivation: I didn’t do it for the money. I’m not going to negotiate with the lives of Canadians. Shaikh is now requesting an additional $2.4 million raise, for which he promises there will be no more media interviews, no more drug use, no book or movie deals. The 32 year-old married father of five also pledges to aggressively defend the evidence and vocally support the role of the agencies involved. This is his second request for more compensation. Shaikh claims that his life has changed dramatically since his involvement and that he also needs better protection against his detractors.

Response to Wilders’ Anti-Koran Film: Saudi Blogger Releases Christian Version of ‘Fitna’

The recent film “Fitna” by the controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders was seen by many as an attack on Islam. Now a Saudi blogger has created a film featuring violent texts from the Bible, with the intention of showing that stereotyping can go both ways. A Saudi blogger has produced an online movie mocking the recent anti-Islamic film by Dutch politician Geert Wilders (more…), using the Bible and Christian extremists as the subject matter rather than the Koran and Muslims. The film “Schism” by Raed Al-Saeed, 33, is a little over six minutes in length and can be viewed on the Internet video portal YouTube. The film takes verses from the Bible promoting violence, killing and war and intersperses them with provocative images.

‘They’re provoking us,’ says Iranian writer after Verses play Earth Times

Potsdam, Germany – An Iranian writer in exile Monday described a Satanic Verses stage play and the anti-Islam short movie Fitna as “pure provocation” towards Muslims which played into the hands of fundamentalists. Speaking on Deutschlandradio Kultur, a national public radio channel, writer Bahman Nirumand described the two productions as “psychological warfare” under the mantle of “artistic freedom.” “I can assure you that the fundamentalists are extremely gratified by it,” he said. “They can use it to boost their position.” He compared the effect to a game of tennis, with one player exploiting the other’s unwise strokes. Nirumand appealed to Western intellectuals to cease this form of provocation and to differentiate Islam’s many aspects. “These allegedly artistic productions simply equate all Islam with violence,” he said. The first stage adaptation of The Satanic Verses, a controversial novel by Indian-born author Salman Rushdie, won applause from a German audience at its premiere, held under police guard on Sunday afternoon at Potsdam near Berlin. The adaptation in German digested Rushdie’s 700-page, 1988 book to a four-hour matinee at the Hans Otto Theatre in the city of Potsdam. The characters include a prophet named Mahound, a thinly disguised reference to Mohammed.

The Lamb – a movie by Ghizlane Loualidi

The Moroccan artist Ghizlane Loualidi exposes her short film _The Lamb’ (in reference to the Muslim holy day of the Lamb sacrifice) of a the life of a foreigner living in Madrid, and the lost of reference to immigrants – namely, the Muslim ones. She also underlines the difficulties that Muslims find to celebrate their traditions just to survive in Spanish society.

Iranian minister calls on Netherlands to stop anti-Islam film

Iran’s deputy foreign minister called on the Dutch government to stop a far-right politician from distributing an anti-Islam film. “I think they can stop the movie,” Mehdi Safari told reporters after meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen. “The government is responsible.” However, the Dutch government has tried twice, unsuccessfully, to convince the filmmaker to abandon plans for the film’s release. Safari said that the film would have “far-reaching consequences.” Iran’s ambassador to the Netherlands Bozorgmehr Ziaran called Wilders a warmonger, saying that “our conclusion is he wants to demonize Muslims.”

Iran, Netherlands at odds over movie

Dutch and Iranian officials are split over whether to intercede in the release of a controversial new movie. Iranian officials have accused the unidentified film of portraying the holy Muslim text as an inspiration for killing, but Dutch counterparts have not taken action against Dutch parliament member responsible for the film’s creation. Iranian officials have also directly asked the Netherlands to ban the film. Concerning the freedom of expression, Iranian justice minister Gholam-Hossein Elham said: we must respect freedom of expression, but the insulting of sacredness and ethical values under threat pretext is totally unacceptable. Geert Wilders created the film, but has been warned that he may be forced to flee if reactions worsen.

Dutch May Revoke Lawmaker’s Citizenship

The Dutch immigration minister said Monday that Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born woman who became one of the most prominent members of Dutch parliament, was improperly granted citizenship in 1997 and it may be revoked. Hirsi Ali, an opponent of fundamentalist Islam and an advocate for immigrant women’s rights, returned abruptly from a book tour in the United States last week after a political firestorm over her past erupted in the Netherlands. Critics called for her to resign after a television program aired Thursday detailing how she lied on her asylum application when she fled to the Netherlands in 1992 to escape an arranged marriage. Hirsi Ali had admitted the fabrications publicly when she was vetted as a candidate for parliament in 2002, and the country’s immigration minister said Friday she did not face any sanctions over the matter. But on Monday, Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk sent a letter to parliament saying that, after reviewing the facts “it must be assumed she (Hirsi Ali) will be considered to never have received Dutch citizenship.” She said Hirsi Ali will have six weeks to formally respond. Hirsi Ali’s spokeswoman Ingrid Pouw said the lawmaker would hold a news conference Tuesday to discuss her position. Earlier Monday, Dutch media reported that Hirsi Ali would announce her retirement from politics this week and would join the American Enterprise Institute starting in September to work on a new book. Pouw could not confirm that. Hirsi Ali’s political downfall would be remarkable, given the prominent role she has played in the Netherlands’ national debate on Islam in the past several years. She became internationally known when filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered in November 2004. Hirsi Ali wrote the screenplay for his movie “Submission,” which criticized the treatment of women under Islam and offended many Muslims. She received numerous death threats and has been under continuous police protection since the Van Gogh murder. The Dutch state is currently scrambling to arrange new housing for her after her neighbors in The Hague complained successfully that security arrangements for her had become an unfair nuisance for them. On the TV documentary program Zembla, she repeated that when she arrived in 1992 she changed her name and birth date on her asylum application and did not reveal that she had lived in three different countries after leaving Somalia. Several of her critics called for her to be deported. On Saturday, she told the AP she was the victim of a “smear campaign.”