Quran film by Dutch Islam critic is released on the internet

A Dutch lawmaker who produced a film criticizing Islam and the Quran, released the short film on Thursday by posting it on the internet. The film by Geert Wilders cites verses of the Quran interspersed with images of violence, and scenes from terrorist attacks in the United States and Spain, and the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. The Dutch government had warned the legislator that such an offensive film could spark protests in Muslim countries. A Dutch judge was due on Friday to hear the petition of a Muslim group seeking an independent review of the film to examine whether or not it violates laws on hate speech. The Dutch Islamic Federation was asking the court to impose a fine of _50,000 ($79,000) for every day that the film was available to the public. The film, named _Fitna,’ was released on the public video website LiveLeak after the internet domain hosting Geert’s website removed the site from public view, upon review of the site’s content.

Britain drawn into controversy over anti-Islam video by Geert Wilders

Britain was dragged into the controversy over an anti-Islam film made by a far-Right Dutch MP after Iran condemned its appearance on a UK-based video-sharing website today. “This heinous measure by a Dutch lawmaker and a British establishment… is indicative of the continuation of the evilness and deep vengeance such Western nationals have against Islam and Muslims,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said. Mohammad Ali Hosseini, called on the Dutch, British and other EU governments to block any further showing of “this blasphemous, anti-Islamic and anti-cultural film”. The 17-minute “documentary” by Geert Wilders had been broadcast on the internet with the aid of an organisation based in Britain, he said. Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, also condemned the film, titled Fitna, an Arabic word meaning “strife”, while Bangladesh warned it could have “grave consequences”. A coalition of Jordanian media said it would sue Mr Wilders and urged Arab leaders meeting at a summit in Syria this weekend to review ties with the Netherlands and Denmark. Michael Theodoulou reports.Governments in the Muslim world are wary of a repeat of what happened two years ago when the publication in Denmark of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad ignited rioting in a dozen countries, leading to about 50 deaths.

Website for “Fitna: The Movie” is online; won’t be aired on television

The website for Geert Wilders anti-Islam film Fitna is now online, and will soon be available for viewing on his website. The website is hosted by a US company. While Wilders said he would like the film to air on broadcast television, Dutch newspaper Volkskrant reports that not a single Dutch channel is interested in cooperating with him in airing the controversial film. Herrman van Gilderen of Volkskrant said we are very hesitant to air the film in its entirety… we are very concerned about inciting hate or discrimination.

Tax guide published in Arabic

Italy’s tax collection agency has produced a tax guide in Arabic, as well as several other foreign languages, to help immigrant workers pay their taxes. The 28-page guide can be downloaded from the tax agency’s website, and is available in Arabic, Romanian, Serbo-Croatian, and Italian. “The guide for foreigners contains key information on taxation, personal tax codes and VAT numbers, as well as the purchase and rental of properties, tax returns and rebates, inheritance, and communication of tax irregularities,” the agency said on its website. The initiative is part of a plan by the government to clamp down on rampant tax evasion in Italy.

Al-Qaeda threats in Paris

Paris mayor Bertrant Delanoe has been given extra security protection after an Islamist website listed him as a target. A police source said Delanoe’s protection had been reinforced, though the threats are not specific and do not come from a site directly linked to Al-Qaeda. The socialist mayor is expected to secure reelection in March, said he was informed of the threat picked up by a US agency that monitors Al-Qaeda messages on the internet.

New Al-Qaeda message targets Berlusconi

Italy’s formerly center-right prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is among a recent list of al-Qaeda enemies, named in a video posted on the internet. In the video, al-Qaeda member Adam Gadahn describes Berlusconi as an accomplice of Bush in he Crusader war against Islam. The video, entitled _an invitation to reflection and repentance’ was posted on an unnamed Islamist website.

Muslim leaders back Livingstone as mayor

Prominent Muslim organisations and individuals have pledged to back Ken Livingstone as mayor of London, saying it is in the “best interest” of Muslims to vote for him in this year’s elections on May 1. A statement, published today in full on the Guardian’s website, praises Livingstone for his continued support of a multicultural society and for protecting Muslim communities against racism and Islamophobia. Riazat Butt reports.

Bewildered infants await fate in Chad orphanage

Members of the French charity Zoe’s Ark were detained as they were preparing to fly 103 children out of the Chadian city of Abeche. The plane’s crew, all Spanish citizens, are also being held by Chadian authorities. The children, largely from Sudan’s Darfur region, were intended to be smuggled to Europe by the charity workers – justified by the Geneva convention and international law, according to an update on the Zoe’s Ark website. The Chadian government is currently conducting investigations on the smuggling attempt.

Public Expresses Mixed Views of Islam, Mormonism: Benedict XVI Viewed Favorably But Faulted on Religious Outreach

Summary of Findings

The Muslim and Mormon religions have gained increasing national visibility in recent years. Yet most Americans say they know little or nothing about either religion’s practices, and large majorities say that their own religion is very different from Islam and the Mormon religion.

A summary of this poll and the full report are available for download on the Pew Research Center website.

Satirical “Terrorist musical” Under Attack

{Censorship of exhibits and events in which Islam plays a central role has been a source of controversy in Europe, especially in the past decade. A new satirical musical in Britain is the most recent performance to cause unease.} A satirical musical about Islamic terrorism is causing protest ahead of its premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe. {Jihad: The Musical}, due to play at the C venue throughout August, is billed as a “madcap gallop through the wacky world of international terrorism”. But a petition on the Prime Minister’s website calls for the “tasteless” show to be scrapped. Composer Ben Scheuer defended the production, telling BBC Radio 4 it was “controversial because it is relevant”.