Opinion: Taking a Cue from the Danish Cartoon Scandal

By Jytte Klausen

There are parallels between Dutch politician Geert Wilders' anti-Koran video and the response to the Muhammad cartoons that rocked Denmark two years ago. By placing his video on the Web, he will merely help Islamic fundamentalists and right-wing, anti-Muslim activists feed off each other's extremism.

Geert Wilders' performance piece in Holland neatly follows the script established during the cartoon affair.
REUTERS

Geert Wilders' performance piece in Holland neatly follows the script established during the cartoon affair.

No Dutch TV station, private or public, had been willing to show Geert Wilders' 15-minute movie "Fitna," in which he compares the threat of Islam in Europe to that of fascism before World War II. They wouldn't air it in Denmark either, despite his efforts to peddle it there. Instead, he was forced to release it on Thursday on the Web site Liveleak. Apparently, at 15 minutes, it was too long for YouTube.

The final product strikingly resembles the trailers produced by jihadis -- there are clips of bodies being dragged through the street and fiery speeches interspersed with pictures of the Koran. Indeed, parts are taken directly from jihadist promotional material. You see the beheading of a kidnapping victim by Islamic terrorists, angry preachers of hate and a small girl being indoctrinated as an anti-Semite. One almost has to ask how jihadists could possibly object to this movie? In that respect, it was a victory for jihadists -- because Wilders obviously cowed to them. He ultimately protected himself by not burning the Koran or doing any of the gags he had promised. After his months-long promise to shock, it was easy to feel whiplashed on Thursday by his bait and switch.

There are also moments of pure source manipulation. Before showing a clip of the infamous jihadi propaganda video showing Eugene Armstrong, an American contractor in Iraq who was beheaded in 2004 by Musab al-Zarqawi's group, and footage of murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, Wilders translates relevant sura from the Koran: "Smite their necks," it starts. We get the idea: Muslims kills Christians because the Koran tells them this is how they should treat infidels. When I reached for my copy of the Koran, though, and looked up Sura 47, verse 4, it read: "When you meet unbelievers in the battlefield strike off their heads and, when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly. Then grant them their freedom or take a ransom from them, until war is over."

Here, Wilders took the nasty Saudi translation, left out parts of the sura and neglected to say that it refers to Muhammad's war against the pagan tribes after his ejection from Mecca and recounts the prophet's injunction to treat prisoners of war with compassion. Wilders reads the Koran like the Devil reads the Bible.

The footage it shows of the execution of a woman comes from Afghanistan. In its waning days, the Taliban used a soccer field in Kabul for public executions. Wilders cut the footage in pieces to suggest multiple incidents, but it all comes from the same shot from a female Muslim journalist who dressed in a burqa and sat in the bleachers with a hidden camera. The footage created an uproar and generated Muslim support for taking down the Taliban with military action. In this respect, Wilders also works like the jihadist extremists: Both want us to forget the fact that Iraq and Afghanistan are completely different wars and that both individual Muslims and Muslim countries supported (and still do) the mission in the Hindu Kush.

And horrifying footage of the planes flying into the World Trade Center is prefaced with another citation from the Koran: "Strike terror into their hearts ..." This sura, too, refers to the war with the pagan tribes. The next verse, though, urges the believers to embrace peace when it is offered. "If they incline to peace, make peace with them and put your trust in God."

The last five minutes about the Islamization of Europe is pure make-believe. Mosques replace windmills on a postcard with "Greetings from Holland." Fuzzy bar graphs show how many Muslims there are in Europe and how they proliferate. It claims that Europe in 2007 was home to 54 million Muslims. But this is how the Nazis told the story of the supposed Jewish takeover: all lies. There are 15 million Muslims in Western Europe and another 7.5 million in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. At most, Muslims comprise 2 to 8 percent of the European population.

Article...
For reasons of data protection and privacy, your IP address will only be stored if you are a registered user of Facebook and you are currently logged in to the service. For more detailed information, please click on the "i" symbol.

Post to other social networks

Keep track of the news

Stay informed with our free news services:

All news from SPIEGEL International
Twitter | RSS
All news from Europe section
RSS

SPIEGEL ONLINE 2008
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH



  • Print Send
  • Feedback

European Partners
Facebook
Twitter