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Dutch government not to seek ban on anti-Islam film
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08:57, March 27, 2008

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Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said Wednesday that the Dutch cabinet has no plans to ask the courts to ban the controversial film Fitna, due to be released this month by right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders, Dutch news service ANP reported.

"We looked at the possibilities and there are none," Verhagen was quoted as saying.

His comments came after former Dutch foreign minister Hans van den Broek, now a government advisor, called on the cabinet to take the issue to court.

Dutch paper De Volkskrant published an interview Wednesday in which Van den Broek said Dutch people around the world could become victims of violent actions by angry Muslims if the anti-Islam film was released.

"Let the judge decide what is the most important: freedom of expression or national interest," he was quoted as saying.

"It is unwise to wait until people have been killed before reviewing what can be done," he said.

Wilders, leader of an anti-immigration, anti-Islam party with nine seats in the 150-member Dutch parliament, plans to release his 15-minute film by the end of this month.

He has said that his film will be provocative but will remain within legal boundaries.

It remains unclear when and where the film will be released after U.S. web hosting company Network Solutions recently suspended the website where Wilders had intended to show the film. No television broadcaster has as yet agreed to screen the film.

Although the film's exact content is not yet known, it has sparked protests in many Muslim countries and has been condemned as inciting hatred towards Islam.

The Dutch government, worried about the consequences of the film, had tried in vain to persuade Wilders to abandon his plan.

The Netherlands' Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said the government cannot ban the film beforehand but it can file a lawsuit after it is released.


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