The Slovenian presidency of the European Union on Friday criticized a right-leaning Dutch lawmaker over his release of an anti-Muslim film critical of the Koran.
"We believe that acts, such as the above mentioned film, serve no other purpose than inflaming hatred," the presidency said in a statement, referring the controversial 15-minute film titled "Fitna" or "Ordeal" in Arabic posted on the Internet by Geert Wilders.
Wilders posted the film on his political party's Internet site on Thursday after Dutch television refused to broadcast it.
The film alternates pictures of terrorist attacks -- including the attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001 -- with quotations from the Muslim holy book. Wilders says one of his main points in making the film was a belief that rising Muslim immigration threatens democratic values in the Netherlands and th erest of Europe.
The film has sparked protests from Muslims and was also criticized by the Dutch government.
Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said the film has no purpose other than to offend, rejecting the film's premise that equates Islam with violence.
The EU presidency said it fully supported the statement of the Dutch government concerning the on-line release of film "Fitna" by Wilders.
"It is not through the violence but through open dialogue of opinions under the protection of the freedom of expression that mutual understanding can be deepened and mutual respect can be built," the presidency wrote in its statement, adding that the freedom of speech should be exercised in a spirit of respect for religious and other beliefs and convictions.
In 2005, Muslims in much of the world mounted protests against Denmark after Danish newspapers published satirical cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad found by Muslims to be offensive.