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Cultural Confrontation

by Dani Reshef
March 4, 2008
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Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
- NATO's Secretary General said on 03/03/2008 he fears the airing of a Dutch film criticizing Islam will have repercussions for troops in Afghanistan.

The controversy is about a film made by right wing Dutch MP, Geert Wilders, which has not yet been screened and according to Geert Wilders the film is about the Koran but he has given no further details.


In the past Geert Wilders has called for the Koran to be banned and likened it to Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf. It is assumed that this is the general direction of the film he made.

The Dutch government, also, has warned Geert Wilders that the film will damage Dutch political and economic interests. That controversy breached out just when the dispute about Muhammad Cartoons erupted again in Denmark after the arrest of three Muslim men cell that planned to kill the cartoonist himself, Kurt Westergaard, and the response of the Danish press in republishing the cartoons.

In Holland itself the filmmaker, Theo van Gogh, was assassinated on 11/02/2004 by a radical Islamic cell after he released a 10 minutes movie, based on a script written by former Dutch PM Ayaan Hirsi Ali, named "Submission", the English translation to the word “Islam” in Arabic.  The movie dealt with violence against women in Islamic societies. Theo van Goth did not, in any way, insult the Prophet Mohammad or turned out against the Koran.

One can argue whether it is wise or useful to insult Islam and generally speaking insults, scoffing or any sort of arrogance are not useful in promoting efficient dialog between peoples, but the point of freedom of speech is that no one has the right to filter others’ ideas or to control others’ way of speech, except if it is a direct incitement to violence against others. Therefore freedom of speech includes all kinds of expression, useful or not, criticism, demagogy, nonsense, scorns and all kinds of bizarre ideas.

In fact all over Europe and the Western Democracies a cultural struggle is going on with Islamist and Muslim countries to draw the boundaries of Freedom of speech and to accustom the Western society to some of the taboos in the Muslim World. This cultural struggle is not restricted to the Koran or the sacredness of the Prophet Mohammad but to the status of Muslim women in the Western society, the equality in the education system, the freedom of non intimidated press and the degree of validity of local laws in the Western countries when it comes to the Islamic communities within the Western society.

The cultural conflict, mainly in Europe, will shape the future more than the battlefields in Iraq or Afghanistan in this global jihad.

SOURCE: Global Jihad

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