Anti-Muslim film does not violate Czech law, police say

Lenka Smyčková
7. 5. 2008 1:00
Brno Muslims screen controversial film Fitna

Praha - On Monday, Brno's Muslim community screened a film that openly attacks Islam.

The Dutch movie, Fitna, that triggered protest among Muslims all over the world was shown on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the opening of the first mosque in the Czech Republic.

In this way, the community wanted to initiate a debate on their religion, and to show how easy it is to caricature and derogate Islam.

The film was shot by Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders. Dutch TV stations refused to broadcast it. Later on, a court in Rotterdam decided that Wilders' claims, comparing for instance the Koran with Mein Kampf, were provocative but not illegal.

Czech policemen from the Department for the Detection of Organized Crime have come to the same conclusion. In their opinion, broadcasting the movie is not illegal.

"We do not think the broadcasting could violate the Czech legal system," department's spokesperson Pavel Hanták told Aktuálně.cz.

In March, ČSSD Security Committee chairperson Jeroným Tejc and  former Minister of the Interior František Bublan (also ČSSD) expressed fears over the consequences of such a screening. In their opinion, it could mean a security risk.

Bans don't solve anything

The film has already been shown publicly twice in the Czech Republic. Recently, a screening was held in Hradec Králové by the National Party, that also offers to download the film on its web site.

On Monday evening, the Muslim community decided themselves to show the movie to the public in Brno. "We anticipated the result of the police investigation. There is nothing in the film that could provoke a crime to  be committed," said Czech Muslim Lukáš Lhoťan from the Libertas Association which organized the screening.

"I do not think the movie should be banned. Bans are the fastest way toward a society of fear. But its subtext should be discussed," he adds.

The United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-mun, for instance, does not agree with the broadcasting. In Karachi, Pakistan, 25,000 Muslims demonstrated against the film and EU Foreign Ministers issued a declaration supporting the Dutch government in condemning Fitna.

"Displays of hate and incitation to violence cannot be justified. This is not a qustion of restricting the freedom of speech. I appreciate the effort of the Dutch government to prevent the broadcasting of this movie," Pan Ki-moon stated.

How Muslims took Holland

Lhoťan thinks the main danger of the 15-minute film is the fact that it is a compilation of various video footage. The form of a video collage makes manipulating spectators easier.

The first part of the movie is a collage of footage of terrorist attacks, prisoner murders, suicide bombings and newspaper headlines. This collage is accompanied with quotes from the Koran and radical Muslims' preaching admonishing violence against non-Muslims.

The second part of the movie is a sort of "prophecy". Muslims are flooding Holland and then the rest of the world. Mosques are everywhere, Muslims hang gays and hate democracy.

To prove that the film is a mere manipulation, they screened one more movie made by a group of Dutch volunteers on the basis of Wilders' recipe - only the leading role went to the Bible instead of the Koran.

After the projection, the audience could ask the chaiman of Brno's Islamic Foundation, Munib Hasan, what he thinks about Muslim violence. "There is no Christian or Muslim violence. This is nonsense. Hate is related to political subtext," Hasan said.
"And what about the things we heard? What do the radical clergymen appeal to?" one of the spectators asked. "I condemn this, I am against it," Hasan stated clearly.

Hasan called Brno, where the first mosque in the Czech Republic was established ten years ago, the city with the best atmosphere between Muslims and the rest of the inhabitants. Six hundred out of the total 14,000 Muslims living in the Czech Republic live in Brno.



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