Thus, as reported by Dutch blogger Klein Verzet, the Grand Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun, admonished the European Parliament about film-related "riots, bloodshed and violence" for which "Wilders will be responsible." And thus Dutch prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende said exactly the same thing (in between begging Wilders not to release his film). The online Dutch site NIS News Bulletin reported Balkenende has "stressed repeatedly and with irritation that Wilders and no one else was responsible for any violence that might break out after his film's release."
And when Sheikh Tantawi indicates that providing "protection" for Mr. Wilders is a bad idea, it not only sounds like a mafia don calling for a hit, it also echoes the dean of Dutch journalists, Henk Hofland. As Thomas Landen of The Brussels Journal reported, Hofland urged the Dutch government to withdraw state protection from Wilders, who lives under constant threat of assassination. "Let him feel what it is like for those whose lives he endangers," said Hofland, adding that any murders committed in retaliation for Wilders' opinions on Islam would be the responsibility of Wilders, not the murderers.
Such thinking reveals a disconnect from both reality and morality. Killers, not a movie, kill people, and killers are duly responsible. But there's more to consider: The unified effort of Muslims and Europeans to censor a critique of Islam for being a critique of Islam -- something not tolerated under Islam. From EU to NATO officials, from the head of France to (sadly) the head of Denmark, the official European response to "Fitna" is less in line with Western traditions of free speech than with the censorship of Islamic law. Indeed, Dutch officials couldn't find a Dutch law under which to ban "Fitna," and they tried. The pressure to silence "Fitna," however, reveals the extent to which Islamic law has already eroded core conceptions of Western liberty.
Wilders refuses to submit. "I'm not bound to any Afghan or Sufi or Pakistani law," he told The Spectator. "I am bound to the Dutch law and I'm sure that my movie will be within all the boundaries of the Dutch law."
But who besides courageous Wilders will act to uphold Dutch law against Islamic-style censorship?