AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — A Dutch lawmaker whose anti-Quran film drew worldwide condemnations will edit out a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad after complaints of copyright infringement, his office said Monday.
Geert Wilders used the cartoon by Danish artist Kurt Westergaard twice in the film Fitna. The drawing, which depicts Islam’s prophet wearing a bomb-shaped turban with a lit fuse, provoked violent protests in Muslim countries when it was published by European newspapers two years ago.
The Danish Union of Journalists has said it would sue Wilders for copyright infringement.
Wilders’ spokeswoman Daphne Rozenboom said in an e-mail that Wilders would replace the cartoon and make other minor edits. She could not give details on how Wilders would change a film that has been dispersed widely over the Internet and downloaded millions of times since its release late Thursday.
In Denmark, Westergaard said he was happy with Wilders’ decision and believed the lawsuit would be dropped.
He added that Wilders might have won his permission to use the cartoon if he had asked.
“I don’t want my drawing to be used in something that I don’t know anything about. Had Mr. Wilders contacted me, we could have talked together and I could have found out what he wanted with the drawing,” he said.
The 15-minute film showed verses from the Quran juxtaposed with scenes of violence and terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists.
It led to protests in Pakistan and drew condemnations from Muslim countries and politicians around the world. The Dutch government also denounced the film, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called it “offensively anti-Islamic.”
On Monday, about 40 hard-line Muslims demonstrated outside the Dutch Embassy in Indonesia, calling for Wilders’ death. The protesters from Islamic Defenders Front — a small group that has occasionally staged violent protests against Western targets — threw plastic bottles and eggs at the compound before dispersing.
Malaysia’s Islamic opposition party delivered a protest note to the Dutch Embassy and urged Muslims worldwide to boycott Dutch products.
Wilders, whose party holds nine seats in the 150-member Dutch parliament, said the film was intended to warn the West of the dangers posed by Islam.
On Monday, Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen met with ambassadors of countries belonging to the Organization of the Islamic Conference to assure them the film “in no way reflects the opinion of the Dutch government,” spokesman Rob Dekker said.
He said the diplomats inquired whether Wilders would be prosecuted for violating hate speech laws. Prosecutors have said they have not yet decided whether to take action.