THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A Dutch court rejected a petition Tuesday to bar outspoken parliament member Ayaan Hirsi Ali from making a sequel to a film about the treatment of women under Islam that outraged many Muslims.
The initial film, “Submission,” broadcast on Dutch television last year, apparently led to the killing of the film’s director, Theo van Gogh, last November.
A group of Dutch Muslims had filed suit to stop Hirsi Ali from making the second film, saying the original was blasphemous and insulting to Islam.
“There is insufficient reason to forbid (Hirsi Ali) to bring out another film like ‘Submission’ … nor is there reason to lay limitations or conditions on bringing it out,” wrote Judge R.B. Paris of the Hague District Court in her decision.
Hirsi Ali said she was “satisfied that the judge recognizes that there is a relationship between people taking certain texts in the Quran literally and the oppression of Islamic women.”
Hirsi Ali, an immigrant from Somalia who has become a prominent women’s advocate in Dutch parliament, wrote the screenplay for the original “Submission.” It was a fictional account of four Muslim women who suffered sexual abuse and beatings at the hands of their husbands and relatives.
It also quoted verses from the Quran that appeared to urge women to endure such treatment.
Van Gogh was shot and stabbed on an Amsterdam street. His killer jammed a note into his corpse filled with religious ramblings and threatening Hirsi Ali and others who it said had insulted Islam. Hirsi Ali went into hiding for several weeks afterward.
Mohammed Bouyeri, 27, is on trial on charges of murder and terrorism for Van Gogh’s death. The killing led to a series of arson attacks on Muslim buildings and a handful of retaliatory attacks on Christian churches.
The Muslims who appealed to the court said they hoped to prevent future violence. They said the film and Hirsi Ali’s remarks had been “hurtful, unnecessarily aggrieving, generalizing, and go against the carefulness that is appropriate with respect to the religious feelings of Muslims in the Netherlands.”
Judge Paris said Hirsi Ali “sought the borders of the acceptable,” sometimes with her choice of words, but that the film was within the bounds of legitimate expression.