The short film, which criticizes the treatment of women under Islam, was to be shown Wednesday by Italian politician Mario Borghezio at the European Union assembly’s press centre in Brussels.
“We don’t understand why this can’t be shown,” Borghezio told reporters, as he criticized the parliament’s security and legal advisors for their censorship of the film. “It has been shown to millions of people and is freely available on the Internet. This is incomprehensible.”
Jaume Duch, a parliamentary spokesperson, said both the assembly and Borghezio received warnings about screening Submission from the film’s owner and producer, Gijs van de Westelaken, who was against the screening and said it would have “severe legal consequences.”
“The controversial nature of the film is apt to provoke disturbances of the public order within the parliament and might even put essential long-term [parliamentary] security at stake,” Jim Nicholson, a member from Northern Ireland who is also responsible for the parliament’s security issues, told the Associated Press.
Borghezio said he planned to hold a private viewing of the film in his office in Brussels.
A man suspected of being an Islamic extremist is awaiting trial for van Gogh’s murder in Amsterdam last fall, a few months after Submission was broadcast on TV. The Nov. 2 murder prompted several weeks of arson attacks against mosques and counterattacks against Christian churches in the Netherlands.
In January, a scheduled screening of the film at the Rotterdam Film Festival was also cancelled because of security concerns.