Dutch embassy damaged in Indonesia protests

JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) — About 50 students broke into a Dutch consulate compound in Indonesia Wednesday to protest a film by a Dutch lawmaker that many Muslims consider anti-Islamic.

Protesters demonstrate against an anti-Islamic film in front of the Dutch embassy in Jakarta.

The protesters tore off the gate of the embassy in the city of Medan and ripped down a flag, said Dutch Embassy spokeswoman Gonneke de Ridder.

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Local television carried pictures of police dispersing and rounding up demonstrators. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

The 15-minute film, “Fitna,” features disturbing images of terrorist acts juxtaposed over verses from the Quran to paint Islam as a threat to Western society. It has been posted on several Web sites, including Google Video and YouTube.

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Beter Balkanende has said his government worried that Geert Wilders’ film could provoke a violent backlash.

The film has prompted protests in other parts of the Muslim world.

Soon after its release last month, hundreds of angry Muslims rallied in Pakistan, where the government temporarily blocked access of YouTube over a trailer for Wilders’ film. The protesters burned the Dutch flag and called on Pakistan to cut ties with the Netherlands.

The Dutch government and others, including the European Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, have rejected the film.

The OIC has 57 member states over four continents and claims on its Web site to be the second largest inter-governmental organization, after the United Nations. In its statement, it urged the international community to condemn the showing of the film and asked the Dutch government to prosecute the author of the documentary under Dutch law.

Wilders has stood by his project.

“My intention was not to offend in any way, but to show the truth — at least the truth as I see it,” Wilders told CNN. “And if the truth hurts and could be offensive, well, this of course is not my problem.”

Wilders is a member of the Dutch parliament from the conservative Party for Freedom and an outspoken critic of Islam. He said he has “big problems” with Islam’s Prophet Mohammed, the Quran and “everything that is stated inside this terrible book.”

The title, “Fitna,” translates in Arabic to “strife” or “conflict” of the type that occurs within families or any other homogenous group.

The film opens with passages from the Quran, interspersed with graphic images of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States.

The video also includes disturbing images of other terror attacks — bloodied victims; beheadings of hostages; executions of women in hijab, the traditional Muslim attire; and footage, with subtitles, of Islamic leaders preaching inflammatory sermons against Jews and Christians.


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, CNN, Apr. 2, 2008, http://edition.cnn.com

Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday April 2, 2008.
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