GENEVA: Islamic countries used a meeting of the U.N.’s top human rights body on Tuesday to demand the prosecution of a Dutch lawmaker whose anti-Quran movie has sparked Muslim protests.
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and other members of the U.N. Human Rights Council said the Netherlands should adopt laws against religious defamation.
“We recommend to the government of the Netherlands that it must … initiate prosecution against the author” of the movie “https://www.religionnewsblog.com/category/fitna-movie/,” Pakistan’s representative Masood Khan told the 47-nation council.
The anti-Quran film by right-wing legislator Geert Wilders triggered street protests in Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia, and calls in other countries to boycott Dutch goods, when it was posted on a Web site last month.
In his film, Wilders couples verses from the Quran with images of the terror attacks on New York, Madrid and elsewhere, and shows footage of imams saying Islam should dominate the world.
The Dutch government has said it disagrees with the harsh, hateful tone of the film, but insists Wilders has a constitutional right to air his views. The U.N. secretary-general and U.N. agencies have condemned the film. EU foreign ministers have sharply rejected its views.
Nebahat Albayrak of the Dutch delegation told council members that the public prosecutor was investigating whether the film breaks any laws.
Egypt criticized a recent ruling by a Dutch court that the views expressed by Wilders did not exceed the legal boundaries against inciting hatred or violence.
The Hague District Court last week said the lawmaker’s right to free speech and role as a politician allow him to freely voice his criticisms of radical Islam and the Quran.
“This ruling may suggest that the judiciary is out of touch with the relevant international and regional obligations and jurisprudence in the field of human rights,” said Omar Shalaby of the Egyptian delegation to the U.N. body.
Iran, which called the movie a “vivid example of Islamophobia and incitement to religious hatred,” said the Netherlands should strengthen its rules against defamation of religions and Islamophobia. Iran is not a member of the council but can speak as an observer.
The Netherlands was among the first 16 countries to be examined during a two-week meeting of the council, which will be repeated three times a year until all 192 members of the United Nations have been scrutinized.
The council replaced the discredited Human Rights Commission two years ago. It has no enforcement powers, but is supposed to act as the world’s moral conscience on human rights.