The Wilders film is finally out.

Geert Wilders film was released today, on the internet (in English and in Dutch). It’s a 15 minute compilation of known images. Film clips of 9/11, the Spanish train bombing, beheadings, UK bombings are interspersed with violent translations of the most violent verses in the Koran. There are also sprinklings of quotes from Muslim notables.

It’s called Fitna, a word taken from Arabic that has a host of historic allusions, and a complex meaning that includes schism, split, secession, anarchy and a debate or split within Islam.

Wilders says his film aims at beginning the discussion on reducing the “islamitisation” of the Netherlands. He also emphasises that he has always “stuck to the facts”.

Well yes, barely. At one point he shows a set of statistics as a bar graph, the first four data points show the growth in the number of Muslims in the Netherlands, 1990 458,000…. 2004 944,000, which might seem shocking enough (and I didn’t see a source for the statistics). But the fifth point is 54 million for 2007, but that’s for the whole of Europe (again I didn’t see a data source and I don’t know which countries it covers). It’s a very misleading presentation of data.

The whole film is very unbalanced (not a surprise), and the views expressed by Muslims in the movie may not represent Muslims in the Netherlands. But it’s clear that he has crafted it to stay within the law. Of course that’s no guarantee that people won’t protest.

On Dutch news tonight Geert Wilders was interviewed, he expressed that he had no problem with the Koran, or with Muslims – but wanted this to be a start to the discussion on the islamitisation of the Netherlands.

A “start”? This is hardly the first time it’s come up.

My other burning question is what took so long? The move is barely 15 minutes long, and it’s mostly existing footage, the “new parts” aren’t difficult film work, and the whole production is rather low quality. The film was first announced back in November, I think the time has been used (wisely) for discussions with lawyers and (less wisely) to drum up interest.

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