March 28, 2008 / 9:54 AM / in 11 years

Iran condemns "heinous" Dutch Koran film

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran said a film by a Dutch lawmaker that accuses the Koran of inciting violence was “heinous” and called on European governments to block any further showing, Iran’s official news agency reported on Friday.

The film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders was posted on Thursday on his Freedom Party’s Web site (www.pvv.nl), which crashed soon afterwards. But it could still be viewed on a file-sharing Web site in English and Dutch.

Titled “Fitna”, a Koranic term sometimes translated as “strife”, the film intersperses images of the September 11, 2001 attacks and other bombings with quotations from the Koran.

“This heinous measure by a Dutch lawmaker and a British establishment ... is indicative of the continuation of the evilness and deep vengeance such Western nationals have against Islam and Muslims,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Mohammad Ali Hosseini, whose comments were carried by the official IRNA news agency, said the film had been broadcast on the Internet with the aid of an organization based in Britain.

Liveleak.com said in a statement on its Web site that it let Wilders post the film because the site supported free speech even if many of those involved in the site found some messages “personally offensive”. It did not say where the site was based but gave contact telephone numbers in Britain.

In a bid to defuse Muslim anger, the Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said he rejected Wilders’ views.

Hosseini called for the “quick intervention of the Dutch and British governments, as well as the European Union, with the goal of bringing an end to the screening of this blasphemous, anti-Islamic and anti-cultural film.”

Dutch broadcasters had refused to show the film and a U.S.-based Web service which Wilders had planned to use deactivated the site at the weekend after receiving complaints.

The film starts and finishes with a cartoon of the Muslim Prophet Mohammad with a bomb under his turban, originally published in Danish newspapers. That image previously sparked violent protests around the world, including in Iran.

The film included images of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who often berates the West in his speeches and praises Iran’s Islamic revolutionary ideals. He also insists Iran is not a threat to any nation and respects others.

Reporting by Hashem Kalantari, additional reporting by Amsterdam bureau, writing by Edmund Blair

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