September 2, 2008

Israeli Arab MKs Reject Plan to Screen Anti-Islam Film in Jerusalem

Text of report by web version of Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv on 2 September

The Arab MKs are up in arms over the intention of (National Union- NRP) MK Arye Eldad to screen in Jerusalem excerpts from the controversial film Fitna, which presents the Koran as advocating killing and terrorism, on 3 September.

The movie by Netherlands MP and leader of the extremist Party for Freedom Geert Wilders was banned in the Netherlands. It strongly censures Islam and attempts to show that the Koran is "the inspiration for intolerance, murder, and terrorism." Eldad plans to screen select excerpts from the film in a news conference scheduled for tomorrow, 3 September, in one of the hotels in the capital in anticipation of a larger convention that will be held later on this year, entitled "Jihad Must Be Stopped; If Jerusalem Surrenders, Europe Will Be Next." Eldad is expected to declare on that occasion the establishment of a new coalition of European parliamentarians, who he claims "share the recognition that the expansion of Islam constitutes a serious threat to Western civilization."

MK Ahmad al-Tibi (RA'AM-TA'AL) has commented and said that "this is a tasteless and racist movie that promotes Islam phobia. MK Eldad's initiative to assemble here weird people from all over the world who hate Arabs and Muslims as he shows the film is madness and incitement originated by the extreme right-wing." His fellow faction member Talab al-Sani commented on Eldad's initiative and said: "There are things that not even ignoble and evil-minded people can afford to engage in, and these include offending other people's faith and soul." According to Al-Sani, things that are sacrosanct to other religions should not be turned into part of cheap political games just to attract attention. "He is hitching a ride on anything and everything extremist and illogical that harms coexistence only to enlist support among the moonstruck Israeli right-wing fringes," noted MK Talab al-Sani.

Movie theatres and television channels have refused to air the film due to the commotion it has aroused, but it has found a stage on a Netherlands Internet website. The movie was ultimately removed from that website, too, after some 1.5 million surfers had watched it due to threats to the operators of the website. The secretary general of the United Nations was one of the people who condemned the movie and Iran argued that it was a declaration of war on Islam by the West.

Originally published by NRG Ma'ariv website, Tel Aviv, in Hebrew 2 Sep 08.

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