Friday, March 07, 2008

Is Fitna Fit to be Shown?

The Council of Churches in Indonesia has asked the Protestant Church in the Netherlands to lobby the Dutch prime minister, Jan-Peter Balkenende, to intervene to stop the showing of a 15-minute film made by politician Geert Wilders entitled Fitna. The film reportedly shows how the Quran is "an inspiration for intolerance, murder and terror". The Council made the appeal in hopes that such a ban would prevent "very great problems." They fear that the film will fan religious tensions, resulting in harm to Christians in Indonesia. Several Muslim leaders have called for the film to be banned and a number of Islamic countries have expressed their anger to the Dutch government and have threatened an economic boycott of the Netherlands if the film is shown

At stake is the issue of the limitations of freedom of expression. Is violence or the threat of violence sufficient reason to restrict freedom of expression? Can we allow freedom of expression to be held hostage to those who threaten violence? Does freedom of expression include the freedom to be offensive? If responsible journalism is journalism that offends no one, aren’t we advocating for a Fahrenheit 451 scenario; burn the books so that no one will be offended?

What do you think? Should the Dutch government act to prevent the showing of Fitna?

1 comment:

Glenn Penner said...

Dear Duke,

I removed your message not because of censorship but because it was irrelevant to this blog posting. Freedom of speech also includes the right for me not to promote your message. You have the right to promote your message on your time and on your dime but not on mine.