Friday 20 Jul 2018 | 18:30 | SYDNEY
Friday 20 Jul 2018 | 18:30 | SYDNEY

The Wilders film


Sam Roggeveen


28 March 2008 10:57

The Dutch MP Geert Wilders has released his much-anticipated (at least in The Netherlands) short film about Islam, Fitna (which apparently means 'ordeal' in Arabic, though other sources say it means 'strife' or 'conflict'). It shows some extremely graphic images of terrorist attacks and their aftermath, as well as other outrages committed by radical Islamists. The film intercuts such scenes with quotes from the Koran and radical imams.

Although the production values are higher than the kind of propaganda produced by al Qaeda sympathisers, Fitna belongs to the same style of film-making. There's no argument as such; just a series of images and slogans designed to excite an emotional reaction. That no Dutch TV network would air the film may, as some suggest, indicate fear in the face of Islamist intimidation. Or maybe the networks correctly judged Fitna as a really repulsive piece of Islamophobia.

What surprises me about an episode like this is the cultural defensiveness it betrays. Granted, with the murder of Theo van Gogh and the treatment of Ayan Hirshi Ali, the Dutch have suffered some shocks at the hands of radical Islam. But given how relatively contained the terrorist threat is, and how few Dutch have fallen victim, why do people like Wilders feel so threatened? Western culture has proved highly resilient to much more serious challenges than Islamist terror, so why the panic?