Fitna The Movie

Below is the English version of Geert Wilders’ highly controversial film about the Qu’ran. It directly links passages from the Qu’ran to various and sundry heinous acts of savagery, brutality, oppression, and terrorism that have been committed by Islamists in the name of Islam across the globe.

I’m posting it here, not as an attack on Muslims or the religion of Islam, but as a starting point for discussion.

My first thought on this video was that it is a classic example of “cherry picking” individual passages out of a text in order to use those passages out of context to change people’s overall opinion of a text as a whole. This tactic has been used time and time again, yet never seems to fall out favor through overuse.

The English translations of the referenced sura from the Qu’ran are linked to below in their entirety. Read as part of each whole passage they convey a somewhat different meaning.

My second and sadder thought was that the extremists – a small minority among Muslims, as it is with any religion or ideology – are probably doing the exact same sort of “cherry picking”, down to sura and verse in order to justify their own agendas.

I think that Wilder’s video will appeal to many people who are already afraid of Muslims. I also think it will enrage many Muslims who already hate the West. I doubt this level of bigotry will change anyone’s opinion though; it’s too unsubtle to be good propaganda. I am force to conclude that Geert Wilder is hoping for a violent reaction from Muslims since such would only further support his world view.

Related Reading:

EXTREMIST: A Response to Geert Wilders & Terrorists Everywhere
Geert Wilders Speaks Out: The Rhetorical Frames of a European Populist
Religion: What It Is, How It Works, and Why It Matters
Racism: A Short History (Princeton Classics)
Al-fitna al-kobra volume 1: Uthman الفتنة الكبرى: عثمان الجزء الأول

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22 Responses to “Fitna The Movie”

  1. expatbrian Says:

    I agree with your take on this film. To paint “Islam” and Muslims as a group with this image is absurd of course. Still, I suggest you watch your back. While posting this is courageous, Islamic fanatics will view it as support for anti Islamic sentiments and issue a fatwa against you.

  2. jonolan Says:

    I suppose that’s vaguely possible, Brian. I’m unsure what they could do though beyond bothering this site. Even if they researched my real name, it’s too common to be of any real use in finding me.

    I suppose CAIR could use their army of attorneys to harass me and my service provider, in which case I’d just move the site.

  3. Aafke Says:

    Well, as a Dutch person I refuse to be drawn into this nonsense film, and therefore haven’t attempted to watch it. And seeing it here, I thought, yeah, I d want to watch it. So I clicked, and damned: it’s gone!!!! Death threats? Perhaps Wilders got it right!!!???

    No, everybody says it’s classic propaganda, and the bits that have been ”cherry-picked” to show on arab news channels are the same kind of propaganda all over.
    (I just wished I could have seen it now though)

    Wilders doesn’t like Islam, so what. Many people don’t like Islam. They don’t know a lot about it, and what they do know is the message so assiduously distributed by ”muslims” who blow themselves up, and a lot of other innocent people including other muslims, while declaiming themselves exemplary muslim heroes.
    So why the amazement that some crappy politician like Wilders makes a crappy movie? PLease!

    I think it’s time the muslim world stops blaming the ignorance and/or dislike of Islam in the west, and start working on their own deen.
    And really, nobody would have given this ”movie” the time of day, if some elements in the ”muslim world” wouldn’t have given it so much free publicity. So they have themselves to thank for it.

    Very good piece Jonolan!

  4. jonolan Says:

    I’ll get back with you, Aafke, on the substance of your comment. First I have to find another source for the movie 🙁

    Preliminary and very cursory research shows me that this may take a bit. I may have to use BitTorrent to download the video and actually host it on my servers to get it up here.

    Rest assured that I’m enough of a proponent of Free Speech – no matter how vile and just plain stupid – to find of way of showing this film.

    NOTE: The Fitna video has been re-embedded on Reflections From A Murky Pond as of 8:00 AM EST, 03/29/08.

  5. Aafke Says:

    Hee Jonolan! Thanks! After all, I don’t really feel qualified to give my opinion if I don’t know what I’m talking about!

    The funerial music! You can find the same creepy passages in the bible. After all; we are all followers of the Book.
    It is quite a good pointer for the muslims though: if that’s not how you wish to be percieved: do something about it!

    There is enough in the Quran too to make for a utopian society, it just depends what you like to choose. There are enough hadiths that show how Muhammed treats people with forbearance and kindness.
    I know enough muslims, women who are intelligent, strong and wouldn’t stand for the treatment Wilders would have us believe is common.

    The excesses shown are excesses, but they do exist, and I hope the Ummah will manage to eradicate them, but they are not nessecarily muslim.
    To accuse a woman of adultery you’d need four witnesse. That means you sneak out to your lover, and have sex with four other people in the room , and just didn’t notice. That this rule isn’t kept in societies is a pity, but it can be argued that they then do not follow Islam. just an example.

    This movie does no good because it is so stupid.
    Except perheaps that everybody in the Netherlands is now really talking to each other and it may actually result into more interest and understanding between followers of different religions.

    Our government also makes a lot of stupid decisions, and some people look to politicians like Wilders as an antidote. It’s all complicated of course.
    That’s why I don’t like politics.

  6. in2thefray Says:

    I also think it will enrage many Muslims who already hate the West. I doubt this level of bigotry will change anyones opinion though; its too unsubtle to be good propaganda. I am force to conclude that Geert Wilder is hoping for a violent reaction from Muslims since such would only further support his world view.

    So true ! And as long as rage is the discussion forum nothing gets worked out.

  7. Aafke Says:

    And he’s supposed to have been working months over this ”movie”!
    We had at least expected a full feature film! Not ten minutes of out-of-context news-clips!
    Probably just been faking it all the time, and then really couldn’t get out of it, and spend an evening mixing it up!

  8. Supersizeme Says:

    Hey I just randomly found your blog, and I felt compelled to write here, I’m a Muslim, and dont worry, no fatwa!

    I like that you’ve raised a balanced view on it, even I dont like the weirdo extremist minority who over-react when provoked by equally extremist Wilder’s types.. I’m just going to remain indifferent to it and forget such a thing is happening or happened. When n people start overreacting in our defense it paints a moreover crappier image of us as wild simplistic-thinking savage folk.

    Also, I cant believe this ‘cherry picking’, as a Muslim, I’ve read these passages all my life, they’re not to be taken literally, but carefully, the Quran may be symbolising or it showcasing an event metaphorically speaking etc .. its meant to be something we can ADAPT to modern living, not taken literally! It’s like I remember reading things and not understanding them verses, but then a major significant event would happen in my life and I’d remember those verses and think .. OH! Is that why the Quran mentions this?

    How dumb of people to not be able to adapt the words! We’re holding on to unaltered scriptures from centuries and era’s ago, though times have changed human nature is still the same.

  9. Supersizeme Says:

    Oops, silly me.. I just read my comment and confused myself, what I want to say is, I condemn this film. I can see Wilder’s wants a reaction out of Muslims, and he’s enjoying this attention! I’d like to hope people are indifferent to his stupidity!

    The Quran is dear to me, and I love its authenticity, its taught me stories of the prophets, Isa, (Jesus), Musa (Moses) and many other prophets, and I’ve read lots of inspirational and amazing verses, yet I’m sorry I’ve not come across anything so violent as to inspire people to start directing films like this?
    He’s just a stupid kid wanting attention.

  10. jonolan Says:

    Aafke,

    As “promised” I’m finally returning to the sustance of some of your comments:

    Firstly, my thought is that Wilder doesn’t like immigrants in any form. Muslims are just the most culturally different immigrants, so they bear the brunt of his rage and fear. I can actually understand this; I have a strong fear of culturally diverse, non-integrating immigrant myself. That doesn’t mean I condone his response, just that I may understand the basis of it.

    Secondly, you’re right in that the frankly savage response of some Muslims to criticism or sarcasm is way over the top. Their poor behavior makes it so much easier for others to describe this as a “clash of cultures.”

    Supersizeme,

    We’re not actually complete strangers; we’ve both commented on the same posts on others’ blogs. I’m very glad you’ve stopped by my little corner of the web. 🙂

    I can believe the “cherry picking.” It’s regularly done with any public text that might be used for propaganda – religious or not. You wouldn’t believe what people pull out of context in the Christians’ bible – or politicians’ speeches or comments.

    I don’t really care – in this case – about whether the sura were meant to be taken literally or not. Just putting the referenced verses into the context of their sura as a whole changed their literal meanings into nothing resembling Wilder’s “film.”

  11. Supersizeme Says:

    Hey Jonolan, I thought you were familiar, glad to have found your blog, its definitely interesting.
    … and you know what? You’re perfectly right, there will always be awkward people who twist things out of context and we cant help the patterns of human nature, actually thats made me feel better.. haha! Thanks!

  12. djk Says:

    Hey all!

    Whether you be apologist, Leftist, or just a plain hater.

    Fitna is an accurate example of the extremist interpretation of the Quran. And like Wilders’ message at the end, it’s up to Muslims to change the religion so as to make it compatable with the 21st century.

    Christians did it. Jews did it.

    Get off your a** and do it too!

    Oh, when I said that “Fitna is an accurate example of the extremist interpretation of the Quran,” I am justified. According to Sheik Omar Bakri, the film could have been produced by the mujahideen.

    Take care of you extremist ideology, Muslims. Or we will take care you.

    Not a threat, but a promise.

    GOOD will always defeat evil.

    let that marinate.

  13. Aafke Says:

    Apparently the extremists haven’t reacted because they really like it!
    I don’t think Wilders will do well out of this; as far as I can tell everybody in the Netherlands is now convinced he’s really stupid.

    There have been a lot of people making You-tube-videos to mess up the search-engines, and the Volkskrant has a cartoon with Wilders holding a bomb in his weird hair!
    http://www.volkskrantblog.nl/pub/mm/2008/03/1206989976.95071.jpg

  14. jonolan Says:

    djk,

    Welcome to the blog. I said essentially the same thing in my post about how the extremists use the same verses to justify their actions.

    It would only take a few minor changes to make the first two thirds of the film into an extremist recruiting video.

  15. ASIF Says:

    * If you see the movie FITNA by an open mind/eyes, you clearly see, the mind/thinking working behind this is only hate of an individual against Islam.
    * The film maker picked the verses of Quran out of context and tried to develop hate to Islam among innocent people of other faiths by joining the video effects/clips.
    Producer tried to play with innocent hearts by joining video clips like, Twin Tower attack clips, with verses.
    I AM ASKING YOU PEOPLE, SHOULD ANY MUSLIM MAKE A MOVIE LIKE THIS FITNA AND JOINS THE TEACHING OF BIBLE WITH THE PICTURES/VIDEOS OF US ATTACK ON IRAQ/AFGHANISTANAND TRY TO PROVE THE SAME AS IN FITNA? SURE..NO. THERE IS NO ANY MUSLIM IN THIS WORLD WHO CAN THINK TO COMMENT THE PROPHET JESUS AND HIS TEACHINGS. IF ANY DOES THIS, HE IS NOT A MUSLIM AT ALL, MAY BE HIS NAME IS LIKE OF MUSLIMS.
    * In this movie, speeches of Politician doesnt mean that it is the sayings of Islam. and individuals act dont mean the sayings of Islam.
    Quran Says: ONE WHO SAVES THE LIVE OF ANY INNOCENT HUMAN IS AS HE SAVES THE WHOLE HUMANITY
    We believe in FREEDOM OF SPEECH but with responsibility. By this kind of so called FREEDOM, actually you are hearting the millions of people. In humanity, freedom should be constructive, not for promote the hate in society/world.
    More Important: MUSLIMS ARE VERY SENSITIVE TO THE HOLY QURAN and ALL PROPHETS INCLUDING MUHAMMAD, JESUS, DAVID, MOSIS and all others.
    I personally feel, the act of Dutch MP is based on hate to Muslims. Not only for Muslims but he is also against his society and country. His Movie will work as a fire in the society of Netherlands as well as in between thousands of Muslims and Christians in the world.
    May God/Allah help us to live with peace.

  16. jonolan Says:

    On the brighter side, ASIF, Wilder’s “film” was far too clumsily designed to sway the opinions of many people. Most all of the people who liked the film already hated Islam. It didn’t change many – if any – people’s opinions for the worse.

    My guess is that Wilder was hoping for a similar level of insane violence as the cartoons received. Such a response would have hardened people’s hearts against Muslims. Thankfully, the response was less than what I think Wilder was hoping for.

  17. Aafke Says:

    The real response in holland was that people actually started talking more, there has been an interest to learn more about what Islam actally really is all about. There have been books distributed about Islam as well. So quite the opposite as what he would have hoped for.
    So chill, Asif; it has turned out to be for the best.

  18. Kamil Says:

    Sorry, this conversation was going quite well until a certain redneck (a.k.a. djk) decided to butt in and tell us “Take care of your religion or we will take care of it for you”.
    Really? Well try this on for size: Get your neo-fascist imperialist forces and laws out of our countries and stop trying to toss your definition of “human rights”, “modernization” and “global” around. No? Well there you go!

    And I love how you of course, are on the side of “good” ala light, truth and justice. Wow, you really haven’t gone far from your 10th century crusade roots much, have you?
    Oh and Christians have “modernized”?
    *Bursts out laughing*
    Yeah, sure, just because they’re sitting in the White House and wielding nukes, they’re “modern”.
    Typical redneck attitude. Who the hell are you to decide what IS and what is not “compatible” with the “21st” century (a century which, I might add is based on a CHRISTIAN calendar)?

    Go study up on sufism and ACTUAL Islam, before spewing your vile hate propaganda around places other than your blog.

  19. jonolan Says:

    Umm, Kamil, maybe you should reread djk’s comment. It was vitriolic, but not especially hateful. Islam, along with Christianity and Judaism has a problem with its extremist fringe. It would be better for Muslims to deal with removing than for the US to do so – but we will, all else failing, and do a great deal of harm in the process.

    Of course, despite rereading the comment many times, I could be completely in error as well as to intent. Djk hasn’t returned to further comment.

    I agree it would be interesting to watch djk study Sufism and therefor Islam-in-general as well! Of course watching many people actually study Islam is normally funny.

    Follow-up: OK, I finally got around to going to djk’s blog. While I still find little hate in the content of his comment here, I now wonder why I don’t do so. His is a very hateful site.

  20. DjK Says:

    Hello again, everybody!

    It’s me again, the neighborhood hater. I’ll admit it, I do hate extremism. That’s why, no doubt, Jonolan, you found my site to be so hateful. Indeed, to clarify I shall embolden parts of my previous comment and add some additional remarks:

    Fitna is an accurate example of the extremist interpretation of the Quran.

    Remark 1) Note, I say “extremist interpretation,” this implies that I am aware of, what I will call, “normal, healthy interpretations”

    And like Wilders message at the end, its up to Muslims to change the religion so as to make it compatable with the 21st century.

    Remark 2) Here, I suggest, change come from within the Muslim community. This way other nations need not impose our laws, our will.

    Christians did it. Jews did it.

    Get off your a** and do it too!

    Remark 3) Let me rephrase. Other’s have made reforms so as not to, say, condone the burning of Jews to ward of God’s wrath in Christian communities, which, obviously, is not acceptable in a 21st century world. Now, it is time for Muslims to take a disinterested look at their brothers and sisters. Remember, I’m not trying to sound hateful or threatening, this is a necessity if the Islamic faith is to survive in a world dominated by us radicals who believe that men and women are equal (and I am aware that some Muslims do too, however, Saudi Arabia and Iran are probably the two most prominent Muslim nations on Earth, if one wanted to inform one’s self about Islam should one go to a madrassa in Kalamazoo?)

    If you are a Kalamazoo Muslim who actively speaks out against the injustice perpetrated by your Saudi and Irani brothers, then when I say “Get off your a**” I am not talking to you.

    Oh, when I said that Fitna is an accurate example of the extremist interpretation of the Quran, I am justified. According to Sheik Omar Bakri, the film could have been produced by the mujahideen.

    Remark 4) I had hoped this would have been sufficient clarification. Oh well.

    Take care of you extremist ideology, Muslims. Or we will take care you.

    Remark 5) Ah, here is, undoubtedly, the source of the confusion. This should read:

    “Take care of you[r] extremist ideology, Muslims. Or we will take care [of it for] you.”

    Closing remark)

    If you find any misplaced hate in my writing, let me know where and why by quoting my words.

  21. jonolan Says:

    Welcome back, DJK and thank you for the clarifications. As I commented earlier, I didn’t find your comments here hateful – vitriolic, but not hateful.

    BTW – I found your exchange with ATW amusing. I’ve ran afoul of him myself on more than one occasion.

  22. DjK Says:

    jonolan,

    I did notice that we were basically in agreement on this issue, and vitriolic… sure, but I’d like to think of my comments as “enthusiastic” 😀

    But, you did say that my site is “very hateful,” well… it should be. After all, I’m a Pro-Palestine Zionist (as in, I care greatly for the poverty and injustice against the Palestinian people, not Hamas, PIJ et al. and I believe that Israel has a right to exist as the Jewish homeland, nothing more nothing less) Anyway, I do try to learn from everybody, but, I’ve just about given up on ATW. As for my vitriol on your blog, I followed you here from my friend Melo’s site where you shifted the subject of your comments from (a) HAMAS to (b) Those Palestinians who are not part of the Fatah movement.

    I properly mentioned genocide, because I believe that Israel is gearing up for a massive offensive. If all the Palestinians are involved than the UN sanctions against genocide would actually apply. If Fatah sits it out, that is no longer the case.

    However, you can not substitue (a) for (b). Because not all Gazans are HAMAS, and not all Gazans would be targeted should Israel decide that a massive invasion was necessary.

    Further, the Genocide Convention would not apply for it is not an ethnic, religious etc. group that the IDF would be targeting, it would be a terrorist organization. Civilian deaths would not constitute evidence of genocide.

    Palestinians in Gaza are facing long term damage. HAMAS has already indoctrinated the people to such an extent that, I believe, it will take several generations for the healing process to even begin. Witness the Serbian ultra-nationalists, who I consider very similar to the Palestinian nationalists, who still harbor hatred toward Muslims whom they assume to be the direct descendants of the Ottomans of the 1300s, it didn’t take much to bring out that repressed dyed-in-the-wool hatred. However, the Palestinians aren’t just instilled with anti-Semiticism, ultra-nationalism, and hatred, but the concept martyrdom has become a sick aspect of everyday.

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