…and his film doesn’t even have to come out!
(Note: most links in this post are in Dutch, not all of them though…)
If you want to talk about how to set up a teaser campaign, ask Dutch member of parliament Geert Wilders. Since last year he has been announcing his film about the Qur’an. It’s going to be critical, maybe even derogatory. First it was due end of January, then it was postponed. Now the title has been announced (Fitna, an Arabic word meaning ‘anarchy’, ‘strife’, ‘civil war’ and ‘disbelief’) and last week the ending of the film was -half- revealed: an image of the prophet Muhammad. Something is supposed to happen with it, but he doesn’t say what. Now rumours are around that the film will come out on March 25th, the birthday of Muhammad. It seems everything is intended to maximise the level of irritation for Muslims. But so far, absolutely nothing has really happened, except talk. And it’s damn effective, even if you don’t agree with it.
Meanwhile on the opposing side things are happening. A nationwide organisation of Moroccan Muslims announced all Moroccan mosques were going to open their doors to visitors on the day Wilder’s film comes out. It also announced it was going to file charges against the man for discriminating against Muslims. Another Muslim group started a friendly action: send Geert a cudly bear and give him the attention he so badly needs. Visitors can also choose to send him a verse from the Qur’an stating that God may yet cause love between enemies. Dutch Multicultural Broadcasting (MTNL) has already made de Tegenfilm (‘the Counter-Film’). Dutch member of parliament Tofik Dibi has announced his own counter-film. To top it all Dutch broadcasting KRO wanted to make a third one, according to Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant. It’s going to be a film that treats the Bible exactly the way Wilders is supposedly going to treat the Qur’an. That idea has now been revoked, it seems due to internal power struggles within KRO. Pity. KRO is a Catholic broadcasting corporation…
Internationally things are just as wild. Pakistan has blocked YouTube for a while, Iran has requested the Dutch government to censure the film, or they’ll have to ‘reconsider’ their diplomatic relations with the Netherlands, al-Qaeda apparently has issued a fatwa (something al-Qaeda is not licensed to do according to Islamic teachings, but who cares?) calling for Wilder’s death and thus proving Wilder’s point that Islam is a violent religion. Al-Qaeda as Wilder’s best ally, surely reality beats fiction?
And meanwhile, his film is still not out…
…and it doesn’t need to. Despite friendly actions on the Muslim side that try to canalise the anger that the upcoming film is bound to generate, Wilders has statistics on his side. According to Wikipedia there are 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide. If only one tenth of a percent of those decide to take offence and only one tenth of a percent of that group decides to turn their anger into violent action, we’ve still got 1500 idiots on the loose. More than enough to generate the newsreels that Wilders needs to perpetuate the claim Islam is a violent religion.