Today, the Islamic Organization of North America (IONA) joined a delegation of Sunni and Shia Imams to meet with Mr.Jack R. Twiss, Political Counselor, Head of Political Section from the embassy of the Kingdom of the Nertherlands, Washingtom DC. The meeting took place at the Arab American Museum in Dearborn, Michigan and hosted by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan (CIOM.)
dutch-diplomatThe Chair of the council, Ghaleb Begg, welcomed everyone and opened up the meeting with a brief introduction about the Netherlands. Ghaleb then stated the purpose of the meeting. The Embassy contacted the CIOM to meet with the Muslim clergy and discuss the movie “Fitna” to be released shortly by, Mr. Geert Wilders, an MP, member of parliament of the Netherlands.
Fitna, is the Arabic word for "ordeal", "discord", or "strife". Wilders thinks Islam is an ordeal for Western democracies, meaning a difficult or painful experience. He also says he hates Islam. He calls his film a call to shake off the creeping tyranny of Islamicization. Geert Wilders had called for a ban on the Qur'an. He describes the Qur'an as a fascist text which exhorts followers to kill and rape, and compares it to Mein Kampf. He also wants to remove the article on non-discrimination from the Constitution of the Netherlands.
Mr. Twiss informed us that the Kingdom of the Netherlands is a secular country with a constitution that honors the Freedom of speech and the Freedom of Religion (article 6 of the constitution). With this freedom of expression it makes it difficult to stop people from saying and/or publishing what they want to say or publish Mr. Twiss said. He continued, government officials have asked Mr. Wilder to share the film before he releases it for evaluation, charges can then be filed against Mr. Wilders should he be found guilty of blasphemy, slander or insult under the penal code. However, the government’s hands are tied because of the freedom of expression law. The constitution makes it difficult to stop the movie before its release.
Mr. Twiss was reminded by how Islam took Europe from the dark ages to civilization which Mr. Twiss graciously acknowledged. The Imams shared their views with Mr. Twiss making it clear that it would be very hard to control the masses from resorting to any action that might be unpleasant to the Dutch government and its people, because of the love Muslims have for Allah and His messenger and also because of the emotional attachment Muslims have toward the Word of God.
The meeting was more or less an exchange of views from both sides. We’ll have to wait and see what happens. The repercussion of releasing “Fitna” is, on the positive side, it would give the non-Muslims a chance to learn about the Qur’an while on the negative side, violence might erupt resulting perhaps in the loss of lives. We must act maturely and wisely and take this as an opportunity to reach out to non-Muslims and respectfully propagate the message of our sacred book, The Qur’an. We pray that nothing but good come out of it.
The meeting was then concluded by a group photo in the beautiful Arab American Museum.dutch-diplomat-1