Tuesday, April 1, 2008

339)Our half-sister Irshad Manji says Wilders' movie "Fitna" would be more effective with more "rose" Quran verses in it, not only the "thorn" verses

Our Shiite half-sister Irshad Manji finds this movie boring, ho hum, sigh!, wishes the Northern European barbarian and visigoth Geert Wilders had also included some of the "rose" verses and not only the "thorn' verses from the Quran into the production:


For all its hype, the Dutch anti-Islam film falls flat

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
April 1, 2008 at 6:07 AM EDT

Last week, the anti-immigrant Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, released on the Internet a 15-minute film intended to smear Muslims.But his movie, Fitna, is such a bore that it has only given freedom of expression a bad name.

Fitna, the Arabic word for "social strife," is being trumpeted as a provocative manifesto with the potential to create yet more strife in the cosmic confrontation between Islam and the West.

I have watched it. Others should too, not because it is compelling but because, in its utter predictability, the film reminds us why freedom of expression is worth defending. To remain powerful, freedom demands creativity - the very creativity that Fitna lacks.

It is a patchwork of scenes plucked straight from the stock image warehouse: news footage of 9/11 and the Madrid train bombings spliced with clips of hate-spewing imams, interrupted by headlinesa bout Theo van Gogh's murder in the streets of Amsterdam, all juxtaposed to incendiary passages from the Koran.

To be sure, egregious events, preachers and scriptures exist, and should be put on the public record, in all their vileness.

(Just be sure to secure permission. Fitna features a cartoon of theProphet Mohammed wearing a turban-turned-bomb - one of many cartoons published by a Danish newspaper in 2006. Ironically, affirming expression is never completely free, the artist who sketched the bomb-donning Prophet has said he will sue Mr. Wilders for violating copyright.)

The politician's problems do not stop there. By stitching together one inflammatory visual after another, Mr. Wilders has achieved little more than a garden-variety harangue. This makes Fitna no tonly dull but, worse, easily dismissed by those who deserve to beheld accountable for their silences about violence and human rights abuses committed under the banner of Islam. A more engaging approach would have been to pepper the film with positive verses from the Koran, thereby revealing that Muslims who expound hostility are actively choosing to ignore the better angels of Islam.

There are plenty of positive Koranic passages to highlight. The possibility for women's dignity is shown by one (3:195) that states God rewards "any worker among you, be you male or female - you are equal to one another." Imagine aligning that passage with the shot of a woman's body mutilated by an honour killing.

To shame the imams who cry death to non-Muslims, Mr. Wilders could have followed their words with these (2:62): "Jews and Christians and Sabians, all who heed the One God and the Last Day, have nothing to fear or regret as long as they remain true to their scriptures"

Indeed, he could have hammered home this point with the simpler passage (109:6) that proclaims "unto you your religion, unto me my religion."

Above all, Mr. Wilders missed the opportunity to give Wahhabi sermonizers a real run for their oil money. He could have done so by cutting between their fevered warnings of hellfire on the one hand and, on the other, diverse Muslims reading the Koran (2:256): "Thereis no compulsion in religion." The resulting message is simple yet nuanced: If Saudi-inspired Muslims insist on literalism, then why not take literally the Koran's crystal-clear decree against compulsion?

None of this demands deleting or diluting reality. I believe Mr.Wilders has every right to publicize harsh verses from the Koran. He also has the right to make a painfully stale statement.

In so doing, however, he debases the value of free expression. As it stands, Fitna reduces liberty to banality. If that is the best a freedom fighter can do, then what is the big deal about having freedom at all?

It is, of course, a huge deal when cleverly exercised. Exposing the range of choices offered by the Koran, Fitna could have put the onus on Muslims to look deep within. Non-Muslims would have learned something new. And Mr. Wilders might have advanced a serious debate -to say nothing of a necessary one - that lives up to freedom's promise.

Irshad Manji, a scholar at New York University and the European Foundation of Democracy, is creator of the award-winning film "Faith Without Fear." She can be reached at http://www.irshadmanji.com/


Easy Nash

If there are 23,000 jihadist websites and blogsites out there in cyberspace there is no reason why we should not create 100,000 non-jihadist websites and blogsites(Easy Nash, 2007)