Dutch anti-Islam film will not be screened in the European Parliament

The EU parliament prevented the showing on Wednesday of an anti-Islamic film made by far-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders, bringing cries of censorship from the British eurodeputy who organised the screening. “The banning of this film is a direct attack on free speech,” said British MEP Gerard Batten, who had organised the event, though officials pointed out that parliamentary leaders had banned the film from being shown in their Strasbourg building back in March. “A parliament that constantly talks of freedom, democracy and tolerance has shown once again that these are empty words when it does not agree with what is being said,” added Batten, a member of the eurosceptic UK Independence Party (UKIP). The 17-minute film called “Fitna,” which in Arabic means war, or division, in the heart of Islam, has been called “offensively anti-Islamic” by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. A spokeswoman for the parliament’s presidency said the decision not to allow the film to be shown had been taken by parliamentary president Hans-Gert Poettering and party leaders back in March, after it caused “problems” when shown in the Netherlands.

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