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Anti-Koran Dutch film "propagates hate" - Pakistan
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - An anti-Koran film made by a Dutch politician is tantamount to propagating the politics of hate and xenophobia and cannot be justified, Pakistan said on Wednesday.
Anti-immigration member of the Dutch parliament Geert Wilders has given few details about the content of his film "Fitna", in which he intends to present his views about the Koran, the Muslim holy book which in the past he has called to be banned.
Wilders has said he had completed the film and was in negotiations with television stations for its broadcast, slated for March or April.
"Wilders' anti-Koran film reflects his biased, bigoted thinking," Pakistani foreign office spokesman Mohammad Sadiq told a weekly briefing. "It has nothing to do with the right of freedom of expression."
The Netherlands fears the film could spark protests like those triggered by Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, in which at least 50 people were killed, including five in Pakistan, in early 2006.
The film has drawn protests in Muslim countries including Pakistan, whose upper house of parliament adopted a resolution last week condemning efforts to denigrate Islam, referring to Wilders' film and the Danish cartoons, one of which was recently reprinted.
"Bigoted and blasphemous acts such as the Danish cartoons and Wilders' film (are) tantamount to propagating politics of hate and promoting xenophobia in Europe," Sadiq said.
"This cannot be justified on any pretext."
Turkey has also voiced concern about the film and Iran called it a "provocative and Satanic" act.
A Dutch newspaper said this week the government was looking into whether it could stop Wilders from releasing the film.
Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has said the Netherlands risked economic sanctions and attacks against its troops in Afghanistan because of the film, although he stopped short of saying it should not be broadcast.
Sadiq said the Pakistani government had called in the Dutch ambassador and lodged a protest with him.
Pakistan had also raised the issue in Brussels, the Vatican and The Hague, and the matter would be discussed at an Organisation of the Islamic Conference summit in Senegal this month, he said.
Wilders, who has received death threats, has defended his film, saying he was not stirring trouble but was exercising his right to free speech.
The Pakistani spokesman rejected that.
"Distinction must be drawn between freedom of expression and license to insult," Sadiq said.
"Fitna" is an Arabic term used in the Koran and sometimes translated as "strife".
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