Lords ‘caved in to Muslims’ over film

Tue, 3 Feb 2009

A House of Lords screening of a film linking Islam to violent extremism was blocked after pressure from Muslim groups, according to reports.

The screening, planned for last Thursday, was cancelled after a meeting between Lord Nazir Ahmed, senior House of Lords figures and Muslim leaders, according to a Pakistani news agency.

The Associated Press of Pakistan quotes Lord Ahmed terming the cancellation “a victory for the Muslim community”.

The decision to cancel the Lords showing was reportedly reached after Lord Ahmed met with the Government Chief Whip in the House of Lords and Leader of the House of Lords.

Representatives from the Muslim Council of Britain, British Muslim Forum and others from the British Muslim community were also present at the meeting.

The film, Fitna, was made by Dutch MP Geert Wilders. It juxtaposes quotations from the Koran with footage of terrorist atrocities and speeches by Muslim preachers.

Mr Wilders is facing prosecution in the Netherlands after he compared the Koran with Mein Kampf and said there is a direct link between Islam and violence.

The European Parliament also refused to allow a screening of Fitna on its premises last December, according to reports.

One Dutch MEP, Maria Martens, welcomed the decision.

“The film has nothing to do with freedom of expression. This freedom does not give the right to offend,” she said.

Reacting to the Lords’ decision, Mr Wilders said: “This is very sad. It is yet more evidence that Europe is losing its freedom and bowing to Islamic pressure and protest.”

According to commentator Melanie Phillips, Mr Wilders has now been given a second invitation to screen his film in the House of Lords later this month.

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