Friday, March 28, 2008

Censorship, Islamic style

In this country, if something controversial is going to be played on television or radio, opposing groups might organize some sort of boycott of the advertisers or letter-writing campaign. When you are a radical Muslim, and a documentary about radical Islam is going to be made available for free viewing on the Internet, there is only one thing to do: Death Threats!

A politician from the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, wrote and produced a 15-minute documentary about radical Islam and its encroachment upon Europe and the Netherlands. The documentary is entitled Fitna, which is an Arabic word that loosely translates as test of faith in times of trial, which sums up pretty well Europe's experiment in secular tolerance.

Fitna was released yesterday, and was to be made available on an Internet Service Provider that agreed to show it. At the last minute, after threats of death from the usual suspects, the ISP backed out. This morning, a video sharing site called LiveLeak, which is similar to the more well-known YouTube, was hosting the video, and I had the chance to view the entire thing. I will tell you my impressions of it in a bit. This afternoon, I went back to LiveLeak so I could show the film to my wife, and instead of Fitna, there was this announcement in its place:
Following threats to our staff of a very serious nature, and some ill informed reports from certain corners of the British media that could directly lead to the harm of some of our staff, has been left with no other choice but to remove Fitna from our servers.

This is a sad day for freedom of speech on the net but we have to place the safety and well being of our staff above all else. We would like to thank the thousands of people, from all backgrounds and religions, who gave us their support. They realised is a vehicle for many opinions and not just for the support of one.
Perhaps there is still hope that this situation may produce a discussion that could benefit and educate all of us as to how we can accept one anothers culture.
We stood for what we believe in, the ability to be heard, but in the end the price was too high.
This is par for the course when there is any criticism of Islam, radical or otherwise. The same thing happened when the Muhammad cartoons from Denmark were released. The cartoonists are still living under threat of death, especially cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who drew this now famous caricature of Muhammad:

For this cartoon, hundreds of people died, in riots all around the world. Why do you think this guy at the top of this post is carrying a sign saying "Freedom go to Hell"? He was at a cartoon protest in London.

As for the film itself, it certainly made its point. The best part about Fitna was the lack of narration or outside analysis. It simply contained verses from the Koran, along with photo and video images of the bombings, beheadings, and mayhem wrought by Islamic terrorists, along with video/audio of Imams and clerics who call for all this violence to happen, and call for Islam to once again rule the world. It is the best kind of criticism when you don't have to say a word, and you simply play back the words of your opponent - much like the rantings of the good Rev. (Emeritus) Jeremiah Wright.

The good news about the distribution of Fitna is that LiveLeak got the job done. They had it available on the Internet for a sufficient amount of time for every Tom, Dick, and Harry to record it and make it available elsewhere. I just checked YouTube and Google Video, and found Fitna at both sites. I would link you to a URL, but chances are the link would be no good by the time you got there. Just go to either of those sites, type in "Fitna" and see if it is there. If one person's posting of Fitna is taken down, someone else will post it right back up. Once something is put on the Internet, it never goes away. There are too many vigilant people out there who are ready to spread something to the masses, even if the original source takes it off line.

This is what makes the Internet so wonderful: the dissemination of images, ideas, and information. Hence, it's no surprise that in most Muslim countries, the Internet is tightly controlled, and heavily censored.

Good Day to You, Sir


Law and Order Teacher said...

I saw the video yesterday. It was made more powerful by the lack of dialogue. The Koran verses was a efficient way to make the point. I hope the video lives on and irritates more of these cretins. I always wonder why these guys cover their face. It would seem that your courage of conviction would make you eagerly anticipate your 72 virgins.

Darren said...