Statement from LiveLeak.com regarding threats made to staff members
A 17-minute documentary on the Quran, juxtaposing images of Islam’s holy book with terror attacks and bombings by Muslim extremists, was taken down from a British video-sharing website, LiveLeak.com, after the organization reported “serious” threats to its staff members.
The documentary had been posted against the wishes of the government of the Netherlands by Geert Wilders, a Dutch MP and leader of the Freedom Party. His video is called “Fitna,” an Arabic word meaning strife.
It appeared on the political party’s website first, but soon disappeared because of “technical difficulties,” reported the London Times. Then it appeared on LiveLeak.com, only to be replaced with an advisory.
“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 affect the safety of some staff members, LiveLeak has been left with no other choice but to remove Fitna from our servers,” the organization said.
“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 realized LiveLeak.com is a vehicle for many opinions and not just for the support of one,” the site said.
“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.” The expression of regret was signed LiveLeak.com.
The first part:
And the second part:
Wilders, a critic of the “Islamization” of the West, released the film after weeks of debate couched in terms of free speech and religious bigotry as well as fears of violence like that following the Danish publication of cartoons depicting Muhammed.
Wilders said he understood Muslims could be upset by the film but said that was not his purpose in producing it.
“It remains widely within the framework of the law. … My film was not made to provoke violence,” he said.
Plans to put the film on the Internet were briefly stalled earlier this week when the domain registrar, Network Solutions, refused to host Wilders’ Internet domain.
The film has been condemned by Wilders’ government. The Dutch foreign minister, Maxime Verhagen, called it irresponsible after rioting Muslims killed over 50 people following publication of the Danish cartoons.
“The film equates Islam with violence. We reject that interpretation,” Jan Peter Balkenende, the Dutch prime minister, said.
“We believe it serves no purpose other than to offend,” he added.
Early critics had expressed fears Wilders would show a copy of the Quran being destroyed in his film but the ending offered a slight surprise.
As someone leafs through the Quran, a sound of tearing is heard.
“The sound you heard was from a page [being torn out] of the phone book. It is not up to me, but up to the Muslims themselves to tear the spiteful verses from the Quran,” the screen text read. “Stop Islamization. Defend our freedom,” it concluded.