Iran General NewsIran urges Dutch not to air Koran film: report

Iran urges Dutch not to air Koran film: report

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Reuters: Iran has urged the Netherlands to prevent the screening of a film in which a right-wing populist lawmaker plans to lay out his view of the Koran, a news agency in the Islamic Republic said on Saturday.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran has urged the Netherlands to prevent the screening of a film in which a right-wing populist lawmaker plans to lay out his view of the Koran, a news agency in the Islamic Republic said on Saturday.

Justice Minister Gholamhossein Elham expressed concern about what he called the making of an offensive film against the Koran in a letter to his Dutch counterpart Ernst Hirsch Ballin, the Fars News Agency said.

He called on Ballin to prevent this “provocative and satanic act on the basis of European Convention on Human Rights,” the news agency report, picked up by the BBC in London, said.

“We must not allow the freedom of speech … to be used as a cover for assaulting the sensibilities and exalted moral and religious values which are respected by all of humanity,” Elham, who is also government spokesman, said in the letter.

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende last month appealed for restraint over the film by Geert Wilders — a politician whose anti-Islam comments have led to death threats.

Balkenende said it was unclear what Wilders would say in the film, which is expected to be aired in coming months, but there were concerns in the Netherlands and abroad.

A film made by a high-profile critic of Islam for Dutch television has a disturbing precedent in the Netherlands.

Three years ago an Islamic militant killed film maker Theo Van Gogh over his film “Submission”, written by former Dutch lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi-Ali, in which she accused Islam of condoning violence against women. The murder unleashed a violent anti-Muslim backlash and forced Hirsi-Ali into hiding.

(Additional reporting by Reed Stevenson in Amsterdam; writing by Fredrik Dahl; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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