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Warning: This video contains disturbing depictions of violence.

Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician, recently released Fitna, a film representing his views on the Islamization of Europe and its consequences for liberal democracy.

I object to the film’s conflation of Islam with extremism. There are many Muslims who do not follow the kind of Islam portrayed in this film.

Having said that, the film speaks the truth about the barbarity of humanity and its relationship to religion. Liberal Muslims face similar challenges to the Judeo-Christian West when we contemplate our past and its holy books. The Qur’an and the Bible are both farces of antiquated violence, reminders of how far civilization has come. There are beautiful pearls of wisdom in their verses, but they are buried in page after page of shit. This confusion of wisdom and madness makes it easy for bigots to cloak themselves in the robes of a priest, pastor, or imam. Religion is often the torch bearer for our brute past. Religion often makes this kind of hatred and bigotry look respectable and good.

Gone are the days when we can hold a live-and-let-live attitude regarding religious extremism. Everyone who values the freedoms that came out of the Enlightenment—such as freedom of religion, speech, and the printing press—must fight side-by-side to give birth to a better world where humanity has left behind its violent past. We cannot, however, win this fight by reverting to violence ourselves, but must be willing to disrespect violent religious beliefs while preserving the right to hold those beliefs. We must be willing to break the social taboo against openly criticizing another’s religious beliefs. We must start a verbal war against those who would take our freedoms from us. Christians, Jews, Muslims, non-believers, humans of all stripes must find common cause against fundamentalist religion which clings so tightly to our violent past.

Update: Fitna was taken down for a few days due to death threats received by Some Muslims out there are doing a good job persuading me that Islam in fact is a religion of violence. Accuse Islam of being a religion of violence and get threatened with violence. Ironic, n’est-ce pas?

30/3/2008: Liveleak Update **

On the 28th of March was left with no other choice but to remove the film “fitna” from our servers following serious threats to our staff and their families. Since that time we have worked constantly on upgrading all security measures thus offering better protection for our staff and families. With these measures in place we have decided to once more make this video live on our site. We will not be pressured into censoring material which is legal and within our rules. We apologise for the removal and the delay in getting it back, but when you run a website you don’t consider that some people would be insecure enough to threaten our lives simply because they do not like the content of a video we neither produced nor endorsed but merely hosted. (emphasis added)

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