Fitna Revisted and Critiqued

I challenge anybody to watch Fitna and find something questionable in it. The only problem with Fitna was the motive behind the production of the movie. And Dawkins’ ignorance of the context surrounding Fitna is the only thing he is guilty of. Dawkins asserted several times that he knew nothing of Wilders and solely based his opinion of the movie in total isolation from any context. [Source: Skeptic Ink – On Owen Jones Fallacy Filled Accusation that Dawkins is a Bigot]

Challenge accepted.

In a previous post I mentioned that Richard Dawkins was at a meeting in 2008 which discussed issues with Geert Wilders film “Fitna” that some founding members of the Council for Ex Muslims of Britain had. So much so that they showed “Fitna Remade” which had dubbed audio and inserted captions over the original footage. In that post I give the full quotes of Dawkins on the dawkins.net thread in 2010, the video “Fitna Remade”, and invite anyone that only knows about Geert Wilder watching “Fitna” to read the thread and check him out on google.

As “Fitna Remade” made clear to the audience in 2008 what objections there are to “Fitna”:

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The main issues with the original film was that it gave the impression that all Muslims were part of political Islam, rather than the main victims of it, and that it dealt with terrorist attacks in the West rather than the decades of theocratic state suppression in the Middle East and North Africa where those heads of states were the most bloody handed in this – though welcome at the United Nations.

Two years later in 2010 Dawkins watched the original “Fitna” and forgot that these things were brought up at the 2008 meeting. I can even mention that as his dog was ill that day he was not perhaps paying attention. Yet just watching the original movie the main issues should be clear – that Muslims are portrayed as political Islamists because of the Koran, and the number of Muslims in Europe should therefore alarm us. The claim for ignorance has to be replaced with forgetfulness at best and viewer suppression of what the film maker must be trying to communicate to you.

The aim of “Fitna” is to have you agree with Wilders that the Koran should be banned as a terrorist manual, mosques should not be voting stations, and all immigration from Muslim dominated countries be stopped.

Maryam Namazie was involved in the production of “Fitna Remade”. Commenting on “Fitna” and Geert Wilders during a Secular TV broadcast she stated the following in 2008:

Firstly, the attacks on the west pale in comparison to the attacks on the people of the Middle East and North Africa yet he only cares to focus on these. He also blames the rising political Islamic movement in Europe to so-called Muslim immigration and shows a rise in numbers coming to the Netherlands. What he fails to see is that a lot of these people who are fleeing to Europe are actually fleeing from political Islam and want nothing to do with this movement. Yet he like many on the Right view masses of people as one and the same with their oppressors. To say that this ‘teeming hordes’ of so-called Muslim immigrants – many of them atheists, socialists, freedom fighters, secularists, and of course also those who consider themselves Muslims – are one and the same with the very movement that has been slaughtering them and that they have been at the forefront of opposing is nothing short of outrageous. [Source: Maryam Namazie Blog]

In the discussion mentioning the difference between anti-Muslim and anti-Islam, she mentions those Dutch citizens who are going onto the Internet to apologise about the film Fitna:

Maryam Namazie: … So don’t apologise, but instead organise and stand up to anti-immigrant legislation and parties, defend universal and citizenship rights for everybody but also stand up and challenge political Islam. Don’t let the Islamists walk over universal values and rights in Europe or the Middle East and elsewhere. And stand in solidarity with the people of the Middle East and North Africa who have been doing so for a long time vis-à-vis this movement. That’s what we need to do rather than apologising for Wilder’s film.

Fariborz Pooya: Can you not see that the Islamic movement is using this film as an excuse to advance its policies.

Maryam Namazie: They are using it and we will use it. Civilised humanity will use it to advance its progressive stance, its defence of universal rights, its defence of secularism, its defence of asylum seekers and immigrants and its uncompromising opposition to political Islam and US militarism – both of which are part and parcel of the same new world order – feeding off of each other. Okay this film is out there. Let’s use it as one more excuse to stand up to those who are trying to take advantage of the situation. We can also take advantage of the situation and bring a human stance to it – one that the world desperately needs.

This is not about trying to bring Dawkins down with guilt by association with Wilders. It is important to make clear what is objectionable about the film “Fitna” and the importance of facing down the far right that use our anti-religion and anti-extremism stance for their xenophobic and anti-secular policies.

As Namazie says stand in solidarity with those suffering because of theocracy and terror. Support secularism, human rights, asylum, immigration and religious freedom.

Challenge the hate and fear mongers of the far right that distort our message for their own ends.

That is the bigger picture than Richard Dawkins or Owen Jones.

Related post: Islamism and the Scapegoating of Muslims

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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2 Comments

Filed under British Politics, British Society, Dawkins, Religion, secular, World

2 responses to “Fitna Revisted and Critiqued

  1. My challenge was to view the documentary in total isolation from any context, which, in reality, is extremely difficult to do if you are well aware of Wilders’ racist right-wing politics. However, I provided a couple of quotes from Dawkins that show how he knew nothing of Wilders’ racist politics.

    “Maybe Geert Wilders has done or said other things that justify epithets such as ‘disgusting’, or ‘racist’. But as far as this film is concerned, I can see nothing in it to substantiate such extreme vilification”

    “To repeat, Wilders may have said and done other things of which I am unaware, which deserve condemnation, but I can see nothing reprehensible in his making of Fitna”

    So I feel you misunderstood the challenge as most of your post deals with the context surrounding the movie. None of it is objectionable, it is simply irrelevant to the challenge. In fact, there is only one sentence which actually deals with the content of the documentary: “The main issues with the original film was that it gave the impression that all Muslims were part of political Islam, rather than the main victims of it, and that it dealt with terrorist attacks in the West rather than the decades of theocratic state suppression in the Middle East and North Africa where those heads of states were the most bloody handed in this – though welcome at the United Nations.” This view is subjective. It is certainly not what I got from watching it. I didn’t think it generalises about all Muslims any more than documentaries about creationists generalise all Christians. I simply viewed it as a documentary about the Islamisation of certain parts of Europe. Not a big a problem as people like Wilders would have you think, but still an issue.

    The point I was trying to make was to show that Dawkins was simply ignorant of the context and Jones’ attempt to label him a bigot through guilt-by-association was silly. Now that you have shown Dawkins viewed Fitna Remade in 2008 then this ignorance is even greater, but still just ignorance, not bigotry.

    As for your conclusion, I could not agree more.

    • You do miss out that Dawkins – two years before he watched “Fitna” – was at a meeting where the film, Wilders – even Dutch national politics – was discussed. That is linked to in above article though briefly mentioned here.

      Dawkins cannot claim ignorance, only possibly he cannot recall the meeting we both attended in Conway Hall in 2008.

      Even if we accept Dawkins forgot all this (I hope you concede the ignorance argument is invalid now), if you ask what is the purpose of the film when watching the narrative it is clear- the Koran has violent passages, Muslim population is growing, violence by Muslims is happening. We should do something about Muslims and the Koran on a scale comparable to defeating nazism and communism.

      The film makes no distinction that Islamism main victims are Muslims.

      Hopefully the film would make you want to understand Islam – perhaps even read the Koran. Let alone find out about the director to see if they have any solutions.

      Dawkins when told of these objections about Wilders on the thread in 2010 rejects or ignores them – though he invites being told them.

      Dawkins like me was made aware by ex Muslims about the issue with Fitna and Wilders in 2008. The film, without knowing the director’s politics, is objectionable for reasons Maryam explains.

      If Dawkins has revised his feelings on Wilders – criticising Geert’s total banning of immigration from predominately Muslim countries, or banning the Koran – then for the sake of supporting secularism against the far right it would be much appreciated.

      I hope he does not stay silent on the issues you and I appear to agree on at the end of my post.

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