(AFP) – Feb 22, 2008
CAIRO (AFP) — Egypt on Friday deplored what it called gratuitous attacks on Islam and said it was closely monitoring plans by a Dutch filmmaker to release an anti-Koran film.
"It is regrettable that European lawmakers and politicians use gratuitous methods to gain electoral votes by attacking the sacred values and religions of others," foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said in a statement.
Dutch far-right deputy Geert Wilders has said he will be airing on television in the Netherlands in March a controversial anti-Islam film called "Fitna" (Ordeal), which accuses the Koran of inciting people to murder.
Such politicians, Zaki said in reference to Wilders, "focus their hatred on Islam" and plan to broadcast a film undermining Islamic symbols.
These acts "feed hatred against Muslims and encourage extremism and confrontation instead of opting for dialogue based on mutual respect," Zaki said.
Egypt is monitoring the situation "very closely," he added, but also noted the "comprehension" of the Dutch authorities over Cairo's concerns.
Wilders said in November that the film will show his view that the Koran is "a horrible and fascist book" that inspires people to commit "awful acts."
"I hope that it will open people's eyes to the fact that the Koran should be banned like 'Mein Kampf'" by Adolf Hitler, he told the Dutch news agency ANP.
This month Egypt banned the sale of four European newspapers for printing pictures deemed offensive to Islam and summoned the ambassador of Denmark, where the press published cartoons that have enraged the Muslim world.
At least 17 Danish newspapers republished a controversial cartoon earlier this month, featuring the Prophet Mohammed wearing a turban that looked like a bomb with a lit fuse.
The cartoon was one of 12 drawings first published in September 2005 by the Danish Jyllands-Posten newspaper that sparked bloody riots across the Islamic world.
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