Viewing cable 08THEHAGUE302, THE DAY AFTER FITNA: CALM IN THE NETHERLANDS
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|08THEHAGUE302||2008-03-28 18:06||2011-01-17 00:12||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy The Hague|
VZCZCXRO7737 OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG DE RUEHTC #0302/01 0881819 ZNR UUUUU ZZH O 281819Z MAR 08 FM AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1306 INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHAT/AMCONSUL AMSTERDAM PRIORITY 3937 RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY RHEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY IA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY RHMFIUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RHMFIUU/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 000302 SIPDIS SENSITIVE SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: KISL PREL KIRF ASEC PTER NL SUBJECT: THE DAY AFTER FITNA: CALM IN THE NETHERLANDS REF: A. THE HAGUE 175 ¶B. THE HAGUE 133 ¶C. THE H... 147735,3/28/2008 18:19,08THEHAGUE302,"Embassy The Hague",UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY,08THEHAGUE102|08THEHAGUE133|08THEHAGUE175|08THEHAGUE61,"VZCZCXRO7737 OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG DE RUEHTC #0302/01 0881819 ZNR UUUUU ZZH O 281819Z MAR 08 FM AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1306 INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHAT/AMCONSUL AMSTERDAM PRIORITY 3937 RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY RHEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY IA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY RHMFIUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RHMFIUU/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY","UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 000302 SIPDIS SENSITIVE SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: KISL PREL KIRF ASEC PTER NL SUBJECT: THE DAY AFTER FITNA: CALM IN THE NETHERLANDS REF: A. THE HAGUE 175 ¶B. THE HAGUE 133 ¶C. THE HAGUE 102 ¶D. THE HAGUE 61 THE HAGUE 00000302 001.2 OF 002 ¶1. (SBU) Summary. Reaction in the Netherlands to the March 27 release of anti-Islam Parliamentarian Geert Wilders' long awaited short film on the Koran, Fitna, has been calm. An almost palpable collective sigh of relief that the film was not as inflammatory as previously expected was evident in reactions from the Prime Minister, Dutch Muslim organizations, local government officials and press commentary. Public safety officials in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague have assured us that they are alert and prepared for any disturbances, but that no demonstrations or violent incidents are anticipated. End Summary. ¶2. (U) According to press reports, Wilders informed National Counterterrorism Coordinator Tjibbe Joustra about three hours before it was released that the film would be released that evening. Wilders reportedly did not indicate the exact time or vehicle for its release prior to uploading it on the file sharing site www.liveleak.com. ¶3. (SBU) Police and public safety officials in Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and the national police (KLDP) all told Emboffs that they did not anticipate disturbances over the weekend in reaction to the film. No demonstrations were planned in Amsterdam or other cities. They stressed that they would be alert and prepared in the event there were any incidents. The director of the Rotterdam Public Safety Department Anti-Radicalization program told us that the city had conducted a ""quick scan"" of Muslim organizations in the city the morning of March 28 to gauge reactions. He said reaction among their contacts were consistent with statements made by national Dutch Muslim organizations the previous evening. ¶4. (U) According to press reports, Yusef Altunas of the Contact Group on Muslims and Government (CMO), and umbrella group of national Dutch Muslim organizations said that Wilders had gone to the edge of the permissible, but had not crossed it. He said he was not concerned about Dutch Muslim reactions, because ""we are not so easily shocked in this country, and are used to tough debates."" The spokesman for the National Council of Moroccans (LBM) told the press he was ""relieved"" about the content of the film; he said it was within the boundaries of the law. ¶5. (U) The Prime Minister made a statement shortly after the film was released saying that the government rejected the view expressed in the film equating Islam with violence and noting that the Dutch government ""regretted"" that the film had been released. He expressed the view that the film served no purpose ""other than to cause offence,"" but stressed that feeling offended was not an excuse for ""aggression or threats."" Notably, the Prime Minister issued the statement in English, underscoring the fact that the message was directly primarily at foreign audiences, and not at a domestic audience. The Ministers of Justice and Integration invited representatives from minority and religious organizations to a meeting the morning of March 28 to discuss community reactions to the film. Following the meeting, Justice Minister Hirsch Ballin told the press that it had been a good meeting; ""they are keeping their heads cool. Wilders' interpretation of Islam is not ours."" ¶6. (U) A poll conducted by television news and information program Een Vandaag after the film was released indicated that 20 percent of the respondents were concerned that the film would spark riots in the Netherlands, while 30 percent were concerned that it would spark violence abroad; during a similar poll at the beginning of March, 52 percent of the respondents said they feared riots in the Netherlands, and 62 percent expected attacks on Dutch interests abroad. 82 percent of those responding to the post-release poll thought the film was ""a lot of fuss about nothing;"" 70 percent said they did not believe the film was insulting to Muslims. Nearly three quarters of those surveyed said the film had not changed their image of Islam; 44 percent indicated they agreed with Wilders' thesis that ""Islam is out to destroy Western civilization."" THE HAGUE 00000302 002.2 OF 002 Gallagher