STEVE INSKEEP, host:

If you're so inclined, you can go on the Internet today and watch a controversial short film that criticizes Islam and the Koran. The online film is called "Fitna," which is an Arabic word meaning strife, and it opens with a cartoon image of the profit Muhammad, one of the images that sparked protests around the world two years ago.

The memory of those protests may give you some idea why the government of the Netherlands, where this film comes from, is not at all happy about its release. The film shows violent images of terrorist attacks interspersed with verses from the Koran.

The producer of this film is a member of the Netherlands parliament. His name is Geert Wilders. He's the leader of a small nationalist party, and he's warned of what he calls a tsunami of Islamatization coming to Europe. And the film concludes with a message from the filmmaker. As you hear the sounds of Tchaikovsky's "Arabian Dance," you see words warning that, quote, "Islam seeks to destroy our Western civilization."

The Dutch government says it regrets that Wilders released this film at all. Christiaan Kroner is the Dutch ambassador to the United States.

Ambassador CHRISTIAAN KRONER (Dutch Ambassador to the United States): There's a right of religion, and there's a right to the freedom of speech, there's no such thing as the right to insult people.

INSKEEP: Did your government urge Mr. Wilders not to release this film at all?

Ambassador KRONER: Absolutely. Not only did they urge him not to show this film, but they also pointed to his responsibility - both as a politician and as an individual.

INSKEEP: He's getting a lot of publicity out of this, isn't he?

Ambassador KRONER: Absolutely. Worldwide.

INSKEEP: Are you concerned that by campaigning against him in this fashion that you're getting him even more publicity?

Ambassador KRONER: No, because it is the responsibility of the government to lead to a situation where we have a continued peaceful dialogue within our country and where we prevent this subject to become an international issue like the one we've seen with the Danish cartoons - and we have to take this seriously.

INSKEEP: That's Christiaan Kroner, the Netherlands ambassador to the United States speaking yesterday in Washington.

So far reaction to the film has been muted, and last night the Dutch prime minister said, quote, "The government is heartened by the initial restrained reactions of Dutch Muslims."

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