AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – Haziness surrounding a Dutch lawmaker's plans to release a film criticizing the Koran this month is hindering government efforts to prepare for any backlash, the justice minister said Wednesday.
The legislator, Geert Wilders, has refused to disclose the precise content of the film or when and how he plans to release it, making it difficult to draw up security plans, said the minister, Ernst Hirsch Ballin.
Dutch officials fear Wilders' 15-minute film could spark violent protests in Muslim countries similar to those two years ago after the publication of cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper.
"It would make our work less difficult" if Wilders would at least make it clear when the film will be released, Hirsch Ballin said.
Wilders has said the film, "Fitna," will lay out why he believes the Koran is incompatible with Western civilization, and that he will release it sometime this month.
"After Dutch TV stations indicated they aren't willing to broadcast Fitna in its entirety, I'm going to do everything I can to put it on the Internet before the end of this month," he wrote on his web site March 14.
Wilders, who is under police protection due to threats against his life, declined to return messages. He heads a reactionary party with nine seats in the 150-member Dutch parliament.
The party's platform is built on opposing immigration from Muslim countries and countering the influence of Islam in Dutch society.
It is not clear how Wilders will release his film with no television stations willing to air it. Initial plans for a press screening were canceled due to high security costs.
He has reserved a web site for the film, but has not said whether he might attempt to allow people to download it there.
It was not clear whether YouTube or other video sharing sites would be willing to host the film, since its contents remain unknown.
Last month, YouTube was inaccessible globally for several hours after the government of Pakistan blocked it, citing what it said were offensive clips in which Wilders made denigrating remarks about Islam.