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Cablegate: The Day After Fitna: Calm in the Netherlands

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

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