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Geert Wilders' showing of Fitna at Capitol Hill slammed

By Adriana Stuijt     Feb 27, 2009 in Politics
Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first-ever US congressman to undertake a pilgrimage to Mecca, has slammed the Senate's Republican whip John Kyl 's sponsoring Dutch MP Geert Wilders's anti-jihadist film Fitna at The Capitol on Thursday.
Ellison whose hajj was paid for the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, was 'concerned', he said. see our previous story here
Although he hadn't seen the film, and was a strong advocate of First Amendment free speech, Ellison said the showing by the parliamentarian from The Netherlands was 'not about free speech, but rather an issue of propriety, timing and venue." Republican Senate Whip Kyl 'had every right to host anyone he chooses, however it becomes a question of propriety to use the United States Capitol as a venue for the condemnation of an entire religion," Ellison said. Also see Geert Wilders on Fox TV here
"At a time when President Obama has said to the Muslim world, 'We are ready to initiate a new partnership based on mutual respect and mutual interest,' the showing of a film that denigrates the faith of 1.4-billion of the world's citizens does not foster mutual respect or mutual interest,: the congressman said.
The elected Dutch parliamentarian last month was denied entry by the British government because of his views. A British Home Office spokesman said they 'opposed extremism in all its forms."
Ellison had earlier told the Star Tribune about his hajj to Mecca that it was 'an amazingly transformative experience. I'll never forget it," he said. "Three million people, from every inch of the globe, all getting along together in a world where there's a lot of turbulence. Everyone's just a pilgrim, a hajji," he said. "You can't look at someone's shoes and tell what economic station in life they're at, because everyone's wearing sandals."
Despite his wishes to keep a low profile in Saudi Arabia while he was on his pilgrimage, Ellison said word leaked out that he was a U.S. congressman. People recognized him from TV and newspapers in the Middle East, where his first election in 2006 was big news. I didn't want to turn it into a politics thing, but people are people," Ellison said. "They're going to talk about what's on their mind." While he consulted the State Department over any potential danger, Ellison said, he wasn't worried about his safety. Ellison said he'd like to make the journey again with his family. His wife is not a Muslim, but their four children are being raised as Muslims. see
Meanwhile, Lord Pearson of the United Kingdom's House of Lords, plans to re-invite Wilders to the country he was denied access to last month. Wilders was denied access to the UK, but by contrast was also received in Rome, Italy this month, where he received the Oriana Fallaci Freedom of Speech Award. see
Pearson, a fervent Euro-sceptic who broke away from the Conservative Party and joined the United Kingdom Independent Party several years ago, said he was going to reinvite Wilders after it became known that Libanese journalist Ibrahim Moussawi, who has strong ties to the por-Iranian islamic organisation Hezbollah, is welcome in the UK. Moussawi has frquently made anti-semetic comments in public in the past, Pearson said. The Libanese journalist is holding a speech at the University of London about 'political islam' - his third time to the UK. Mousswi, the chief-editor of the newspaer Al-Intiqad has however been denied access to neighbouring Ireland.
Lord Pearson: ''We should have gone much further in the debate around Wilders. I am going to invite him's not about him only, it's about the role of muslims in Western civilisation".
Liberal commentator Timothy Garton Ash, while calling the movie Fitna 'loathsome', has also slammed Wilders' banning as 'idiotic', telling The Guardian that it was 'symptomatic for the way in which freedoms in the UK are being threatened." see
More about Geert wilders, Fitna, House lords, Capitol, First amendment
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