Anti-Koran Film Taken Down Following Threats...
Last Thursday, Dutch politician Geert Wilders posted a video to LiveLeak.com. The film, titled "Fitna", juxtaposes passages from the Koran with graphic images of terrorist attacks in the United States and Europe. Its stated purpose was to demonstrate that Islam poses a threat to the Netherlands, and it "includes newspaper headlines about terror attacks, graphic images of beheadings at the hands of Islamic radicals, and a riot-provoking Danish cartoon from 2005 that depicts the prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban."
After the video received over 3 million page views in a day, LiveLeak took down the film. In its place, the following message appeared on-screen: "Following threats to our staff of a very serious nature.... LiveLeak has been left with no choice but to remove Fitna from our servers."
One can only imagine the nature of these very serious threats.
Watch the film and decide for yourself (it has since been re-posted at Google Video). It is unquestionably a piece of propaganda, and most reasonably-minded individuals would recognize it as such. However, it's no different than any of the pro-Islamic fundamentalist pieces of propaganda that are regularly uploaded to the internet everyday. In fact, even at this very moment, the LiveLeak front page has a prominently featured video of "a children’s show broadcasted on the Hamas Al Aksa television on Monday show[ing] a child stabbing President George W. Bush to death in revenge for the death of his parents and sisters".
Defining "hate speech" is always problematic, but at the very least there has to be fairness and equity in its determination. LiveLeak isn't to blame - after all, it's hard to get too critical of people who are receiving death threats. The real problem, (surprise, surprise) is with the extremists who use intimidation to terrorize others... for doing exactly what they do themselves.
The principle of free speech requires that either all of these types of propaganda films should be permissible, or none of them should be. Either it's Constitutionally protected, or it's a form of hate speech and is not. But it's beyond hypocritical for the extremists to suggest that they're allowed to produce such material while no one else is. And their tactics of intimidation are despicable.