Web hosting provider Network Solutions has blocked access to a website on its servers that promotes a short film that is said to criticize the Koran.
The film titled “Fitna” was scheduled to be posted on fitnathemovie.com on March 31 by Dutch Party of Freedom leader Geert Wilders, who was planning to air the video online after being turned down by television networks.
Wilder, who is known for his confrontational views on Islam and his anti-immigration platform, wanted to use the 15-minute movie to rally support for banning the Koran in Holland because “it urges its followers to commit violent acts” and is “facist.” However, Network Solutions has blocked public access to the site and has posted a note saying that it is investigating whether the site violates its terms of service.
“In this situation with the dialogue that’s happening throughout the world we’ve made the choice to suspend the site as of last night,” says Susan Wade, a spokesperson for Network Solutions. “This site is suspended so people can’t see the content right now but the customer still has access to their site. They can make whatever changes are necessary as we complete our investigation.”
Wade says the company is also worried that the movie could spark violent protests in Muslim countries, similar to those two years ago after the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in the Jyllands-Posten newspaper. Network Solutions says it has received an undetermined number of complaints about the site but hasn’t been targeted with any threats as of yet.
Thousands demonstrated on the Dam, Amsterdam’s central square, against Wilders’ film Saturday in a protest intended to show that he does not represent the whole country.
A Dutch court will hear a complaint lodged by Muslim groups seeking to bar Wilders from releasing the film on March 28, but there is no legal barrier preventing Wilders from releasing his film through other means before then.
According to the Washington Post, this action is notable because it may end up being the first documented case of Internet pre-censorship by one of the largest domain registrars in the industry.