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CONTACT: Congressman Keith Ellison
Ellison Expresses Concern and Disappointment with Decision to Screen Anti-Islamic Film
Takes Issue with sponsorship of film by Senator Kyl
WASHINGTON - February 26 - Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) took issue with the screening of a film by the controversial Dutch Parliamentarian, Geert Wilders, in the United States Capitol. The film being screened, "Fitna", is said to compare Islamic terrorism to Nazism. The screening is sponsored by Senator John Kyl (R-AZ).
"I am a strong an advocate of First Amendment free speech. However, this is not about free speech, but rather an issue of propriety, timing and venue," Ellison said. "Senator Kyl has 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.
Mr. Wilders was denied entry by the British government because of his extremist views. A British Home Office spokesman stated: "The government opposes extremism in all its forms." The Dutch government has disavowed Mr. Wilders visit to this country and believes the release of this film "serves no purpose other than to cause offence." According to the London Telegraph, Wilders has stated that the Qu'ran should be banned.
Ellison further stated, "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.
At a time when the US should be providing renewed leadership for peace and more understanding between the west and the Muslim world, one has to question the wisdom and judgment of promoting a film that erroneously condemns an entire religion-especially in the US Capitol," Ellison concluded.