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Gymnich: Ministers reacted to "Fitna" Movie

The 27 ministers for Foreign Affairs of the EU, the SG/HR and the Commission, with participation of their colleagues from the candidate countries, discussed the movie recently produced and released through the internet by a member of the dutch parliament , Mr Wilders.

Muslims, Christians and people of all convictions and beliefs must live together in peace and with mutual respect, in Europe and everywhere. The problem is not religion, but abusing religion as a pretext for sowing hatred and intolerance.

In agreement with the declaration issued by the presidency on March 28, Ministers expressed their full support for the position taken by the Dutch government in rejecting Mr Wilders opinions on islam. The film equates Islam with violence and this view is sharply rejected. The vast majority of Muslims reject extremism and violence.

Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are fundamental values which we will not compromise on. The production of this movie falls within the exercise of the rights all our citizens have. Of course, offenses against the law, will have to be dealt with appropriately. Freedom of speech should be exercised with respect for the beliefs or convictions of others.

Likewise, all governments must do their utmost to restrain violence and agression. Feeling offended is no excuse for aggression or threats. The protection of all citizens, whether foreign or national, and irrespective of their religion, ethnicity, beliefs or convictions, is an obligation which is fundamental within societies as well as in international relations.


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Date: 29.03.2008