Congressman Keith Ellison concerned by anti-Islam film screening at Capitol

The Hill:

The hosting of a controversial Dutch politician and his allegedly anti-Islam film at the Capitol this evening is concerning and disappointing, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the sole Muslim in Congress, said Thursday.

“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 of Sen. Jon Kyl’s (R-Ariz.) invitation to Dutch member of parliament Geert Wilders to screen his short film “Fitna” for audiences in the Capitol this evening. Critics have accused the film of being anti-Islamic.

“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 added. Kyl reserved the Senate’s LBJ room at the request of the International Free Press Society.

“Senator Kyl understands the controversial nature of the film, Fitna, but agreed to facilitate the screening and Q & A with Mr. Wilders because he believes that, all too often, people who have the courage to point out the dangers of militant Islamists find themselves vilified and endangered,” Kyl spokesman Ryan Patmintra said of his boss’s decision to host the screening.

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.”


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