The Netherlands' prime minister on Thursday said he had won broad EU solidarity from the bloc's leaders in case the expected release of an anti-Koran film by a maverick Dutch lawmaker leads to violence.
The Dutch lawmaker, Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders, has said he plans to air the film this month. Dutch and other European officials fear the film could spark violent protests in Muslim countries similar to those held two years ago after the publication in the Danish press of cartoons deemed offensive by Muslims.
The Netherlands has been warned by Islamic figures and countries, including Iran, that releasing the film would lead to violence there.
Balkenende said the other EU countries to supported the Netherlands' view that it cannot silence Wilders due to the constitutional right to freedom of expression.
"I said that even if we fundamentally disagree with the vision (of Wilders), that can never justify taking violent actions," Balkenende said, adding he sensed "a broad agreement to act together" in staving off violent actions.
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