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Dutch PM Loses Cases Against Magazine
    2008-04-05 00:49:41     Xinhua

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende lost legal proceedings on Friday against a Dutch magazine which quoted him as calling Islam "a problem," Radio Netherlands reported.

The prime minister was demanding that the weekly magazine Opinio rectify an article claiming he had given a speech in which he called Islam a problem.

Opinio reported that Balkenende met prominent members of his Christian Democrat party on Sunday and told them: "It is not radical Islam or Islamist terrorism or fundamentalism in general -- no, I say that that big problem is Islam itself."

Balkenende said that he was with his family on that day and had never made such a speech.

Balkenende accused the magazine of irresponsibility regarding such a sensitive subject. Opinio said the prime minister has over- reacted and stressed that the speech clearly was a parody.

Islam is a highly sensitive topic in the Netherlands, especially after the online release last week of a film critical of Islam by a Dutch right-wing lawmaker. The Dutch government has distanced itself from the opinion expressed in the film.

 
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