BRDO PRI KRANJU, Slovenia (AP) EU foreign ministers sharply rejected the views in a new anti-Quran film, saying Saturday it equates Islam with violence, but defended the right of a maverick Dutch lawmaker to make it.
The 15-minute film by Geert Wilders, head of the Party for Freedom, was released Friday on the Internet.
"Fitna" Arabic for ordeal portrays Islam as targeting Western democracy with violence and has prompted denunciations from Muslim capitals and street protests in Pakistan.
The 27 EU foreign ministers said "all governments must do their utmost to restrain violence and aggression. "Feeling offended is no excuse for aggression or threats," the ministers said in a statement after a two-day meeting in Slovenia.
Wilders' film portrays Islam as a ticking time bomb. Wilders has said he made the film because "Islam and the Quran are dangers to the preservation of freedom in the Netherlands."
The ministers' statement said "this view is sharply rejected. The vast majority of Muslims reject extremism and violence."
The statement was a show of support for the Dutch government, which disagrees with the tone of Wilders' film, but insists he has a constitutional right to air his views.
"Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are fundamental values which we will not compromise on," it said.
But "freedom of speech should be exercised with respect for the beliefs or convictions of others."
Referring to Islamic extremism, the statement added, "The problem is not religion but abusing religion as a pretext for sowing hatred and intolerance."