Dr. Wilders prescribes another dose of Fitna 
 
On April Fool’s Day, Geert Wilders, leader of anti-Islam party PVV, announced the follow-up to his controversial 2008 film Fitna, which linked Islam to violence and terrorism. Wilders twittered that Fitna II will be about “the barbaric life of the sick mind[ed] Muhammed,” reports PHILIP HOFMAN. 

Discerning readers of weekly magazine HP/De Tijd must have realised Wilders’ typically blunt Twitter announcement of a Fitna sequel was not an April fools prank. In an opinon piece in the 30 March issue of the magazine, Wilders explained “why Islam is a mortal danger.” His magazine column may be a good indication of the contents of his new film, as it deals with the Prophet's mind, just as Fitna II has been promised to do. Muhammad was “the savage leader of a gang of robbers from Medina,” Wilders says in the article. “Without scruples they looted, raped and murdered. The sources describe orgies of savagery where hundreds of people’s throats were cut, hands and feet chopped off, eyes cut out, entire tribes massacred.” The reason for Muhammad’s savage behaviour, even his very status as a Prophet, Wilders argues, is that he suffered from a range of mental disorders, not least of which was a tumor near the brain, which caused hallucinations easily mistaken for divine revelations.
 
Hallucinations
To support his argument, Wilders, who currently stands trial for group insult and inciting hatred and discrimination, quotes a handful of doctors and psychologists who have made judgements about Muhammad’s mental health. A Flemish psychologist by the name of Dr. Herman Somers is quoted by Wilders from his 1992 book The Other Muhammad. He claims that Muhammad, in his forties, suffered from a tumor in the pituitary gland. From the resulting pressure on the brain “people start to see and hear things that are not there,” Somers says. He diagnoses Muhammad’s condition as an “organic hallucinatory affliction with paranoid characteristics.” The historian Theophanes (752-817), who is thought to have been born about 180 years after the Prophet, is drawn on by Wilders because he apparently described Muhammad as an epileptic. Swept along by the medical prose, Wilders slides effortlessly into the role of a medical expert. For instance, when he writes “Epileptic crises are sometimes accompanied by hallucinations, perspiration from the forehead and foaming at the mouth, the very symptoms which Muhammad displayed during his visions.”
 
Psychopath
Further evidence of Muhammad’s mental problems brought to bear by Wilders comes from German medical historian Armin Geus, physician Dede Korkut and a certain Dr. Masud Ansari, who presents himself on the website of his Washington D.C. hypnotherapy practice as a member of the advisory board and fellow of the American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists and an author of 25 books on psychology, philosophy, law, political science, and theology. In his book, Psychology of Muhammad: Inside the brain of a Prophet, Ansari says Muhammad is “the perfect personification of a psychopath in power.” Wilders, once more slipping into a white coat, adds that Muhammad “had an unhinged paranoid personality with an inferiority complex and megalomaniac tendencies. In his forties he starts having visions that lead him to believe he has a cosmic mission, and there is no stopping him.”
 
Taboo
Discussing Muhammad’s mental sanity is a taboo, says Wilders. One “that must be breached in the West, and here in the Netherlands.” The upshot of his medical examination of a man who passed away 1,379 years ago, is that the world’s one and a half billion Muslims unknowingly follow the example of someone who had a diseased and deluded mind. “The consequences of this are horrendous, and can be witnessed on a daily basis,” says Wilders in his HP/De Tijd article. It is time for a public debate about the “true nature and character of Muhammad,” Wilders says, “as it can provide insight and support to Muslims all over the world who wish to leave Islam.” The debate stirred by his 2008 film was dominated by speculation about the offensiveness of its content and the public unrest it could spark at home and abroad. The government repeatedly expressed its concern in the run-up and critics accused it of panicking and scaremongering. When the film appeared, most commentators labelled it as a lame cut-and-paste affair, which dished up widely available YouTube images.
 
Staying philosophical
The debate about the film’s contents petered out fairly quickly. In a recent Radio 1 discussion, Farid Azarkan, chairman the Association of Moroccan Dutchmen (SMN), recalled how desperate journalists rang him on the evening of Fitna I’s internet premiere, to ask if he knew of any Muslims who had done something, anything, to vent their anger. Maybe a kick against a lamp post out of sheer annoyance? He knew of no such incident, because on the whole, Muslims in the Netherlands stayed calm and appeared to shrug their shoulders at Wilders’ film.
The government will surely be hoping that will be the case when Fitna II is screened. But will Dutch Muslims remain philosophical when their Prophet’s sanity is directly called into question? If they do, they have Wilders to thank for it, says David Pinto, a Professor of Intercultural Communication, who is of Moroccan-Jewish descent. Muslims will one day be grateful to Wilders for making them confident to deal with criticism of their religion, predicts Pinto. Muslims praising Wilders, now that would make some film.