By
updated 4/8/2008 2:43:23 PM ET 2008-04-08T18:43:23

Indonesian Internet companies blocked access to YouTube and MySpace on Tuesday, heeding a government order aimed at stopping people from watching a film critical of the Quran.

The 15-minute film, created and posted by Dutch anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders, has been available on blogs and file-sharing sites since March 27.

The Indonesian information ministry last week ordered Internet service providers to block site where Wilders' film appears because it "could disturb relations between the faiths."

The order lasts until the Web sites remove the film.

"We are hoping for understanding from Internet users," said ministry spokesman Suprawoto, who uses a single name. "This is not just an issue for Indonesia, this is a universal one."

The country's main Internet providers all said they had temporarily blocked YouTube, MySpace, Google Video and other file-sharing Web sites.

Some Indonesians, especially people who use those sites for business, protested the block.

Budi Dhima wrote on local Web site Detik.com that she made a living selling Muslim dresses and headscarves via Multiply, one of the blocked sites.

"I'm going to go bankrupt!" she said. "My customers are on Multiply."

Thailand blocked YouTube for four months last year because of clips it deemed offensive to its king. The ban was lifted after YouTube's owner, Google Inc., agreed to bar from YouTube any videos that break Thai laws or offend the Thai people.

In February, YouTube was inaccessible in many countries for several hours after the government of Pakistan ordered Internet providers to block it, citing clips in which it said Wilders made denigrating remarks about Islam.

Pakistan had called for a block of YouTube only within that country; the larger block was accidental, according to a senior manager at Renesys Corp., a U.S. company that tracks the pathways of the Internet.

Wilders' film intersperses scenes of recent terror attacks with verses from the Quran, Islam's holy book, and speeches from Islamic extremists calling for attacks on non-Muslims. It has been condemned as racist and misleading by governments around the world.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation, but its government is secular. Hard-line interpretations of the faith generally do not attract much support in Indonesia.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has condemned the film, and there have been several small street protests against it, as there have been in the Netherlands.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments