LONDON, March 14 (Reuters) - Is Europe learning any lessons from a series of harsh collisions between free speech and the religious sensibilities of Muslims?

The next few weeks may provide an answer, as the Netherlands gears up for the release of a short film, expected to be fiercely critical of Islam, by right-wing politician Geert Wilders who has called the Koran a "fascist" book.

Past experience is not encouraging: in 2004 a young Dutch militant Islamist stabbed to death a director who had made a film attacking the treatment of women in Islam. Danish newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad -- one showing him with a bomb in his turban -- provoked a wave of Muslim anger around the world which erupted in 2006 and is still simmering today.

The Dutch are taking no chances -- last week they raised their terrorism alert level for fear of a militant Islamist attack in response to the Wilders film.

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