Muslims to ask SC to ban showing of anti-Islam movie in PHBy Ryan D. Rosauro
OZAMIZ CITY, Philippines – Muslims in Lanao del Sur are taking their battle against the “anti-Islam” film “Innocence of Muslims” to the Supreme Court.
Several Maranao leaders will petition the high court, on Monday (Sept. 24), to order several government agencies to “ban the public viewing” of the controversial film that has angered Muslims worldwide because of its “insulting depiction” of Prophet Mohammad.
“We abhor violence that is why we are seeking legal succor to put a stop to this attack on Islam in the guise of freedom of expression,” Aga Khan Mangondato Sharief, one of the petitioners, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone.
Among others, Sharief said, the petition would be directed at the Department of Transportation and Communications, National Telecommunications Commission, and the Movies and Television Review and Classification Board so that these agencies could “take the necessary measures to block the film” from being shown “at least in the country.”
Sharief also called on Internet companies like Google to block the film from its sites.
Lawyer Bayan Balt, counsel for petitioners, said the film’s content represented a “substantial invasion of the free exercise of religion.”
“Apart from constituting no merit, the film incites hatred (among the Muslim populace) which could be taken advantage of by radicals and terrorists,” Balt explained.
Banning public viewing of the film, he added, should also be a way for government to further build confidence with the Moro people “especially at a time when peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is nearing a positive conclusion.”
“The Muslim world will be very happy to see our country taking steps to quell anti-Islamic activities,” Balt stressed.
During Friday prayers in Marawi City, local religious leaders urged the faithful to contribute at least one peso to help defray the costs related to the Supreme Court petition.
Sharief said they have gathered at least P60,000, all in one-peso coins, “symbolic of the widespread sentiment here against the film.”
“We will pay the Supreme Court docket fees in one-peso coins to symbolize our bringing before it the collective voice of the Maranaos,” he added.
Last Sept. 17, Maranao protesters burned giant replicas of the American and Israeli flags to show disgust at the film produced by a California-based filmmaker. At first, news spread that the producer was Jewish or that the film had Jewish donors. The FBI learned later that the producer is an immigrant from Egypt who is a Coptic Christian.
Tags: Freedom of expression , Global Nation , Google Philippines , Innocence of Muslims , Islam , Judiciary , justice and rights , Maranaos of Mindanao , Moro Islamic Liberation Front , Movies , Movies and Television Review and Classification Board , National Telecommunications Commission , peace negotiations , peace process , Peace Talks , Philippine Government , Philippines , prejudice , Protests , Security , Supreme Court