MANILA, Philippines–Various Muslim communities all over the country have raised funds to file a petition before the Supreme Court to ask that it compel the government to stop the screening of the controversial video “Innocence of Muslims.”
Called “Piso for Muhammed,” Muslims in Marawi City and other areas in Mindanao contributed money in mosques to be able to afford payment of docket fees before the high court.
“This is a people’s initiative that seeks legal remedy to an injustice whose ramifications, if not addressed accordingly, could extend to the still unresolved armed conflict in Mindanao and Sulu,” a statement issued by the group said.
The statement, signed by Agakhan M. Sharief, said “the blasphemous film is a vicious attack on the faith of two billion Muslims, about 7 to 10 million of whom are in the Philippines, that has triggered a continuing massive protest by Muslims in 20 countries resulting in many injuries and loss of lives to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.”
The group said the film was an upfront to the Islam faith and the prophet Muhammed.
The group also lamented President Benigno Aquino’s pronouncement that the film could not be banned out of respect for freedom of expression.
“By refusing to block this despicable film on YouTube, it appears that President Aquino would risk giving more priority to the ‘freedom of expression’ of the alien, monstrous mind that created the film rather than advance the cause of national reconciliation and peace between Muslims and Christians, Bangsamoro and Filipino, in Mindanao and Sulu.”
Datu Haj Ansari Alonto, one of the petitioners, said the government should honor the ‘parameters’ of such freedom.
“Freedom of expression ba yung siraan mo yung kabilang relihiyon? Alam mo nagkakagulo na, marami nang namamatay na tao (Is it freedom of expression when you denigrate one’s religion? You know there has been an uproar and that people have already died),” Datu Haj Ansari Alonto said.
“That is not freedom of expression, that is freedom of assassination. You are assassinating somebody, you are assassinating the character of the prophet (Muhammed),” he added.
The group said they want respect and understanding. They want to live harmoniously with people from other religions.
“Islam for us, Muslims, is not only a religion. Islam is a way of life, Islam is our life,” Alonto said.
The group will file the petition Monday while the members are trooped outside the Supreme Court.
The 14-minute video which was posted on YouTube has sparked Muslim demonstrations and incidents of violence all over the globe.