A large number of demonstrators has gathered in the streets of several German cities last weekend. Approximately 1000 Muslims have protested against the public show of the “Muhammad movie”, which was perceived as a religious insult. Last week, the right-wing extremist party Pro Germany had announced their intention to show the movie in a cinema in Berlin.
Reactions from representatives of Muslim communities in Germany were different, but mostly called for a peaceful discussion on the topic.
Aiman Mazyek, the chairman of the Central Council for Muslims in Germany declared that he would not want the video to be banned. The video, which pictures the prophet Muhammad in offensive terms, “only aims at creating hatred and conflict”, he declared. Instead, he said, it is necessary to avoid that and he therefore called for public peace and tolerance. Mazyek called Muslims to stay calm and not to react to the provocation of Pro Germany. He added that the violent protests in the Muslim world are not representative, and do not follow the norms of Islam.
Also Lamya Kaddo, the chairwoman of the Liberal-Islamic league, is against the ban of the movie. In her opinion, sensitive topics such as this one should not become a taboo. To do this, she declared, would not be constructive, but actually lead to an increase of diffidence and hostility towards Muslims.
The Imam Halima Krausen, one of the few female Imams in Germany, has criticized the video as an insult against a religious group. At the same time Krausen, who is also a theologist, declared that violence could not be approved as a just reaction. As a result, she expects an increase of Islamophobia in Germany, as people would not differentiate between regular, ordinary, Muslim citizens and radical Islamists.
The Islam expert Rauf Ceylan also disagreed with the proposal to ban the movie. In his words, this would only upgrade its status and increase its importance.
A more critical position was expressed by Ali Kizilkaya, the speaker of the coordination council of Muslims in Germany. He defined the movie as “deep insult”, which would not be justified by freedom of expression.