23 September 2012
As the reactions against the despicable movie the Innocence of Muslims continue around the World, UK Muslims also join the condemnation of the movie. However, their reactions remain diverse; mainstream Muslim organizations such as Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) and Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) have preferred to keep a low profile due to the killing of the US Ambassador to Libya, and limited their reactions to issuing press releases that condemn the movie. They also demanded that the US ban the movie and bring the producers before justice.
Dr Omer El-Hamdoon, President of MAB which is known to be the UK branch of Muslim Brotherhood, said, “As the international community prepares to propagate messages of peace by celebrating the International Day for Peace (21/9/2012); we find that there are still evil elements who seek to offend, insult and ridicule others; and hence cause instability in the World.”
Further, the statements seemed to be were more focused on condemning the killing of the US Ambassador to Libya. In this regard MCB, a major UK Muslim umbrella organization that represents hundreds of UK mosques, stated that:
“The violence we saw is not in keeping with the teachings of the Prophet, whose honour these people wish to defend. Those who carried out these attacks are in a minority and do not speak for Muslims, or our faith. The death of the US ambassador to Libya is a deep tragedy, particularly as the country is taking its first steps towards democratic transition following the overthrow of dictatorship last year. Whilst this in no way justifies these attacks, the film-maker responsible for this defamatory video mocking Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, should be ashamed of his actions. That Pastor Terry Jones, the so-called Qu’ran burner, in Florida should also be promoting this film is deeply worrying.”
The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS), the largest Muslim student body in the UK higher education system, also condemns the violent protests against the movie.
The attitude of mainstream Muslim organizations has prompted heavy criticism from UK Hizb ut-Tahrir. Dr Abdul Wahid, spokesperson of the organization, expressed their criticism on the reaction of the UK Muslim organizations in a video posted on Youtube. Hizb ut-Tahrir played a leading role in the protests against the movie by organizing a demonstration in front of the US Embassy in London. Around 1000 people joined in the demonstration. Nazreen Nawaz, a spokeswoman for the group said,
“We’re very clear today in saying that no violence against any ambassador or civilians is accepted in Islam. We’re not calling for violent actions here. What we’re saying is that Muslims must protest, and you must understand the anger of the streets in the Muslim world.”
Hizb ut-Tahrir also set up a Facebook campaign called “Our Prophet, Our Honour”. The group is being supported by around 8600 people.
On the other hand, some organization showed a completely different reaction against the movie. Discover Islam UK, a charitable organization, dedicated to promote a better understanding of Islam and clear the common misconceptions, distributed copies of the Qur’an and other Islamic books recounting the life of the Prophet Muhammad and explaining Islamic precepts, in London and some other UK cities to raise awareness about Islam.
Naif Sheikh is a volunteer with Discover Islam stated that “By encouraging non-Muslims to read about Islam, we’re hoping to dispel certain false ideas, which have unfortunately been further disseminated by this awful video.”