25 September 2012
On the 19th of September 2012, around 100 leading Muslim scholars, spiritual leaders and representatives of major Muslim organizations gathered in Birmingham, “in response to the vilification of Islam by the outrageous film ‘Innocence of Muslims’”. In the gathering, a body called The Muslim Action Forum (MAF) formed to take united action against the movie.
One of the first actions of the MAF was to organize a protest outside the US Embassy in London. The protest took place last Sunday and gathered together around 7,000 Muslims to condemn the movie. Aside from the US government, the MAF also raised criticism against the UK government and politicians for not condemning the movie publicly. Also, they called on the UK government and the UN to take appropriate measures to legislate a law against religious defamation.
MAF spokesman Saraj Murtaza told the Huffington Post UK: “We are genuinely horrified that the government, the Prime Minister and Muslim MPs have not condemned this film or spoken out about it. Even Salman Rushdie has condemned it. It’s absolutely disgraceful. The only route left is the legal route. Petitions and protests can only go so far. We want to ask politicians here in the UK and the UN to take action to protect against religious defamation – any religion, not just insults to Islam.”
Further, the chief executive Mohammed Saleem Khan said: “We have set up to write to the Government, to the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary and the Minister of Communities and call for a law to protect religious rights. We will also be writing to Bishops to the Sikh, Hindu and Jewish faiths asking them to call for this protection from blasphemy. We work closely together on many issues and we need their support on this. We need protection for our faiths in law.”
In another development, around 100 Muslims gathered in the city of Cardiff to protest the movie. Demonstrators, standing under the Aneurin Bevan statue, waved anti-American and French banners.
On the other hand some Muslim organizations such as Oldham Mosques Council (OMC) ruled out the option of protesting against the movie. Instead they decided to lobby MPs and MEPs for international action against attempts to incite religious hatred.