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Posted at 03:44 PM ET, 09/18/2012

German, Canadian groups plan public screenings of ‘Innocence of Muslims’

After an anti-Islam YouTube video set off mass protests around the world, Germany is considering banning a public screening of what a German far-right group says is a full-length version of the film, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Pro Deutschland says it has the full, 74-minute-long version of the incendiary movie and announced plans to have a free public screening in Berlin.

The leader of the group, which is a few hundred members strong, told Der Spiegel, “For us, it’s a question of art and freedom of expression.”
A photo taken on Aug. 18, shows riot police lining up in front of supporters of the far-right group Pro Deutschland demonstration in Berlin. (BARBARA SAX - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a press conference Monday that banning the film’s screening would be justifiable because of public safety issues, Der Spiegel reported.

German interior minister Hans-Peter Friedrich also said he would use “all available legal means” to prevent the showing.

German criminal law states that anyone who publicly “insults the content of the religious or ideological views in a manner likely to disturb the public order, will be penalized with up to three years’ imprisonment or fined.”

German policymakers who are against the screening also told Der Spiegel they fear a repeat of the May clashes between Salafist Muslims and anti-Muslim activists, when members of a local far-right group staged a Muhammad cartoon contest in front a Saudi Arabian school in the western German city of Bonn.

Pro Deutschland also demonstrated near a number of mosques in Berlin last month and brandished caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

A Toronto Hindu group has also said it has the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ and plans to screen the video in order to bring awareness to negative portrayals of Hindus in the media.

“We’ve been laughed at, mocked, denigrated and ignored,” said Ron Banerjee, the Canadian Hindu Advocacy’s director, in the Toronto Star. “Oh, but the Islamic community. We must be very sensitive and tolerant all the time.”

Meanwhile, the Egyptian cleric and talk show host Khaled Abdallah, who was one the first people to broadcast the YouTube video, told ABC that “although he had no regrets, he was ‘shocked’ at the fury spreading through the Muslim world.”

By  |  03:44 PM ET, 09/18/2012

Tags:  World

 
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