‘Take It Down!’ – Muslim Protesters Mob Cinema Showing ‘Blasphemous’ Film in Khan’s London

Demonstrators opposing the publication in France of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad protest outside the French Embassy in London, England, on October 30, 2020. French President Emmanuel Macron has deployed thousands of soldiers to sites including places of worship and schools across France at a time of rising Muslim anger …
David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Muslims in London have mobbed a cinema for showing an allegedly “blasphemous” film already pulled nationwide by one major chain amid safety fears.

Lady of Heaven, which depicts the Islamic prophet’s daughter — obscured by a veil — in a manner some Muslims find displeasing, has already been pulled by the Cineworld chain amid fears for the safety of staff and moviegoers, but remains available elsewhere.

One of the cinemas showing the film, an establishment in Stratford, East London owned by Vue, was mobbed by tens of Muslim picketers demanding it be pulled there as well.

One demonstrator expressed fury at the “blasphemous film”, further alleging that it “portrayed black people as filthy criminals” and declaring: “We want this film to be taken down immediately.”

The film’s executive director, Malik Shlibak, has complained it is “actually unacceptable in this country what they are calling for – that is the removal from this film from the cinemas due to them being offended.”

Vue is yet to announce a Cineworld-style mass purge of Lady of Heaven from its listings, but pushed responsibility for whether or not to risk the wrath of the mob to individual managers in comments to The Independent, saying that “[d]ecisions about how long a film remains on show are taken on a site-by-site basis and based on a variety of commercial and operational factors.”

Dame Sara Khan, the Boris Johnson administration’s so-called Independent Adviser for Social Cohesion and Resilience, complained in a Telegraph article that Cineworld had “bowed to the protestors’ demands… to ‘ensure the safety of our staff and customers’. In other words, this wasn’t a choice – Cineworld was bullied and took action out of fear.”

“It’s easy to criticise Cineworld for its limp response, but questions must be asked over what support it received from local and central government, MPs, and even the police,” she added, in what is likely to be uncomfortable reading for the government and law enforcement officials.

“For years, MPs, local authorities and central government have failed to defend our democratic values with sufficient vigour. I have seen how religious mobs have been appeased, in the hope that protests disperse – a tactic that often works in the short term. But this represents a failure of leadership,” she lamented.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who is himself a Muslim, commented on the fracas on claiming he was “very concerned about the growing cancel culture in this country” — as if the Conservative Party to which he belongs had not been governing it since 2010 while this has happened — and added that there are “people out there who think they have a right not to be offended and of course, no-one has that right.”

This is in fact a somewhat dubious claim, as while Britons do enjoy the right to freedom of expression on paper, causing “gross offence” is indeed a criminal act in the country, as a large number of citizens including comedians have found to their cost after being hauled before judges.

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