Muslim Censorship Campaign Against ‘Blasphemous’ Film Backed by UK Govt Islamophobia Advisor

Imam Qari Asim, Facebook
Imam Qari Asim, Facebook

The British government’s advisor on Islamophobia has been revealed to support the Muslim protests against a supposedly “blasphemous” film that has been cancelled by cinemas over fears of violent retributions.

Imam Qari Asim has joined calls for the Muslim-written Lady of Heaven to be cancelled as it “caused much pain and hurt to Muslims,” The Telegraph reported.

Qari Asim, who was appointed as the British government’s “Islamophobia advisor” in 2019 as one of the final acts of the Theresa May administration, admitted to working with “brothers and imams” throughout the country to “liaise” with cinemas.

“As a community, in some places we have been successful and those cinemas will no longer be showing the movie, in other places negotiations are still ongoing,” he said.

“Some imams have taken a view to protest and others are in dialogue with the cinemas trying to resolve the situation. Different approaches, rooted in our universal values, are necessary, as always.”

The government advisor claimed that “all agree” that the film is “derogatory” towards Muslims and uses “sectarian and racist narratives.”

“Freedom of speech is important and all citizens should be able to exercise their freedoms within the law. This movie could potentially fuel hatred, sectarianism and extremism, which none wants to see in our country, and we must all avoid that.”

The Head Imam of the Makkah mosque in Leeds has previously sided with censorship efforts to protect the sensitivities of the Muslim community in Britain, declaring that showing depictions of Mohammed’s face should be as socially unacceptable as using the “n-word“.

Lady of Heaven has spurred yet another debate on free speech and blasphemy in Britain after cinema chains bowed to pressure and cancelled screenings.

The film, written by Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh al-Habib, has enraged Sunni Muslims over presenting historically contested accounts of the life of Mohammed’s daughter Fatima. The movie has also received backlash over its use of computer-generated images to display the Islamic prophet’s face, which is considered blasphemous by some in the faith.

In response there have been protests staged throughout the country outside of cinemas continuing to dare to show the film.

One protester said earlier this week: “Birmingham will not tolerate the disrespect of our prophet and there will outcomes from your actions. You will have repercussions for your actions. We have been trained from birth that we must defend the honour of our prophet and we will lay our life on the line.”

The comments from the government’s Islamophobia advisor come in contrast to the Johnson administration’s Independent Advisor for Social Cohesion, Sara Khan, who has criticised police as well as local and central government officials and elected represmtatives for not properly defending “democratic values”.

“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 wrote this week.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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