Sat, Sep 22, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Flag-stomping rally staged near grounds of Taipei mosque

RELIGIOUS PROTEST:Muslims from several nations, including Iran and Indonesia, gathered to decry a recent film which satirizes Mohammed

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Following more than a week of Islamic global protests, dozens of Muslims in Taiwan rallied outside the Taipei Grand Mosque yesterday, protesting the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims as well as publications of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Holding up signs saying “Freedom of speech is not the freedom to insult” and “We love Mohammed” — among others — Muslims from dozens of countries including Taiwan, Pakistan, India, Indonesia and Iran gathered outside Taipei Grand Mosque following the Jumah prayer session yesterday.

They chanted slogans praising Allah and the Prophet Mohammed while urging a cease to the insults poured on the religious prophet.

The film Innocence of Muslims, produced by California-based Sam Bencile, depicts Mohammed as a womanizer, a homosexual and a child abuser and described a donkey in the film as “the first Muslim.”

It was later reported that the real name of the film’s writer and producer is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian.

“We are here to voice our opposition to the insults of Islam by anyone or any country, especially when such insults are made based on false information,” a Taiwanese Muslim, Shen Tai-fu (沈台福), said.

“Any educated person should know to look at the facts before saying anything,” he added.

“Any Muslim would feel humiliated by the film and the cartoons,” said Nadeen Ahmed, an Indian Muslim. “How can they do this?”

A Pakistani Muslim, Shuiab Ahmed Qureshi, said that all human beings and all religions deserve respect.

“Everyone should enjoy freedom of speech, but that doesn’t mean they have the freedom to insult,” Qureshi said. “We Muslims respect Jesus as a prophet — Christians should show the same respect too.”

Some protesters brought a home-made US flag and a French flag for demonstrators to step on.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Muslim Association issued a statement of protest and urged the US government to stop the film’s producer, Bacile, from continuing to carry out an act that upsets world peace while requesting that YouTube remove the film from its Web site.

“How could a country that promotes democracy and freedom gain the trust of the international community if its laws allow injuries to be made to the core values of a religion and the values of fairness and justice upon which the country is founded?” the statement said.

The statement called on Muslims to refrain from conducting any acts of revenge or harm to the innocent which could otherwise become an excuse for others to smear the image of Islam.

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