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Canada: Ottawa Muslim leader condemns violence over anti-Islamic film


“Islam teaches us about loyalty. The Holy Prophet, may peace be upon him, said loyalty to your homeland is part of your faith. In Pakistan, what’s happening is they are damaging their own property, hurting their neighbours — this is not the way to express your view.”

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: The Ottawa Citizen
By Chloe Fedio | September 30, 2012

The Ottawa leader of a Muslim sect condemned the violent reaction to “an extremely foul and provocative film,” including bloody protests and the storming of a consulate building in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three embassy staff.

During a Saturday evening gathering at the spiritual centre of Ahmadiyya Muslims in Cumberland, Imam Imtiaz Ahmed told members of his congregation that it’s possible to protest peacefully against “The Innocence of Muslims,” a 14-minute amateur film produced in the United States and released online.

“It is a disgraceful and vulgar action of the producer of the film that has caused unrest in the entire Muslim world. Each Muslim is reacting to it — they exhibit momentary passion by burning flags, causing damage and destruction, and attacking embassies,” he said. “By burning flags and burning property of an embassy and by killing an ambassador, do they think that they have had their reprisal? This is indeed against the teaching of Islam. This is not true Islam.”

The Ahmadis are a minority Muslim sect that encourage interfaith dialogue. The congregation in Cumberland is about 500 people, Ahmed said.

Ahmed joined a host of Muslim leaders across the globe that have criticized the defence that the film falls under freedom of speech.

“Any kind of vulgar expression about any sacred person of any religion, for that matter, does not constitute the freedom in any way at all,” Ahmed said.

Last week in London, the world head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat called on all Muslims to unite peacefully in opposition to the film and condemned the violence. Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad also suggested there should be limits to free of speech to protect religious beliefs.

“Let it not be that in the name of free speech the peace of this entire world be destroyed,” he said

Awais Mehmood, president of the Ottawa congregation’s youth association, said he’s concerned about his family members in Pakistan, where AFP reported at least 21 dead and more than 200 injured in clashes about the film over the weekend.

“Islam teaches us about loyalty. The Holy Prophet, may peace be upon him, said loyalty to your homeland is part of your faith,” Mehmood said. “In Pakistan, what’s happening is they are damaging their own property, hurting their neighbours — this is not the way to express your view.”

Yasmin Malik, a leader in the women’s auxiliary, suggested a peaceful alternative.

“Instead of getting out and burning all these things — we don’t believe in it. We strongly believe in writing to get your message out,” Malik said.

— email: cfedio@ottawacitizen.com
— Twitter: http://twitter.com/cfedio

Read original post here: Ottawa Muslim leader condemns violence over anti-Islamic film

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