German politicians are divided over whether or not to ban the public screening of the anti-Islam movie "The Innocence of Muslims" which has caused a wave of attacks on US diplomatic missions around the world in recent days, Jewish One News reports. A screening planned by the far-right Pro Deutschland party is to take place at a cinema in Berlin which has provoked discussions regarding how to balance freedom of speech versus concerns over public safety.
Social Democrat MP Martin Hartmann told reporters, "It is an extremely disgusting video which deeply offends one of the world's major religions. Christians have had to endure this too without us being able to prohibit anything. I believe that in Germany, freedom of speech is valued so highly that (an attempt to ban the movie) would not hold up in court."
German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich stated that he hopes the authorities in Berlin will prevent screening of the film in the name of guaranteeing public safety and good relations with the Arab world. Angela Merkel has also stated she is opposed to allowing any screening of the movie, but other MPs have come out against any ban on screening the movie.
Germany's Green Party MP Cem Oezdemir opined, "I believe that (any) religion needs to tolerate criticism and sometimes, even mockery. (The religion of) Islam isn't the only religion (having to tolerate this), I'm thinking of satirical publications here, or movies such as 'The Passion of the Christ' or 'Life of Brian'. Religion needs to bear this."
Protests against the film have erupted worldwide, reportedly resulting in the deaths of at least 50 people. Muslim religious leaders and politicians have called for the movie to be banned and for any perceived insult to Islam to be criminalized. Jewish News One criticizes U.S. President Barack Obama, who it says "refused to come out in support of freedom of speech, instead calling on internet search engine Google to take steps to prevent access to the clip ."
British author Salman Rushdie meanwhile has said he does not think his 1988 novel, The Satanic Verses, would be published in today's world because of an international climate of "fear and nervousness" surrounding anything publication which could be viewed as critical of Islam.