Far-right German group plans to show anti-Islamic film

The Guardian, September 16, 2012

A far-right Islamophobic group in Germany has said it wants to screen the anti-Islamic film that has sparked deadly protests across the Muslim world.

The Pro Deutschland Citizens’ Movement has already posted the trailer for Innocence of Muslims, which insults the prophet Muhammad, on its website. Now it says it wants to stage a screening of the film in Berlin.

“For us, it’s a question of art and freedom of expression,” Manfred Rouhs, the group’s head, told Der Spiegel magazine.

The authorities are determined to use whatever legal means at their disposal to prevent the move. “Such groups and organisations only want to provoke Germany’s Muslims,” the interior minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich, told the magazine. He accused them of “recklessly pouring oil on the fire”.

Ruprecht Polenz, foreign policy expert for the ruling Christian Democrats, has said the authorities should examine whether the film can be banned under a law that forbids religious insults.

Speaking to Deutschland Radio on Saturday, Polenz said that Pro Deutschland’s action could endanger Germans abroad. “It is, therefore, absolutely irresponsible.”

Last month members of the far-right group held demonstrations outside three Berlin mosques, during which they brandished controversial cartoons of the prophet Muhammad published in 2005 by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

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