KUALA LUMPUR – Amid fury over a US-made film defaming Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him), Muslim leaders in Malaysia called on Monday, September 17, for a mass prayer to show unity and seek the well-being of Muslims around the world.
“As Muslims, we must show our strength and unity in facing this issue together through prayer, which is described as the weapon of the believer,” The Malaysia International Institute of Islamic Cooperation (IKIAM) said in a statement cited by Bernama news agency.
The mass prayer, to be held on Thursday, September 19, will be led by IKIAM and Council of Islamic Non-Governmental Movements of Asean.
Both entities called on the National Mosque to “lead the prayer and follow it up with a special sermon on the issue of assaults and evil propaganda against Islam by irresponsible people.”
The prayers come amid raging fury around the world Muslims over a US film insulting Prophet Muhammad, which left at least nine people killed.
Titled “Innocence of Muslims”, the film, produced by an American-Israeli real estate developer, portrays the Prophet as a fool, philanderer and a religious fake.
The film was posted on YouTube in June but drew attention until last week when an Egyptian-American Copt produced a trailer in an Arabic-language blog post and e-mail newsletter publicizing the movie.
The movie was promoted by US pastor Terry Jones, who angered Muslims in 2010 with plans to burn the Noble Qur’an.
Jones called the film a "satirical" movie on the life of the Muslim Prophet, saying he showed a promotional video trailer after staging a symbolic "trial" of the Prophet.
Malaysian leaders hope that the prayers will show a better cultural face of Muslims, instead of the violent protests against the defamatory film.
Activists said that they “condemn the film, but also called on Muslims to protest peacefully.”
The call for the prayers comes as Google began barring access in Malaysia to the film after the country’s Internet regulator lodged an official complaint.
A spokesman for video-sharing site YouTube, owned by internet giant Google, said it began restricting access to clips of the film Sunday, in line with its community guidelines.
“When videos breach those rules, we remove them,” he told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Monday.
“Where we have launched YouTube locally and we are notified that a video is illegal in that country, we will restrict access to it after a thorough review.”
While condemning the provocative film, Muslim leaders around the world have denounced attacks on foreign diplomatic missions, calling for a measured response to the movie.
Saudi Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Sheikh said Saturday that attacks on foreign embassies over the film run counter to the peaceful teachings of Islam."Such acts damage the Muslim religion, are not permitted by God and are incompatible with the teachings of the Prophet,” he said.
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