Report By: Nina Rai
London, Oct. 14, 2012
Two US filmmakers responsible for making the controversial video which maligns Prophet Mohammad have been banned from entering Britain on the grounds that their presence in UK could incite violence and be detrimental to public good.
A clip of the anti-Islam film posted on YouTube triggered outrage, leading to violent protests all over the Muslim world. The shoddy video made on a shoestring budget by an Egyptian Coptic Christian called Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, in a California studio, depicted the Muslim Prophet as a buffoon and sexual deviant.
Among the protests worldwide over the offensive video, the worst hit was Pakistan where 20 people lost their lives in clashes between anti-film protesters and law enforcers last month. The outrage over the video, also led Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, a Pakistani federal railway minister to announce a bounty for killing the film producers, for what he considered as "the sacred duty" of all Muslims.
At a press confernce last month, Bilour said: "I will pay whoever kills the makers of this video $100,000. If someone else makes other similar blasphemous material in the future, I will also pay his killers $100,000." Now, both Minister Bilour and the makers of the film "Innocence of Muslims," have been debarred from entering the UK on security grounds, according to a British official.
The British official on Friday told The Daily Telegraph: "We can confirm that Mr. Bilour has been excluded from the UK on the grounds that his being able to enter would not be conducive to the public good." The official also confirmed that they had taken measures to “exclude two of those involved in the making of the film, 'The Innocence of Muslims,' on the same grounds.”
The unnamed official went on to say that the UK government “makes no apologies for refusing people access to the UK if we believe they might seek to undermine our society… Coming here is a privilege that we refuse to extend to those who seek to incite violence," he added.
Meanwhile, Bilour has reportedly brushed aside the ban and said he stood firmly by what he said. The minister, who visited Britain in 2011, told the Dawn, he was unperturbed by the decision as it would save him precious pounds. “I have already spoken my mind to the UK diplomat who delivered a letter to me that I don’t care and anyone daring blasphemy will face the Prophet’s (PBUH) lovers,” declared Bilour.
The provocative clip was first uploaded on YouTube in July and had made very little waves then. However, it was only when on Sept., 11 it was broadcast by Arabic TV stations, that it triggered off a spate of demonstrations, especially among Muslim nations.
Despite the outrage, Google, the owners of YouTube have refused to remove the offensive video. But they have restricted its access to Egypt and Libya after protesters surrounded US consulates. Some countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh have already blocked the said inflammatory video.
Opinion: What is a bit surprising is this belated action on part of Britain to ban the film makers of the anti-prophet film and anyone announcing a reward for killing the film-makers and preaching violence in general. In fact, it's been weeks since Pakistan Minister offered the $100,000 bounty for the anti-Islam filmmakers.
It may be noted that when there were violent demonstrations worldwide over the 14-minute sacrilegious clip, Britain did not even condemn it, not even after Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, censured it as a “hateful film” apparently “deliberately designed to sow bigotry and bloodshed.”
However, now they must have looked at the issue quite seriously and come to the conclusion to enforce the ban. According to reports, the decision apparently has been taken at a high-level meeting with Britain’s home secretary, Theresa May, who decided particularly in Bilour’s case that his presence in the UK would not be “conducive to the public good.”
Even if the said ban is a belated decision, it’s a pragmatic step taken by the British government. They surely must have realized the sensitivity of the matter and not looked at it merely as a freedom of expression issue. Clearly the government there must be aware of the harm anyone connected to the film may do to race relations. They could also pose serious threats to their national interests in the future.
Source: Telegraph.co.uk/The Dawn/Geo TV
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