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Volume 551: debated on Tuesday 16 October 2012

Film ‘Innocence of Muslims’

I would like to present a petition organised by several of my local mosques and bearing the signatures of about 8,000 people residing in Pendle. I was presented with the petition at a public meeting on 3 October at Silverman hall in Nelson and promised to make the House aware of the petitioners’ feelings.

The petition states:

The Petition of residents of Nelson, Lancashire and elsewhere,

Declares that the Petitioners believe that the showing in the UK of the film Innocence of Muslims, which the Petitioners believe has blasphemous contents, has deeply offended Muslims not only in the United Kingdom but also throughout the world; further that freedom of speech and the showing or publishing of material in certain instances has been restricted by the UK and that the Government in recent legislation e.g. The Anti-Terror laws, restricted such where it was thought best for the public interest and that this evidences that freedom of speech can be restricted in certain cases; further that the Petitioners believe that the effects of this film have caused racial and religious relations in an already troubled world to deteriorate and has caused people to suffer upset and injured feeling and is an infringement of their religious rights and beliefs; further that, the Petitioners believe films such as this one merely serve to damage efforts to rebuild community relations at time when all communities should be working hard to do so; further that the Petitioners believe such films are therefore not in the interests of public or society as a whole and that the Petitioners believe it is the social responsibility of any government in modern times to prevent such material from being shown or published as it goes against all efforts of promoting world peace.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to legislate to ban the showing of the film Innocence of Muslims in the UK and urges the Government to conduct a comprehensive enquiry to consider and re-introduce a new law against blasphemy, with a view to passing legislation aimed at protecting all religions and races from being subjected to mocking and ridicule.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.