By Oliver Pritchard
Muslims at Manchester’s Central Mosque say they will support any protest in the city against the controversial film The Innocence of Islam.
The film, which has sparked riots outside several US embassies leading to scores of deaths including that of the two British soldiers in Afghanistan, portrays the prophet Mohammed as a pedophile and homosexual.
It premiered in June to an audience of less than ten but caused widespread controversy when anti-Islamic Egyptian blogger Morris Sadek translated a section of it into Arabic and distributed it online.
This exposure snowballed with various Arabic TV stations broadcasting segments of the film, leading to outrage among many Muslims and the violent protests over the past week.
Ihtiram Khan, general secretary of the Manchester Central Mosque, said: “Every couple of years a film is made or pictures are released that insults Muslims. We find it very offensive.”
When asked if any protests were planned Mr Khan told MM: “I am not aware of any protest being planned in Manchester but if there is we will participate in them. We support any peaceful protests about this film but we do not condone any violence that may occur.”
The identity of the film maker remains unknown and it is unclear whether they can be charged with any offence under American law.
But Mr Khan has called for their prosecution saying: “We condemn the film makers and the government of the United States who should take some action against them.”
The film has caused widespread protest across Muslim countries with Iran issuing a fatwa against its maker. So far in Manchester there have been no protests but the anger is apparent throughout the Muslim community.