September 18, 2012
Group plans to screen 'Innocence of the Muslims' across Canada
By Jim Morris, QMI Agency
VANCOUVER – A "grassroots Canadian organization" is hoping to arrange a screening of the controversial film about the Prophet Mohammed in cities across the country.
Ron Banerjee of Canadian Hindu Advocacy said Canadians want to see Innocence of the Muslims.
"It's not a Hindu group," Banerjee said in a telephone interview from Toronto. "It's a regular Canadian grassroots organization."
Banerjee said his advocacy group — which he claims has "several hundred members and supporters across Canada" — has received several inquiries about screening the movie in Canadian cities.
"We have got e-mails and phone calls from organizations in 13 different cities in both Canada and the U.S. that are interested in doing a simultaneous screening. The trouble is we are all trying to find the original copy of the film. That's a little difficult given the peculiar circumstances of the producer of the film."
The anti-Islam video, produced in the U.S., has triggered a wave of demonstrations and riots in the Middle East and beyond. It portrays the Prophet Mohammed as a child molester.
"We have the freedom to show a movie like that and we shouldn't succumb to threats of violence,” said Banjeree.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, a southern California filmmaker who has previously been convicted of financial crimes and meth dealing, has been linked to the making of the film.
The cast since claimed Nakoula lied to them about the nature of the movie, and dubbed the anti-Muslim dialogue in later. One actress has threatened to sue him.
David Eby, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said that just because the movie "is in poor taste" doesn't mean any screening should be blocked.
"We are a free speech organization," Eby said. "We support the idea that people can screen the movie of their choice, however distasteful.”
Local Islamic groups didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.