(MENAFN - Arab News) Filipino expatriates were relieved to learn that the Supreme Court in the Philippines has stopped the public screening of the anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims" in the country.
The video, which could be viewed on YouTube, triggered a series of violent protests in Arab countries. One led to the death of US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. The film mocks Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a "fraud, womanizer and child abuser." Even his sworn enemies testified to the Prophet's impeccable character, honesty and highest standards of moral conduct.
A Filipino local newspaper reported on Monday that Muslim communities all over the country had raised funds to file a petition before the Supreme Court pleading to make the government stop the screening of the video.
Saleh Ampaso Bucay, concurrent chair of the Federation of Maranao Associations in Saudi (FEMAS) and the AMSUDA International in Riyadh, said, "Freedom of speech is definitely not in question. However, there is a mixture of confusion and anger over how it is being applied."
"I strongly believe that protections for open expression were abused by this blasphemous film" he added, pointing out that it was a double thumbs up to Chief Justice Sereno for her landmark decision of banning the film.
An OFW accountant based in Jeddah, Abdulhalim Yusoph, said in response to the insult of the beloved Prophet Muhammad, "Let us show the others that the more they insult the Noble Prophet, the more we love him and practice His Sunnah. We should not resort to violence because it is against the way of the Prophet." He added: "Whenever the Noble Prophet is insulted or harmed, he would reciprocate in a good and proper way. In return, those people who would insult and harm him would embrace Islam. This should be the way. In London, they distributed thousands of translated Qur'ans to the British People."
A group's statement, signed by Agakhan M. Sharief, said the blasphemous film is an attack on the faith of two billion Muslims, about 7 to 10 million of who are in the Philippines. It has triggered a continuing Muslim protest in 20 countries resulting in many injuries and the loss of lives of Muslims and non-Muslims alike."
The group lamented Philippine President Benigno Aquino's pronouncement that the film could not be banned out of respect for freedom of expression.
"By refusing to block this despicable film on YouTube, it appears that President Aquino would risk giving more priority to the 'freedom of expression' of the alien, monstrous mind that created the film rather than advance the cause of national reconciliation and peace between Muslims and Christians, Bangsamoro and Filipino, in Mindanao and Sulu."