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Religious leaders: Blocking anti-Islam Youtube film the right move

Posted on Sep 20, 2012 3:06 PM Updated: Sep 20, 2012 7:39 PM
Screen capture of the Youtube page for the film

Religious leaders today applauded the move by Google to block access in Singapore to the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims.

The Media Development Authority had earlier asked the Internet giant, which owns the video-sharing website Youtube, to restrict access to the video.

As of this morning, anyone attempting to access the video from Singapore was greeted with the message: “This content is not available in your country due to a government removal request.”

Ustaz Mohamed Khair of Sultan Mosque said it was the right move: “The Singapore Government and Google has made the right move, to ensure the video gets blocked... the film is not just an insult to Islam, I see it as an insult to religion as a whole.”

At the same time, they noted that Singaporean Muslims, while hurt by the video, had been acting in a calm and mature fashion.

Mr Nailul Hafiz, chairman of the Kampong Siglap Mosque, said that many had found the video “quite shocking”.
“In the Quran, it says we should not ridicule other religious figures. Moreover, it is not within our Singaporean culture to take it upon ourselves to belittle other religions,” he said.

But the signals he and his staff have received from mosque-goers “have not indicated any violent reactions. We have found no need to counsel anyone so far.”

Ustaz Mohamed Khair added: “Singapore Muslims have responded very well, we have remained unemotional and objective.”

The 13-minute clip has triggered widespread unrest across the Middle East is believed to have been produced by a small group of extremist Christians based in the US.

The decision to restrict access marks one of the few times Google has done so in Singapore.

Its records show very few requests from the Government or from the Courts asking Google to remove content. There were less than 10 requests lodged in all of 2010 and 2011 and none of them were complied with.

Google does not provide detailed breakdowns when there are fewer than 10 content removal requests. It did comply to some requests in 2009 but did not specify what they were.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Home Affairs had said it was taking the “pre-emptive measure” of asking MDA to request that Google block access to the video. It also urged the public not to re-post the video or add comments that may further inflame the situation.

Tags: Youtube, MDA and religion