Appeal for calm over film insult protest in Bradford City centre (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Objectors urged to stay calm during major gathering to protest about 'anti-Islamic' film in centre of Bradford today
Mosque leaders are calling for calm at today’s city centre protest against an American made ‘anti-Islam’ film they say attacks their faith and insults their Prophet Muhammed.
Thousands of Muslims are expected to meet in Centenary Square at 3.30pm to publicly voice the hurt they feel at the film made by the American Coptic Church which has triggered protests, across the world.
An urgent meeting between Bradford Imams’ Forum (BIF) and the Council for Mosques (CFM) was convened late on Wednesday to discuss security measures to make sure the protest stays safe and peaceful.
Members of BIF had earlier raised concerns the protest might shatter race-relations in Bradford and do more harm than good.
But in a statement yesterday it said: “After a productive meeting, BIF has been reassured and will support this peaceful protest organised by the Council For Mosques. BIF always puts law and order first as it is vital for the peace of our beautiful city of Bradford.
“We would like to take this opportunity to appeal our youth to keep calm as we believe peace is the hallmark of Islam.”
The Council For Mosques has sent letters to leaders of other faiths inviting them to speak.
Its chief executive Mohammed Saleem Khan said: “The purpose is for us to unite in our call for faiths to be respected and tolerated. We want to see new legislation brought in to protect religions so people can not cast abuse.”
However, Bradford Muslim Women’s Council says it believes there are more constructive and positive ways to engage with the issues of free speech.
Its chairman Bana Gora said. “If some Muslims give a knee-jerk reaction, they give unnecessary weight to this film. The MWC is calling on all tolerant individuals to condemn all acts of religious intolerance.”
The Bradford Diocese said the Bishop would not be attending as he was at a conference in Germany.