German minister condemns far-right plan to show anti-Islam film

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 18, 2012 12:35 PM
German minister condemns far-right plan to show anti-Islam film

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's foreign minister on Tuesday condemned plans by a far-right group to show a film mocking the Prophet Mohammad that has sparked deadly protests across the Islamic world.

A far-right group known as Pro-Deutschland, which has protested outside mosques around the country, announced last week it planned to show the film in Berlin, but admitted it had not found a cinema willing to hold the screening.

"Those perpetrating the violence in Arab countries represent their people as little as these far-right activists represent Germany," Guido Westerwelle told reporters.

"We shouldn't fall for those who sow the seeds of confrontation and conflict through violence, extremism, intolerance and fundamentalism."

German law guarantees freedom of expression but not beyond the point where people feel insulted, said Westerwelle, who has decried the film as an "anti-Islamic hate video". He said authorities would weigh whether to ban any screening.

Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has said it was not a question of banning the film but rather of banning any public screening due to the security risk.

The government last weekend issued a ban on U.S. pastor Terry Jones entering Germany, after Pro-Deutschland sought to invite him. Jones angered Muslims with threats to burn the Koran in 2010 and has lent his support for the film.

Some German politicians warned that in forbidding the film to be shown, Germany would be sacrificing its free speech laws and pandering to extremists.

Senior Greens politician Volker Beck told Taz newspaper the film was tasteless nonsense but did not break any laws.

Germany is home to four million Muslims, mostly of Turkish origin.

(Reporting by Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Rosalind Russell)