Rumours circulate about screening of controversial film 0
A "grassroots Canadian organization'' is hoping to arrange a screening of the controversial film about the Prophet Mohammed in cities across the country, including Vancouver.
Ron Banerjee of Canadian Hindu Advocacy said a press release from the group is expected Wednesday.
"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 Vancouver.
"We have been contacted by people in Vancouver that have shown interest,'' he said. "We can't disclose their names yet because it's not a sure thing.
"We have got emails 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 United States, has triggered a wave of demonstrations and riots in the Middle East and beyond. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, a southern California filmmaker who has previously been convicted of financial crimes, has been linked to the making of the film.
"There is strong interest from Vancouver in screening it,'' said Banerjee. "We have the freedom to show a movie like that and we shouldn't succumb to threats of violence.''
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.
"Free speech is an important value. I think most people will see the movie for what it is, a low-budget attempt to be provocative.''
Local Islamic groups didn't immediately respond to interview requests.