MOSCOW, October 1 (Itar-Tass) — Moscow City’s Tverskoi district court has passed a ruling to classify the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ movie as an extremist one and to ban its display on TV channels all across Russia.
By passing its verdict, the court entertained a petition by the Moscow City Prosecutor’s Office, which sought to ban the public presentations of the movie as an extremist material.
Prosecutor Viktoria Maslova, who made public the position of the Prosecutors’ Office said: “The movie covers the Islamic religion in a discouraging light and it might push religious intolerance in the Russian Federation to a new level.”
Also, she quoted some expert opinions suggesting that the movie, which was filmed by amateurs in the U.S., contains extremist materials.
Conclusions drawn up by the Prosecutor’s Office says the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ aims to misrepresent Islam as a degenerative religion and to incite the feelings of hatred and superiority of some groups of people over other groups.
Prosecutor Maria Korobkova also supported the request to ban the film from TV channels. She said the prosecutors’ demands were based on the findings of experts from Russia’s Institute for the Studies of Culture.
“The experts who provided substantially grounded conclusions testify to the presence of extremist motives and the willingness to foment strife in the movie,” she said.
The movie was shown in the courtroom, and the Prosecutor’s Office summoned an interpreter for this purpose, who attended the court procedures as an eyewitness summoned for questioning.
“Maybe some people in the Prosecutor’s Office didn’t understand the creative endeavors of the authors?” Justice Yevgeny Komissarov asked the people attending the court session. “Maybe, it’s a ma nifestation of arts, not extremism?”
Researchers from the Institute for the Studies of Culture confirmed that the movie “contains calls for violence, animosity, hatred, and extremist actions.”
“The linguistic and visual content of the movie seeks to breed aggression and resentment and contains the expressions of non-acceptance based on the religious criterion,” said Dr Natalya Kryukova, a deputy director of the institute.
Mikhail Odintsov, a representative of Russia’s Ombudsman for Human Rights voiced disagreement with the request filed by prosecution and asked the court to refrain from taking any actions on it.
As he provided explanations for his position, he said the hearing of the prosecutorial petition in the courtroom under a special procedure encroached on the civil rights of legal entities promoting the movie and the individuals who had authored it.
Russia enacted a Federal Law on Counteraction to Extremism about ten years ago. Article 13 of the law says any informational material in Russia can be recognized as an extremist one if a court answers the prosecutors’ request and classifies it as an extremist one.
In this case, the material in question is placed on a specialized federal list and gets into a ‘banned’ category on the entire territory of the Russian Federation.