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The Lady of Heaven – Why are Muslim Democratic Protests Framed as Extreme and Dangerous?

The Lady of Heaven – Why are Muslim Democratic Protests Framed as Extreme and Dangerous?

Categories: Latest News

Saturday June 11 2022

This month, cinemas across the country began showing The Lady of Heaven, a sectarian hate film. The film, which seeks to disrespect figures revered in Sunni Islam purposefully, has been roundly condemned by mainstream Sunni and Shia voices as an attempt to sow sectarian discord.

In response to cinemas continuing to showcase the film, sections of the Muslim community have launched a protest movement. People have the democratic right to support or oppose this protest movement. However, attempts to frame this movement as dangerous and harmful exemplify structural Islamophobia. Despite the protests being peaceful with no police arrests for public disorder, the protesters have been described in various articles as “angry mobs”, “fanatics” and “aggressive”. Even the Government’s own adviser on social cohesion, Dame Sara Khan described the protesters as “religious mobs” that are a “threat to British democracy”.

There have been numerous instances in the past where members of society have protested against films they have deemed offensive, including Christians protesting against The Life of Brian (1979), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and Dogma (1999). More recently sections of the Sikh community protested against the film Nanak Shah Fakir and domestic violence campaigners protested against the screening of 50 Shades of Grey, both in 2015. Although supporters of free speech opposed these protests, they were not frequently framed as dangerous or threatening. Consequently, the narrative that protests by Muslims are inherently dangerous must be denounced for the Islamophobia it is predicated on.

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