BEIRUT

Middle East

Israeli rabbi condemns anti-Islam film

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: An Orthodox Israeli rabbi and former cabinet minister on Wednesday condemned as "garbage and slime" a film deemed offensive to Islam that has sparked deadly anti-U.S. protests in Libya and Egypt.

"Although freedom of expression and the right to use satire are sacred democratic principles, these freedoms should not be used as an excuse to publish garbage and slime," Michael Melchior, a long-standing advocate of inter-faith dialogue, wrote in a statement.

"The film of Sam Bacile, who identifies himself as a Jew and an Israeli, published under the guise of the 'war on terror,' is in fact a film that tramples upon the faith and dignity of hundreds of millions of Muslim believers and upon Mohammed, the prophet of Islam, in the most degrading and ugly way," he added.

The low-budget movie, "Innocence of Muslims" in which actors have strong American accents, portrays Muslims as immoral and gratuitously violent.

A purported portrayal of the life of the Prophet Mohammed, it touches on themes of paedophilia and homosexuality, and sparked protests in Egypt and violence in Libya that killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three American officials.

It was produced by Israeli-American Sam Bacile, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Israel's interior ministry said that it does not comment on whether or not any individual holds Israeli citizenship.

"As a Jew and an Israeli rabbi, I am ashamed of the demeaning style and language of this film," said Melchior, a former minister of social affairs and deputy foreign minister.

"It goes against the substance of the Torah of Israel and desecrates the name of God."

 

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