Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) has distanced itself from the remarks made by Director of Muslim Society for Human Rights and Justice (MSHRJ) Sheikh Aman Matiya in reaction to the US anti-Islam Film.
The 14-minute film which is distributed online, depicts the Prophet Muhammad (saw) as a womaniser and a warmonger.
Sheikh Matiya was quoted by an online media as speaking on behalf of MAM. He condemned the video and described it as provocative, disturbing and hateful.
He went on calling the US government to bring to justice the person who made the film.
“As Muslims we condemn the video, it is provocative, disturbing and hateful; I call upon the USA government to bring to justice whosoever made the film.
“This is not the first time our Prophet (peace be upon him) has been ridiculed by our friends in the west. I recall there was the cartoon incident in Denmark and followed by publicly burning of Koran in USA, all the incidents have been aimed at instigating religious intolerance, that is why, as a peace loving religion, we are condemning this video in its strongest terms. I call on the USA to ban it otherwise Muslims across the world are ready to defend and die for their religion.” Matiya wa quoted in the media.
Matiya also said Malawian Muslims are waiting for an official apology from the US government to all Muslim faithful worldwide failing which his organization would mobilize demonstrations outside the US embassy in capital Lilongwe.
However, speaking to Malawi Muslims Official Website MAM National Chairman Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad expressed ignorance on the matter saying MAM has never issued any press release nor asked anyone to speak on their behalf in respect of the inflammatory film.
“The views expressed in the article are (Matiya’s) his own and his organisation but not MAM because (as an organisation) we have never sat down to discuss anything on the issue. Further, the Muslim Society for Human Rights and Justice is not an affiliate of MAM otherwise it could have consulted us first before going to the media. We therefore distance ourselves from the remarks made (by Matiya) and that we are not responsible for any inconveniences this may cause,” said Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad.
The national chairman also took advantage to warn other Islamic organisations which claim to be affiliated to MAM but yet they do things out of its knowledge. He has therefore urged Islamic organisations that claim to be under his association to avoid making such sensitive statement.
“Some organisations claim to be working under MAM but they never consult us in issues of national interest like this…. They only rush to us to be bailed out when they face problems with the authorities – treating MAM as a mere sign post, which is not good,” he lamented.
Matiya has since admitted that he was not speaking on behalf of MAM saying the reporter quoted him out of context.
“What MAM is saying that I was not speaking on their behalf is true. I was speaking on behalf of my organisation Muslim Society for Human Rights and Justice. It is just that the reporter misquoted me. Even the issue of demonstrations, I swear I didn’t mention it and when I spoke to the reporter this morning he confessed that he just included that statement in order to spice up his story which I told him is unfair,” he said.
When asked why he didn’t consult MAM first before granting an interview on such sensitive issue, Matiya said:
“MAM is the umbrella body for all Islamic organisations in Malawi and nobody can dispute that. However, it is just unfortunate that we indeed did not consult it before commenting on this matter of national interest – it is really a mistake.”
Meanwhile, Malawi Muslims Official Website can reveal that after the story, MAM chairman as well Sheikh Matiya have been under fire from the government authorities as well as US Embassy asking them to explain what they meant when they said “Muslims are ready to defend and die for their religion.”
The amateur film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ sparked outrage across the Middle East, North Africa and Asia last week. Many Muslims were infuriated by a clip of the film posted to YouTube that mocked Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. YouTube has since refused to take out the clip.
The independent film was allegedly produced and directed by Sam Bacile, a 56 year-old Israeli-American real estate developer. According to Ynet, Bacile said he raised $5 million from about 100 Jewish donors, whom he declined to identify. On the eleventh anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, controversial pastor Terry Jones released a video promoting the film, which portrays the Prophet in what he described as a “satirical” manner.
Mass demonstrations directed against the US government are being held across the Middle East. The demonstrations have left scores of people injured and others dead, the most prominent casuality being the US Ambassodor to Libya John Christopher Stevens who was killed in his vehicle in Benghazi Libya last Wednesday morning.