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NZ Muslims restrained over anti-Islamic film

Monday 17 Sep 2012 6:06 p.m.

By Adam Ray

An Auckland man has received hate emails, because he has a website with the same name as the American company that made an inflammatory anti-Muslim movie.

But Hasib Shakur has no connection with the movie which has provoked a violent response in many countries, although not in New Zealand.

Britain's become the latest country to see Muslim protests against an anti-Islamic film made in the United States. It follows a weekend of violence that included police being injured in Sydney.

The angry response there is in direct contrast to the muted reaction from followers of Islam here.

Six people have been arrested after violent protests near the US consulate in Sydney. They were Australian Muslims, part of an international wave of fury over a low quality anti-Islam film.

But New Zealand's Muslims have been quiet with the US embassy in Wellington left alone. Anwar Ghani from the Federation of New Zealand Muslims says there is no need for action.

“Our faith teaches the need for restraint. It is that quality that we really need to draw upon.”

New Zealand has about 55,000 Muslims. Some wanted to protest, but accepted a call for calm.

“By and large we have had discussions and decided there was no need to have a demonstration,” Dr Ghani says.

The film offends Muslims here but they say it's the work of individuals, not the US government, “with no purpose other than to incite violence and division” Dr Ghani says.

Muslims elsewhere seem less convinced the US government had no part in making the film. About 300 joined a protest outside the US embassy in London. In the Turkish capital the US flag was burned by an angry crowd. Afghan protesters torched an image of the US president.

It's not just the US government being wrongly accused of supporting the movie. Mr Shakur runs the Media for Christ website in Auckland. Unluckily for him, it has the same name as the company that made the anti-Islam film.

But Mr Shakur says he's not worried for his safety - and he's so far away from the violence overseas.

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