California judge rejects plea to remove anti-Islam video from YouTube

[JURIST] A judge for the Los Angeles Superior Court [official website] on Thursday denied a request for a temporary restraining order to remove a controversial anti-Islam film on YouTube [media website] that has sparked violent protests throughout the Muslim world. Actress Cindy Lee Garcia brought the claim on grounds of fraud, slander and intentional infliction of emotional distress against the film's producer, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (d/b/a Sam Bacile), as well as YouTube parent company Google [corporate website], but Judge Luis Lavin declared that Garcia had not shown a likelihood to prevail on the merits of her allegations.Though the movie, titled Innocence of Muslims [BBC backgrounder], is a spoof film, its characterization of the Prophet Mohammed as a fool and womanizer incited a rapid and violent uprising in the Middle East, including an attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left US Ambassador Christopher Stevens [WP obituary] and three other Americans dead. Overall, protests throughout Benghazi and Egypt led to more than 200 injuries, while protests in Yemen led to one death and an additional 15 injuries.

On Wednesday UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai [official website] condemned the recent violence [JURIST report] that erupted after the film's release. Kiai stated that protests and rallies must be peaceful to be protected by international human rights law and urged the Middle East states to prosecute those responsible for the violence. Last week, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] urged religious and political leaders [JURIST report] to encourage an end to the violence that followed the release of the film. While Pillay said she "fully understand[s] why people wish to protest strongly against" the film, she "utterly condemn[s]" the violence that has resulted from the protests. Also last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [official website] declared that the US had nothing to do with the anti-Muslim film [Reuters report] despite its apparent production in America, in turn labeling it disgusting and reprehensible.

 

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