INTERPOL have issued a statement regarding the arrest warrants that Egypt have issued over the anti-Islam film, ‘Innocence of Muslims’ which has caused violence around the globe.
INTERPOL stated that they would not be able to become involved as it would violate their own constitution due to the organisation non-involvement in cases that would intervene with activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.
LYON, France – There have been media reports that Egyptian authorities have ordered the arrest of certain US-based Egyptian Coptic Christians for their alleged involvement in the production of an anti-Islam video and that the Egyptian authorities purportedly will use INTERPOL channels to seek their arrest.
As of Tuesday 18 September, the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters is not aware of any request from Egyptian authorities seeking the arrest of any individual wanted in connection with the production of the aforementioned anti-Islam video.
Were such a request to be received, it would be reviewed by INTERPOL’s Office of Legal Affairs to determine whether it violated Article 3 of INTERPOL’s Constitution which forbids the Organization from undertaking ‘any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character’.
INTERPOL’s mission is to support each of its 190 member countries in combating all forms of serious crime, but only if it can do so in compliance with its Constitution, rules and regulations.
Therefore, while certain conduct might be illegal under the laws of any particular INTERPOL member country, any request for international police cooperation via INTERPOL channels to seek the arrest internationally of a wanted person, must be in compliance with INTERPOL’s Constitution, rules and regulations.
Egypt issued the arrest warrants for seven Coptic Christians (including one woman) who were allegedly involved in the anti-Islam film, ‘The Innocence of Muslims’ as well as US-based Florida pastor Terry Jones. Mr Jones gained international notoriety in 2010 with his plan to burn Qur’ans, the scripture of the Islamic religion, on the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. He later backed down from the book burning after US Defence officials said that his actions may directly endanger US service personal serving overseas.
The incendiary film trailer that has sparked the huge unrest in the Muslim world was written and produced by 55yr old Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who also uses the pseudonym Sam Bacile. He originally used the pseudonym Sam Bacile when identifying himself to reporters as an Israeli-Jew, who had collected $5 million from Jewish friends to fund the movie. At least parts of the film were recorded in his own home, and the original script for the film was written whilst he was in prison. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is a southern California film-maker whose whereabouts are currently unknown. The actors involved with the film were unaware that the film was about the prophet Mohammed. One of the actresses got the part after answering an advert on Craigslist. The film is still available to watch on YouTube, of which one has received close to 11 million views in just under a week. The film itself though is of very poor quality.
So far the following countries have asked Google to remove the video:
Russia has also asked that the film be blocked as well, which is mainly due to a new law in that country that states ‘any digital content deemed extremist or offensive will be put on a nationwide blacklist and blocked by all internet service providers in the country. This means that just because of one video, the whole of Russia may have YouTube blocked completely. The new law doesn’t actually come into effect though until November 1st 2012, so if a decision is made to block YouTube, then it may happen just after then.
“It sounds like a joke, but because of this video… all of YouTube could be blocked throughout Russia,” Russian Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov wrote on Twitter.
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia said the website (YouTube) would be blocked if Google did not agree to remove links to the film. In a statement released via the state press agency SPA, the Saudi Arabian Communications and Information Technology Commission said that
“This is considered a duty imposed by our true religion on every Muslim, necessitating the prevention of any blaspheming reports to our Prophet (peace be upon him) and to our true religion,”.
Saudi citizens and expats are also being asked to notify the communication officials of any links they find leading to the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ film. Images of the Prophet Mohammed are forbidden in Islam.
Google rejected a request from The White House to remove the film, stating that they will take action to comply with local law but will not bow to political pressure.