Muslim Demonstrators Gather Outside English Cinema to Protest Screening of 'Anti-Sunni' Film

Demonstrators in Bradford, in Northern England, protested the screening of Lady of Heaven, a movie described by opponents as an “anti-Sunni sectarian hate film,” on Friday, June 3.

Cineworld later announced the cancellation of screenings of the film across their UK cinemas, according to local news reports, in response to the demonstrations.

Muslim news website 5Pillars described the movie as being “pure, unadulterated sectarian filth,” which would “create sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shias in the UK” if widely distributed.

The film’s website describes it as the “heart-wrenching” story of “Lady Fatima, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad.” According to British media, the Prophet Muhammad’s face is said to be depicted in the film, which was written by Sheikh Yasser al-Habib, a Kuwaiti Twelver Shia scholar, and the head of the London-based Khoddam Al-Mahdi Organization.

This video, posted by 5Pillars, shows the scene in Bradford on Friday, the day of its release. Credit: 5Pillars via Storyful

Video transcript

- [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] O Allah, make this a means of defense of sahaba [INAUDIBLE].

- Amin.

- O Allah, make a means of success in what we have come here for--

- Amin.

- --in getting the movie cancelled.

- Amin.

- O Allah, give [INAUDIBLE] to those who have been a part in getting this movie out. And O Allah, if [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] is not written for them, O Allah, deal with them in the manner they deserve best.

- Amin.

- Allah, O Allah, to the right path.

- Amin.

- O Allah, grant us death upon iman.

- Amin.

- O Allah, grant us [INAUDIBLE].

- Amin.

- O Allah, [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH].

- Amin. Amin.

- O Allah, grant us beautiful water from the house, from the blessed [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH].

- Amin.

- O Allah, increase us in our [INAUDIBLE].

- Amin.

- O Allah, grant us [INAUDIBLE].

- Amin.

- O Allah, O Allah, let this be a means of deen becoming firmer.

- Amin.

- O Allah, let this be a means of our love for sahaba spreading wide.

- [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

- [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH], every single youngster here, O Allah, make him a [INAUDIBLE].

- Amin.

- O Allah, make him call towards the greatness of sahaba.

- Amin.

- O Allah, make him spread [INAUDIBLE] sahaba.

- Amin.

- O Allah, make him be a means of bringing the Shia to Islam.

- Amin.

- O Allah, guide the Shia to Islam.

- Amin.

- O Allah, [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH].

- [INAUDIBLE]

- [INAUDIBLE]

- [INAUDIBLE] just to make the wider audience understand, we are very offended as you can see. We are very insulted. And we have a right not to be insulted. You talk about freedom of speech. But where does your freedom of speech go when it goes to criticizing your policies, when it goes to making critical analysis of your version of history?

Let me give you one example before I finish. If you look in certain countries in Europe, it is forbidden to criticize the Holocaust or to even make a critical analysis whether this event actually occurred in the way that they portrayed or whether there are discrepancies in the version of the story. Where does your freedom of speech go then?

When somebody wants to criticize the state of Israel, the occupier, then these people begin to scream. And they say, no, don't talk like this. But when we stand for our rights and we tell you, you have no right to tell us our history, these people cry freedom of speech.

We will not let this one go on further. We do not insult you or your religion. We do not insult you on your way of life. We say, live yours and we live ours. Live and let live. But once you insult our prophet, [INAUDIBLE].

- [INAUDIBLE]

- You insult his wives. You insult his companions. You insult his family. Then don't think that a Muslim is going to sit quietly. No, he is not.

The Muslim will come out and he will stand for truth. And he will stand for justice. May Allah give us the ability to stand for the [INAUDIBLE] and remain steadfast on the [INAUDIBLE]--

- Amin.

- --and defend the honor of those beloved personalities who spread Islam to the corners of this world. [INAUDIBLE].

[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

- [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

I can't express the grief. I can't express the pain and the burning feeling that I am experiencing at this moment in time inside my heart. If somebody came and they took away my parents, I wouldn't feel like this. If somebody came and burnt my house down, I wouldn't feel like this. If somebody came and took my children, [NON-ENGLISH], I would never ever feel like this.

But coming and attacking the messenger, the messenger of [NON-ENGLISH] in such a derogatory manner, I can't explain my feelings. You will have to look inside my heart. And you'll have to see what is going on inside my heart to know what is happening inside my heart. Allahu Akhbar, words cannot describe it.

You know, my feelings are all over the place. My mind is all over the place. How can somebody come and attack the beloved wife of the Prophet [INAUDIBLE], despite the messenger, [INAUDIBLE], continuously in many iterations warning us again and again, my Aisha, my Aisha, my Abubakar, my Omar, my family, my Fatima, my Ali, my Usman, my Hasan, my Hussein, again and again, expressing his love, expressing his displeasure at abusing them, speaking derogatory about them. [INAUDIBLE], I can't express my feelings.

I mean, this is me, you know, you've got thousands, you've got millions of people out there who are in tears, people who are restless, people who can't eat, people who can't drink knowing that somebody has gone so low rather than taking an academic approach, rather than approaching the scholars, bringing out the books, rather the only shot that they could take at hurting us and trying to get back to us is to put it onto the screen. Yasser Al-Habib, those who follow Yasser Al-Habib, those who support this because I want to make something very clear, not every single Shia will be supporting this. I will guarantee you there will be Shias out there who will be just as upset as us. So rather, I heard about a Shia who's affiliated with the Shia clergy, the Shia sect. And he works in Cineworld.

And today, can you believe, he has taken a day off. He's taken a day off in boycotting. So this is not every Shia. These people are extremists. Yasser Al-Habib and the followers of Yasser Al-Habib, they are an isolated group.

They are a small group who want to infuriate and who want to incite hatred. So my brothers and sisters, please, please do control your feelings. I know it's very, very hard. I know it's very hard. I'm finding it very difficult. I mean, since I found out [INAUDIBLE], I haven't slept properly.

I haven't eaten properly. I've been running after the counselors. I've been running after the MPs, trying to get people here. We've been making videos, calling people, inviting people. Because there's nothing that means more to us, nothing that means more to [INAUDIBLE] than the prophet [INAUDIBLE]. My brother, there's nothing that means more to us than Abubakar and Omar [? Uthman ?] and Ali, Hasan, Hussein, and Fatima and [INAUDIBLE].

There's nothing that means more to us. Taking this away from us, you can take everything away. Take it. It's yours.

Take our life. Take our belongings. Take our parents. Take our children. It doesn't mean anything to us when it comes to the prophet [NON-ENGLISH].

This is my message. Please, please, don't hurt our feelings. If you want to discuss, we are ready to discuss. Let's make it academic. Let's make it polite.

Let's make it a respectful environment. Sit down like brothers and let's talk it over. We can. It's happened before. People have done it.

We don't need to take these measures. So may [INAUDIBLE] give those people [INAUDIBLE]. And if not, may Allah deal with them what is best for them. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

- Basically, to sum up, first and foremost, having somebody depicting the personality, the blessed personality of the holy prophet [INAUDIBLE] who is near and dear to our hearts, this is extremely wrong and disparaging. Because our belief is that there is none like him and none ever will be like him. Therefore, it's an insult to him to try to depict him and act his role.

Secondly, the roles of the noble caliphs of Islam being acted out by Black people, now this is not only an insult to the caliphs by negatively portraying them, you know, by using Black people. It's also an insult to the Black people, the African people that they use those people who they perceive as the baddies, in their eyes, they use Black people for that role. So that's a very negative thing as well and very racist.

- My brothers, [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] even though we are living amongst the luxuries and we are living in 2022 with all the challenges that we are facing, with a single announcement from [INAUDIBLE], so many people have left the jobs and so many people have left their work and so many people have left whatever they were doing and united here standing in the name of [INAUDIBLE], in the name of [INAUDIBLE].

Many of us standing here, we don't even know what the movie is about. We don't even know what's being shown on the screen inside. But we heard that somebody is defaming the [INAUDIBLE], somebody is trying to defame [INAUDIBLE]. You are needed here. You left everything and you turned up here. [INAUDIBLE] want everybody [INAUDIBLE] accept everybody's effort. And just like [INAUDIBLE] recited some of the verses of the Quran and also the sayings of [INAUDIBLE].

And nobody's efforts will be wasted. And just like today we have come here, standing here protecting the honor and the [INAUDIBLE] companions, [INAUDIBLE]. Tomorrow when we stand in front of [INAUDIBLE] in the court of [INAUDIBLE], [INAUDIBLE] reminders of this. [INAUDIBLE] on that day as well. [INAUDIBLE] reminders of this day as well. Can I request everybody that just like [INAUDIBLE] said, don't give up the fight. Don't think that there's a few people standing here and the movie is still going on here and we've lost something. We haven't lost anything at all. This is a very great turnout. And this is absolutely fantastic turnout.

Regardless of what the people behind us are saying to us, regardless of what the people walking past are saying, that you mean nothing to us, this means everything to the deen of [INAUDIBLE] that people not made an effort to come here and to stand here. You are the true warriors of Islam. This is our jihad in the eyes of [INAUDIBLE]. Like [INAUDIBLE] said, we can only do what we are entitled to do. We are not here to break any laws. We are not here to disturb anybody. We are not here to upset anybody. We are doing what we can do, living within the Sharia and living with the laws of [INAUDIBLE], and living within the laws of this country as well.

- My brothers, this is a movie that has been produced by somebody by the name of Yasser Al-Habib who is a hate preacher from London. This man was sentenced for 10 years in Kuwait. And he fled from Kuwait. And he's come here. And since the day he has come here until today, the only thing that he has ever done is he has [INAUDIBLE] hate preach against Sunni Muslims. The only thing that he has ever done is abuse the companions of [INAUDIBLE]. The only thing this man has ever done is abuse the wives of [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE] they mean more to us than our fathers, our mothers, our children, our wealth, and our health. And we need to let Cineworld know, does sahaba mean more to us than anything? Yes or no?

- Yes!

- Sahaba means more to us than anything, yes or no?

- Yes!

- Should Cineworld cancel these events?

- Yes!

- Yes, [INAUDIBLE].

- Yes.

- [INAUDIBLE]

- Yes.

- Cineworld, you should be listening to us. You are affecting the feelings of 1 billion Muslims around the entire world. You are hurting our feelings. You are not taking us into consideration. If you don't take us into consideration, [INAUDIBLE] always you should have taken into consideration those Muslims, the feelings of those Muslims who [INAUDIBLE] and serve you inside there. Cineworld is only [INAUDIBLE] and it is only going upon the wealth of the Muslims.

How many non-Muslims do you see in going there? It is all Muslim. It is our wealth. It is our [INAUDIBLE] that is being [INAUDIBLE] and financially helping this place. Therefore, we have a legal right, we have a legal right to stand here and to express our heartfelt feelings that you have hurt our feelings. You have hurt our feelings. My brothers, these [INAUDIBLE] in this film have been-- they have been [INAUDIBLE], they have been portrayed in a very, very negative light. [INAUDIBLE] the same people who sacrificed their entire life for [INAUDIBLE].

Some of these companions, they give their life. Some of them, they give their wealth. Some of them, they give their time. Some of them, they give everything whatever they put up. Allahu Akbar, [INAUDIBLE] in every single [INAUDIBLE] of the Quran praises the companions. There is not a single [INAUDIBLE]. There is no single [INAUDIBLE] which does not contain the prayers of [INAUDIBLE]. Do not for a single moment think that the companions of the prophet [INAUDIBLE] are insignificant in Islam.

My brothers, let me tell you one thing. If it wasn't for this sahaba, today, me and you, we would be worshipping stones. If it wasn't for this sahaba, today, me and you, we would be with our mothers and our sisters committing incest. Allahu Akbar, it is his companions who have [INAUDIBLE] us, who have given us the religion of Islam. They were the ones who went to Mecca to Medina. They were the ones that went from Medina to [? Pakistan. ?] They were the ones [INAUDIBLE] the entire world.

[INAUDIBLE] it is incumbent upon these people that these people ban, they ban this film. Our Muslim brothers should not go in there. Our Muslim brothers should totally boycott such a place which does not consider the feelings of the believers. Yes or no?

- Yes!

- Louder.

- Yes!

- Louder.

- Yes!

- Louder.

- Yes!

- Louder.

- Yes!

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- This film is such a disgusting film. This film is such a disgusting film. This film is such a disgusting film. But [INAUDIBLE].

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- [INAUDIBLE] are being portrayed as a Black person. [INAUDIBLE] racist film. This film is a racist film. This film is inciting hatred. This film is inciting religious hatred. Therefore, this is why the film should be banned. Alhamdulillah, many other places, other Cineworlds across the nation, they have banned this. But it is Bradford, our Cineworld, which has been financed on our wealth today is hurting our feelings.

My brothers, remember one thing, this is not going to stop here. Remember one thing. I don't want this, I don't want [INAUDIBLE] going away thinking to themselves, [INAUDIBLE] we've gone there, [INAUDIBLE] mark my words. Yasser Al-Habib, Yasser Al-Habib, mark my words. I will not stop until this film is banned in the whole entire England. Yes or no?

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- Not only Bradford, not only Bradford, in the entire England, this film is going to be banned. Yasser Al-Habib, I will challenge you [INAUDIBLE] academically, debate me. I will debate you on any issue between Shias and Sunni. [INAUDIBLE]. My name is [INAUDIBLE].

[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

- Allahu Akbar.

- My brothers, any Shia scholar, any Shia scholar-- listen, any Shia scholar who wants an academic debate, I am standing here in front of hundreds of people. [INAUDIBLE] until I [INAUDIBLE]. Come, let's debate. [INAUDIBLE]

- [INAUDIBLE]

- [INAUDIBLE] Yasser Al-Habib, any one of you, come. We'll debate acadmic. Why do we have to get to stuff like this, hurting the feelings of Muslims? Come, we'll open the books. This filth is a biased, is based upon a biased concocted fabricated side. All this is a bunch of fabrication.

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