Leading clerics of the Anglican Communion spoke out against the video short, called The Innocence of Muslims, that has been blamed for riots by Muslims in at least 20 countries. In Egypt, rioters breached the security wall around the U.S. embassy in Cairo, tearing down the American flag and replacing it with the black flag of Islamic jihad. In Libya, the American ambassador was killed by gunmen wielding small arms and rockets. The White House has condemned the film and called for calm, while President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt has called for an official policy from the United States for the film. The Egyptian government has issued an arrest warrant for the makers of the film.
The New Zealand Anglicans were joined by Catholics, Jews and Muslims in condemning the film.
According to Taonga magazine of New Zealand, a group of Anglican bishops labeled the film as “irresponsible” and “inflammatory.” According to the Anglican news service, the group of bishops assert that the film was designed to mislead, provoke hate, and cause harm.
“We call on all faith communities in New Zealand to remain calm and to strive to foster mutual understanding, counter hate, and promote dialogue, within and between our communities”, the bishops said.
The Most Rev. Mouneer Anis, Anglican President Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East and Bishop in Egypt said that the response to this film was out of proportion and led to the death of innocent people, such as American ambassador Chris Stevens. “We here made it clear that we Christians reject this kind of provocative film”, he said. Bishop Anis said “We here made it clear that we Christians reject this kind of provocative film.”
Bishop Anis joined with other bishops who wrote a U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon asking for a declaration that outlaws “intentional and deliberate insulting or defamation of persons (such as prophets), symbols, texts and constructs of belief deemed holy by people of faith.”