Fewer than 100 complaints were made ahead of a scheduled showing of 1977 film The Message at the Grosvenor Cinema in Glasgow next month.
Complaints about the film’s content – such as the portrayal of Muhammad’s close companions by non-Muslim actors and historical inaccuracies – led to the cinema’s decision to withdraw it from the programme.
The Islamic Society of Britain has protested the Grosvenor’s cancellation in the face of a “small number of objections,” which came in the form of an anonymous petition signed by 93 people, according to the Herald. Most respondents were based in Scotland, though other signatories were registered in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.
The National Secularists Society has also written to the cinema to express its concern at what it called “a climate of censorship brought on by the unreasonable and reactionary views of some religious extremists”.
“It’s a sad sign of the times that such a small petition has forced the venue to cancel,” said NSS campaigns manager Stephen Evans. “We hope the cinema will change its position and not allow the weapon of offense to be used to restrict its freedom as a cinema to screen films and the freedom of audiences to watch them”.
SNP MSP Humza Yusaf also denounced the decision, saying: “I am apalled that they have caved in the face of a few narrow-minded imbeciles.”
A spokesman for the ISB said: “As Scottish Muslims we believe in the principles of freedom of speech and have worked for decades to promote the rights of people to make Islam relevant to British society. These protestors demonstrate the worst elements of our community, as they are imposing their beliefs on others.
“We will not be bullied by these people. We are also appealing for the Grosvenor to stick to the original agreement, and show the film.”
No-one at G1 was immediately available for comment.