Russia Bans 'Innocence Of Muslims' Film, May Shut Down YouTube

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By Maya Shwayder | October 2, 2012 4:25 AM EST

A Russian court on Monday banned the controversial “Innocence of Muslims” video that sparked much violence across the Islamic world, Reuters said.

The Tverskoy Court in Moscow ruled that the video was “extremist,” and prosecutor Viktoria Maslova said that the video “puts the Islamic religion in a bad light and aids the rise of religious intolerance in the Russian Federation,” according to the Russian news outlet Itar-Tass.

Russia enacted a federal law to counteract extremism ten years ago, Itar-Tass also reported, wherein any material distributed in the nation can be classified as "extremist" by the courts if a prosecutor requests it.

Another recently-passed law, which will take effect November 1, stipulates that any website that carries banned content can also itself be banned, which could mean all of YouTube would be inaccessible within Russia as of the beginning of next month.

Google, which owns YouTube, told the Russian outlet RIA Novosti that it was prepared to block the video in Russia as soon as it received the official court order.

A court in Grozny, in the heavily Muslim region of Chechnya, passed a similar ruling banning the film and its distribution last week, RIA Novosti reported.

Russia’s second-largest religion is Islam. Ten to 15 percent of Russians identify as Muslim, according to the CIA World Factbook. They also have one of the fastest-growing birth rates in Russia, and are on track to become Russia’s predominant religion by 2050, Russian newspaper Pravda predicted, surpassing the current front-runner religion, the Russian Orthodox Church.

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