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Muslim, Coptic Leaders Meet In Jersey City To Discuss Violence Over Controversial Film

Muslim, Coptic leaders meet at the Islamic Center of Jersey City (credit: Jim Smith/WCBS 880)

Muslim, Coptic leaders meet at the Islamic Center of Jersey City (credit: Jim Smith/WCBS 880)

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JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – In the wake of the deadly violence rippling through the Middle East and beyond over an online movie some Muslims found offensive, New Jersey Islamic and Coptic Christian leaders met to denounce the fighting.

The California man allegedly behind the controversial film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, describes himself as a Coptic Christian. The movie denounces Islam and refers to the religion as a “cancer.”

WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reports

The film, which denigrates Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, has spawned anti-American protests around the world.

At the Islamic Center in Jersey City Saturday night, Muslim and Coptic leaders engaged in a peaceful dialogue and said that should be an example for the rest of the world.

“Now I think it is very important to get together. Also, to stand up toward each other,” Imam Mohammad Qatanani of Paterson told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith.

Both sides denounced the internet video and the violent reactions to it.

“What happened is something unacceptable for any religious group,” Qatanani said.

“We are against this movie, if you can call it a movie, because it is not a movie at all,” said Father Moises Bogdady with the Coptic Archdiocese.

Bogdady also said the film does not give protesters the right to kill.

“We have to respect the feeling of each other and we have to be against threatening,” Bogdady told Smith.

The leaders said they hope the violence will come to an end soon. One imam said the film and the violence are both unacceptable.

“Exactly the same way if somebody stereotype or criticize all Muslims because a group of Muslims were involved in the World Trade Center [attack],” said the Islam Center’s director Ahmed Shedeed.

“We have to respect the feeling of each other and we have to be against threatening,” Shedeed told Smith.

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other American officials were killed in violent protests last week. The American flag was ripped down at the Egyptian embassy amid protests.

Have you seen the controversial film? Do you think the violence will continue? Please share your comments below.