With photos and video: Hundreds march in Halifax this afternoon in protest at US film The Innocence of Islam

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Around 1,000 people turned out to march in protest of the controversial US film The Innocence of Islam in Halifax this afternoon.

All seven of Calderdale’s mosques were represented at the rally which started at Albert Street after afternoon prayers.

Innocence of Islam protest: Deputy leader of the council Janet Battye receives declaration from protest leaders.

Innocence of Islam protest: Deputy leader of the council Janet Battye receives declaration from protest leaders.

The marchers carried banners and flags and chanted as they walked.

There was a visible police presence, with officers as well as community wardens out in force.

Inspector Derrick Oldham said: “Our role is to facilitate peaceful protest, They are marshalling it themselves and have been in negotiations with us.”

No roads were shut but police escorted the marchers with officers at the front and the back of procession and stopped traffic while they made their way, in lines of 12, through the streets.

Innocence of Islam protest: Mo Idris addresses the crowd.

Innocence of Islam protest: Mo Idris addresses the crowd.

People came out of their houses as the procession went past and the marchers’ numbers were swelled by around another 100 when they reached Queens Road Neighbourhood Centre - bringing the total to over 1,000.

They stopped at the entrance of the centre for a series of speeches.

Hafiz Amjid, of Rhodes Street Mosque, told the crowd this was a peaceful protest over the disturbing movie released in the US Innocence of Islam and also the publication of cartoons.

He said: “By peacefully demonstrating in Halifax we’re showing the country and the rest of the world we will not tolerate blasphemy to The Prophet. Any insult to The Prophet of Islam, we will not tolerate and will protest.

Innocence of Islam protest: The march reaches Queens Road, Halifax.

Innocence of Islam protest: The march reaches Queens Road, Halifax.

“Freedom of expression comes with limits. We are not here to incite and I hope that message is clear.”

Councillor Faisal Shoukat (Labour,Park) said in his speech that Muslims would not tolerate such offensive films.

“It’s compulsory we defend the one we hold dear to our hearts and selves,” he said.

“We Muslims would sacrifice everything in the name of our Prophet.

The Innocence of Islam protest: Protestors moving along Gibbet Street towards Hanson Lane

The Innocence of Islam protest: Protestors moving along Gibbet Street towards Hanson Lane

“Where is the law when our religion is attacked and mocked?

“How can people incite hatred against a fifth of the world’s population? Laws that are supposed to protect minorities are not protecting Muslims in this country and the west.”

He called for a boycott of all business promoting the film.

Deputy Leader of Calderdale Council Janet Battye said she had listened to and would take back to the council concerns of the community.

She also accepted a petition from the organisers, in which it states: “The Muslims of Halifax call for a national legal framework for making incitement to religious hatred a criminal offence”.

Meanwhile Mohammed Idris, general secretary of Madni Mosque, has said he wished to state that the local Muslim community have a good working record with the council and police.

Innocence of Islam protest: Police presence at either end of the protest as it begins march up Hanson Lane.

Innocence of Islam protest: Police presence at either end of the protest as it begins march up Hanson Lane.

He said they have no complaints about the people of Calderdale. This rally was to highlight what goes on elsewhere in the world.

The event passed off peacefully and the marchers had dispersed by 4.15pm.

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Innocence of Islam protest: Hundreds of protestors line up on Albert Street preparing to set off up Hanson Lane.

Innocence of Islam protest: Hundreds of protestors line up on Albert Street preparing to set off up Hanson Lane.

The Innocence of Islam protest: Protestors moving along Gibbet Street towards Hanson Lane

The Innocence of Islam protest: Protestors moving along Gibbet Street towards Hanson Lane

The Innocence of Islam protest: Protestors moving along Gibbet Street towards Hanson Lane

The Innocence of Islam protest: Protestors moving along Gibbet Street towards Hanson Lane

The Innocence of Islam protest: Protestors moving along Gibbet Street towards Hanson Lane

The Innocence of Islam protest: Protestors moving along Gibbet Street towards Hanson Lane

The Innocence of Islam protest: Police officers and council community wardens in place on Albert Street, Halifax ready for the protest march.

The Innocence of Islam protest: Police officers and council community wardens in place on Albert Street, Halifax ready for the protest march.