RIO DE JANEIRO – YouTube has 10 days to remove the video that has sparked protests across the Muslim world.
Late Tuesday a Säo Paulo court ordered YouTube's parent company, Google, to block access to "Innocence of Muslims" or else face fines of $5,000 a day for every day the clips remain accessible in Brazil.
The lawsuit was filed by a group representing the country’s Muslim community, the National Union of Islamic Entities, which claims the film violates Brazil's constitutional guarantee of religious freedom for all faiths.
In a statement on the group's website, Mohamad al Bukai, the head of religious matters for the Säo Paulo-based organization, hailed the ruling as a victory.
"Freedom of expression must not be confused with giving disproportionate and irresponsible offense, which can provoke serious consequences for society," al Bukai said.
The statement also includes excerpts from the ruling, in which the judge stresses "this type of jurisprudence cannot be confused with censorship," which he defines as "the undue restriction of the civic consciousness."
Courts or officials in other countries also have sought to restrict access to clips of "Innocence of Muslims," renewing the debate over freedom of expression in the Middle East, the United States and Europe.
The film's portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester, has enraged many Muslims. At least 51 people, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, have been killed in violence linked to protests over the film.
The Säo Paulo court's ruling came on the same day that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff addressed the United Nations and urged an end to prejudice against Muslims.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.