Senior Imam Qari Asim caught up in free speech row as he said "The Lady of Heaven" could "potentially fuel hatred" and that he had been working with "brothers and Imams" across the country to protest the film and cancel its showings.
Asim is an independent adviser to the British government on Islamophobia and a senior Imam who has urged Muslims to protest the film that is accused of “blasphemy.”
Al-Habib is a UK-based Shia cleric and the depiction of some of the characters has angered some Sunni Muslims—Sunnis make up the vast majority of Muslims worldwide.
Protests of Muslim men have taken place outside of cinemas Bradford, Bolton, Birmingham, and Sheffield since Saturday.
Vue, a cinema chain which is owned by Cineworld, is continuing to show the film at some sites.
Asim, a senior Imam at Makkah Mosque in Leeds, wrote that he has "been working with many brothers and Imams across the country to liaise with the cinemas."
"As a community, in some places we have been successful and those cinemas will no longer be showing the movie, in other places negotiations are still ongoing," he said.
"Different approaches, rooted in our universal values, are necessary, as always. All agree that the movie is derogatory, and uses sectarian and racist narratives," added Asim. "Freedom of speech is important and all citizens should be able to exercise their freedoms within the law. This movie could potentially fuel hatred, sectarianism, and extremism, which none wants to see in our country, and we must all avoid that."
Asim was appointed independent adviser in 2019 to provide expert advice on a definition of Islamophobia to the government.
He is also Deputy Chair of the cross-government Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group, made up of representatives from Muslim communities, independent experts, and academics.
She said that "it is clear that religious sensibility can still provoke fear, paralysis, and too often an unwillingness to defend artistic liberty and wider freedom of expression."
"It’s easy to criticise Cineworld for its limp response, but questions must be asked over what support it received from local and central government, MPs, and even the police. Despite claims that the protests were peaceful, video evidence appears to show a hate-speech mob made up of dozens of Muslim men chanting sectarian anti-Shia slurs through megaphones,” added Khan.
The Epoch Times has contacted Asim for comment.