MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian court on Friday outlawed an anti-Islam film that has sparked violence around the world, giving authorities legal grounds to bar access to it.
The court in Grozny, the provincial capital of Russia's Muslim-dominated province of Chechnya, ruled that the "Innocence of Muslims" should be banned as "extremist and inciting religious and ethnic hatred," according a statement by Chechnya's information minister.
The minister said the court obliged authorities to prevent the film's spread, but it wasn't immediately clear whether the verdict would apply only to Chechnya or to all of Russia. The Prosecutor General's office said the decision of the Grozny court was an "intermediate" move.
On Monday, a court in Moscow is expected to consider the federal prosecutor's request to ban the film.
Russia's communications minister had warned that authorities would bar access to YouTube if its owner, Google Inc., failed to abide by a court order to block access to the U.S.-produced film, which mocks Muslims and the Prophet Muhammad.
Google's spokeswoman in Russia, Inessa Roman-Pogorzhelskaya, said the company could restrict access to the video if it received a court order outlawing it.
Google has blocked access to the video in Libya and Egypt following violence there, and in Indonesia and India because it says the video broke laws in those countries.
Russian authorities' moves reflect Kremlin fears that the film could foment unrest among Russia's Muslims.