Thousands of worshippers turned out in force on Friday to hear their spiritual leader condemn violent protests across the world against an anti-Islamic film.

Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community gathered at the Bait-ul Futuh mosque in London Road, Morden, to hear His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad deliver a one-hour sermon.

In a live global broadcast, he deplored the protestors' actions and said a peaceful approach should have been used to condemn the film.

This month's deadly violence in the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and Australia was sparked by a 14-minute trailer for the amateur US-produced film Innocence of Muslims.

An actor in the footage - clips of which were posted on YouTube - portrays the Prophet Muhammad which is strictly forbidden in Islam.

Muslims have been further outraged by the film depicting Muhammad having sex with different women, and permitting the sexual abuse of children.

Speaking after his sermon, His Holiness said: "We cannot tolerate it, not even the smallest thing against the Prophet.

"Is it freedom of expression for somebody to insult your father in front of you? You will obviously retaliate."

He also called for the ridicule of other religions to be made illegal.

His Holiness said the violent protestors were not following the true teachings of Islam and lacked leadership.

He added: "The way these Muslims are protesting is not the right way."

The American-made film has sparked deadly violence across the Muslim world, including in Pakistan where 21 people were killed in violence on Friday, September 21.

On Saturday, a minister of the Pakistani Government told reporters he would pay $100,000 to have the U.S.-based movie producer killed, and even called for the help of terrorist organisations like Al Qaeda and the Taliban to catch the filmmaker, who is currently in hiding.

President of the Muslim Women's Association, Nasira Rehman, said the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was "terribly hurt" and for someone to tarnish the reputation of the prophet was "heartbreaking."

"Our hearts are bleeding," she added.

On the protestors, she said it is not the duty of Muslims to punish those who "make mischief" and people should pray to God for a solution and not take matters into their own hands.

Worshipper Ahmad Murtaza, of Putney, said peaceful, intelligent debate would have been the answer.

He said: "The Prophet Muhammad is so dear to every Muslim.

" You are supposed to hold Muhammad closer to you than anyone you love - it is ingrained since childhood.

"You shouldn't violate the rights of others.

" Your freedom of expression ends where another person's nose begins."

Ahmadiyya Muslims are themselves the target of persecution in hardline Islamic countries like Pakistan, because they believed their spiritual leader is religion’s latest prophet, whereas most Muslims believe Muhammad was the last prophet.

In 2010, this newspaper exposed how members of the Ahmadiyya sect were open insulted and discriminated against by religious bigots in south London, who targeted their livelihoods and political candidates in Tooting.

Also that year, 93 Ahmadi worshippers were slaughtered by terrorists while they prayed in mosques in Lahore – including Muhammad Ashraf Bilal, a visiting businessman who lived in Sispara Gardens, Southfields.