The film will not be shown in the UAE, Qatar or Bahrain due to objections over the depiction of religious figures in art. Noah, who in the Bible’s Book of Genesis built the ark that saved his family and many pairs of animals from a great flood, is revered by Judaism, Christianity and Islam. An entire chapter is dedicated to him in the Koran.
Many Muslims object to the depiction of any messengers and prophets of Mohammed in art, and European and North American media have repeatedly sparked protests in Islamic countries over the last decade. The National Media Council (NMC), the UAE body responsible for approving films, said Noah, directed by Black Swan’s Darren Aronofsky,”conflicts with (many) religions”.
“Out of respect for these religious sentiments, we are banning the film,” said Juma Obaid al Leem, director of the Media Content Tracking Department at the NMC.
Paramount Pictures produced the film starring Oscar-winners Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Sir Anthony Hopkins. A spokesman for the studio said: “Censors for Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE officially confirmed this week that the film will not release in their countries.
“The official statement they offered in confirming this news is because ‘it contradicts the teachings of Islam’.” The representative said the studio expected a similar ban in Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait.
Cairo’s al Azhar, the highest authority of Sunni Islam and a main centre of Islamic teaching for more than a millennium, issued a fatwa, or religious injunction, against the film last week. Paramount Pictures is adding a disclaimer to marketing materials for Noah in an effort to ease tensions. The message will say before every screening: “The film is inspired by the story of Noah.
“While artistic licence has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. “The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis.” Mel Gibson’s 2004 film The Passion Of The Christ, which portrayed Jesus’ crucifixion, was widely screened in the Arab world, despite a flurry of objections by Muslim clerics.
Noah’s premiere is due to be held in the US on March 28. It is expected to be released in the UK on April 4.
Source: Sky News