Saturday, March 08, 2014

Qatar, Bahrain, UAE ban “Noah” film; Al Azhar says it violates Islam


NoahfilmThis kind of censorship is routine when it comes to something deemed “un-Islamic” in a Muslim country. A far greater cause for concern is the self-censorship that the Western media increasingly practices in regard to things that offend Muslims: for example, the near-universal unwillingness to reprint the Muhammad cartoons, which despite the furor they caused were actually quite bland. A willingly Sharia-compliant media is the enemy of free people.
An update on this story. “Egyptian Islamic body says Russell Crowe’s ‘Noah’ should be banned,” from, March 7:
RUSSELL Crowe’s new big budget biblical epic Noah is facing a battle to get on to screens, with bans in place in several countries.
The Hollywood Reporter states that censor boards in Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates will refuse a local release for the film, which was directed by Darren Aronofsky for Paramount.
Studio executives are expecting similar bans in Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait, the site reported.
Egypt’s top Islamic body has already claimed the film is irreligious and should be banned.

The Al-Azhar institute, one of the region’s main Sunni Muslim authorities, said the movie, slated to open in Egypt on March 26, violated Islam by portraying a prophet.
Al-Azhar can play an advisory role on censoring movies and books in Egypt, but does not have the final say.
Portraying a prophet “contradicts the stature of prophets and messengers … and antagonises the faithful,” the institution said in a statement.
Egypt’s censorship board must approve any movie before it is shown, but it was not immediately clear whether it has approved Noah yet.
Egypt has censored other movies in the past, including the blockbuster The Da Vinci Code after protests from the Orthodox Coptic Church….

Comment:  Free speech?  Not in most of the Middle East-the one exception-Israel.