Cineworld has decided to pull a movie about the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad following Muslim protests
British cinema company Cineworld has pulled a film about the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, Fatima, following a wave of mass protests and accusations of “blashemy.” The offending movie, ‘The Lady of Heaven’ by director Eli King, was taken off the screen just four days after its release.
“Due to recent incidents related to screenings of ‘The Lady of Heaven’, we have made the decision to cancel upcoming screenings of the film nationwide to ensure the safety of our staff and customers,” the company said in a statement.
The film, described by critics as an “epic historical drama,” tells the story of Fatima, yet it opens with the Iraqi offensive of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and depicts a graphic murder scene by the jihadists. While depicting humans in general is a highly-controversial topic in the Islamic tradition, the direct portrayal of religious figures is strictly forbidden. Creators of the movie tried to circumvent the issue by portraying Fatima as a faceless character, shrouded in a black veil, but the move did not spare them from outrage.
Multiple theaters across the UK have been picketed by angry Muslims, who accused the cinema company of ‘blasphemy’ and racism and called for a boycott of Cineworld altogether.
Opposition to the movie has been supported by some religious leaders. In Bolton, for instance, local chairman of the Council of Mosques, Asif Patel, penned a letter to the company branding the film “blasphemous” and “sectarian.”
“You may well be aware of the recently released film ‘Lady of Heaven’ which has caused much distress to Muslims across the globe,” he stated. “It is underpinned with a sectarian ideology and is blasphemous in nature to the Muslim community.”
The creators of the movie, however, have rejected this take, insisting that those protesting the film were radicals and hardline Islamists. The executive producer of the movie, Malik Shlibak, has branded the chain’s decision to pull the film “unacceptable” and blamed Cineworld for “bowing down to radical extremists.”