Iranian film drawing criticism for Prophet’s portrayal

Updated 25 March 2015
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Iranian film drawing criticism for Prophet’s portrayal

ALLAHYAR, Iran: Here in this Persian replica of Makkah, built at the cost of millions of dollars, an Iranian film company is attempting to make a film on the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The most expensive film in Iranian history — Muhammad, Messenger of God — already has been criticized before its even widely released.
In Islam, portraying the Prophet (pbuh) is not allowed. Islamic tradition is full of written descriptions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his qualities — describing him as the ideal human being. But scholars agree that trying to depict that ideal is forbidden.
In the new 190-minute film, the story focuses on the Prophet’s childhood, never showing his face. The movie instead uses others to tell his story, like his grandfather Abdul-Muttalib.
“For Muslims, the Prophet Muhammad is a mercy to the world and the hereafter,” said Majid Majidi, the film’s director.
The film already has seen widespread criticism even before being widely released. In February, Egypt’s Al-Azhar, one of Islam’s most prestigious seats of learning, called on Iran to ban a film it described as debasing the sanctity of messengers from God. Meanwhile, Qatar has announced plans to have its own $1 billion epic shot on the Prophet’s life.
Majidi said he would be ready to cooperate with any Islamic country planning a film on Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Producers plan to ultimately release the film in Arabic, Persian and English, with showings across Iran and abroad in the summer. Filming took a year, while postproduction in Germany took two more years.
Mohammad Mahdi Heidarian, head of the private Nourtaban Film Industry company, said his company spent about $30 million in total to make the movie.
In the past, such religious films have done well in Iran. The 1977 Qur’anic epic “The Message,” starring Anthony Quinn as the uncle of the unseen and unheard Prophet (pbuh), drew crowds and long lines to movie theaters in Tehran. And another that did well was DeMille’s own 1956 film, “The Ten Commandments” on Prophet Moses.


Four police officers wounded in Jerusalem attack

Palestinians celebrate the resignation of Israel's defense minister. (AFP)
Updated 16 November 2018
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Four police officers wounded in Jerusalem attack

  • The assault came on the heels of a fragile truce that was reached between Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip

JERUSALEM: A knife-wielding Palestinian attacker sneaked into a Jerusalem police station and lightly wounded four police officers before he was shot and captured, Israeli police said on Thursday.

The assault came on the heels of a fragile truce that was reached between Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip that ended two days of heavy fighting, the area’s most severe violence since the 50-day Gaza war in 2014.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the knife-wielding attacker climbed over the station’s fence late on Wednesday night and began stabbing officers inside. Other officers then shot the assailant and captured him; he was later taken to hospital.

In the two days of heavy fighting, Palestinian militants had fired 460 rockets and mortars into Israel, while Israel carried out airstrikes on 160 Gaza targets. Seven Palestinians, including five militants, were killed. A rocket fired from Gaza killed a Palestinian laborer in Israel.

The latest round of violence was triggered by a botched Israeli raid on Sunday that left seven Palestinians and a senior Israeli military officer dead. Before the raid, Egyptian and UN mediators had made progress in reducing tensions.

In recent days, Israel had allowed fuel shipments to increase the power supply in Gaza, which suffers from frequent blackouts, and agreed to additional Qatari assistance to allow Hamas to pay the salaries of its thousands of government workers.

The cease-fire led to the resignation of Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who had demanded a far stronger Israeli response to the Palestinian rocket attack but appeared to have been overruled by Premier Benjamin Netanyahu.

Resignation

The resignation threw the government into turmoil and pushed the country toward an early election. Netanyahu presented the decision to step back from a full-blown conflict as a unified one made by his Security Cabinet and based on the military’s recommendations. 

But Lieberman and fellow hard-liner Education Minister Naftali Bennett later expressed reservations, saying they favored a stronger response.

Hamas has staged  near-weekly border protests since March in an effort to lift the Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after the Islamic militant group seized control of the coastal strip in 2007.  This has inflicted heavy damage on Gaza, but Hamas remains firmly in power. Demonstrators each week approach the border fence, throwing firebombs, grenades and burning tires at Israeli troops. Israeli snipers have killed about 170 people, most of them unarmed.

Bennett of the far-right Jewish Home party was demanding to be given the defense portfolio or he would withdraw his eight seats from Netanyahu’s governing coalition.

Another key coalition partner, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon of center-right Kulanu, reportedly told Netanyahu elections should be called as soon as possible because a stable government was needed to keep the economy on track.

Premier Netanyahu’s political popularity is in large part due to his reputation as Israel’s “Mr. Security,” as he has often been dubbed, and he has defended his decision saying: “Our enemies begged for a cease-fire.

“In times of emergency, when making decisions crucial to security, the public can’t always be privy to the considerations that must be hidden from the enemy,” he said.