‘Untrue’ Iranian film on Prophet roundly slammed by scholars

Updated 03 September 2015
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‘Untrue’ Iranian film on Prophet roundly slammed by scholars

JEDDAH: Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh has slammed the Iranian-produced film entitled ‘Mohammed Messenger of God,’ saying that Islam does not allow the Prophet, peace be upon him, to be depicted in this manner.
He said the film depicts the Prophet in an “untrue light” and undermines the important role he plays in Islam. “This is a mockery of the Prophet and a degradation of his status,” he said.
Nearly 140 cinemas in Iran began showing the $40 million film, the most expensive in Iranian history, this week. According to the film’s director Majid Majidi, the aim of the 171-minute production is “to promote Islamic unity.”
Majidi said the aim of his work, the first part of a trilogy, is to reclaim the rightful image of Islam, which he said extremists have distorted.
Al-Azhar scholars denounced the film last week, demanding that the Iranian government ban it. Abdulfatah Al-Awari, dean of the faculty of theology at Al-Azhar University, said “it is not permitted under Shariah to embody the prophets.”
The Muslim World League (MWL) has also denounced the movie, which was shown last Thursday at the Montreal Film Festival in Canada, with scenes characterizing the body and figure of the Prophet (pbuh).
Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Al-Turki, the MWL’s secretary general, said the Prophet should not be represented in this manner. Al-Turki urged Tehran to “suspend and prevent the screening of the movie” and called on Muslims to boycott it.
While Iran has denounced cartoons of the prophet like those published by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, Shiites are generally more relaxed than Sunnis about depiction of religious figures.


Hollywood star Cuba Gooding Jr. shares career at Saudi Film Festival

Updated 22 min 54 sec ago
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Hollywood star Cuba Gooding Jr. shares career at Saudi Film Festival

  • He said he hopes to support Saudi filmmakers through his recently launched production company
  • The festival, at Ithra, is part of the Sharqiah Season in the Eastern Province

DHAHRAN: Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. talked about his experiences in Hollywood, and the challenges he has faced during his career, when he appeared on Monday night at the fifth Saudi Film Festival, which is part of the Sharqiah Season in the Eastern Province.
Known for his roles in movies such as “Men of Honor”, “A Few Good Men” and “American Crime Story,” among others, he has appeared in more than 85 films during a 30-year career on screen and stage. He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in the 1996 film “Jerry Maguire,” alongside Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger.
Gooding Jr. arrived for the event, at the King Abdul Aziz World Center for Culture (Ithra), accompanied by Claudine De Niro, the estranged wife of actor Robert De Niro’s son, Raphael. They were greeted by renowned Saudi film producer and Hollywood businessman Mohammed Al-Turki.
Gooding Jr. spoke to the audience at Ithra for almost 60 minutes about his long career and the challenges and pitfalls he had experienced on the road to success in the film industry. He also offered some advice to anyone interested in following in his footsteps.
“No one prepares you for success,” he said. “That’s why you see a lot of actors that star in movies, then disappear. Or you see athletes that make a $100 million and then they disappear, too. They weren’t ready for it.
“You have to envision yourself standing on that stage, holding an Oscar over your head, saying, ‘This is for the Middle-East’. You have to envision the script that you will write and envision being on that stage, holding that Oscar.
“People asked me after I won that Academy Award if I ever thought I would be on that stage. I always said, ‘Not in a million years.’ But that’s a lie. You have to envision yourself on that stage, winning that award, so that when you succeed it will feel normal, not like it’s something special, so that you can do it again.”
The actor also said that he intends to support filmmakers from Saudi Arabia and other countries through his recently launched production company.
Asked if he had any projects planned in the region, and Saudi Arabia in particular, he said: “I do, actually. I have a couple of things. I don’t want to give it away but let’s just say that there is a lot of great literature that I’ve read, a lot of different books, including Arabian Nights. It’s hard to talk about the things in development because you don’t want to give it away but there is definitely something in development.”