Indian Muslim scholars oppose government’s bid to ban Iranian movie “Muhammad”

July 20, 2020 - 18:48

TEHRAN – Muslim scholars in India have opposed Maharashtra government’s attempt to prevent the release of “Muhammad, the Messenger of God”, Iranian director Majid Majidi’s 2015 movie about the childhood of the Prophet of Islam (S).

The government has requested the Center for Study of Society and Secularism to prevent the release of the movie, however, Muslim scholars and intellectuals have slammed the demand, the Mumbai Mirror newspaper reported on Saturday.

The movie is slated to be released globally on online platforms on July 21. 

Objecting to the censorship, Irfan Engineer, the director of the Center for Study of Society and Secularism, has criticized the demand. 

“I am against any kind of censorship. You may disagree with the movie or its content. So, there are ways to register the protest. You can file a lawsuit, debate over the content, educate people or protest on the streets. The thought of banning the movie is wrong and it has happened several times in the past,” Engineer said.

Writer and scholar on Islam, Abdul Kadar Mukadam questioned as to why an objection was raised if the movie narrates the life of Prophet. “Many Muslims are not aware of Prophet Muhammad’s life, which is inspiring.”

Terming the controversy unnecessary, editor of an Urdu newspaper, Sarfaraz Arzoo, questioned the objection to the movie. 

“Does the movie have a historical misrepresentation or a wrong interpretation? One should first watch the movie to object to it. Instead of banning the movie, a panel of experts could give its opinion on the movie and delete the scenes if objectionable. Why be a wrench in the gears?” he said.

After the demand from Raza Academy and a few other Muslim organizations to ban the movie release, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh wrote a letter to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to lift the ban.

“Muhammad, the Messenger of God” was Iran’s submission to the best foreign-language film category at the 88th Academy Awards.

Renowned international craftsmen and artists such as editor Roberto Perpignani, special effects designer Scott E. Anderson, makeup designer Gianetto De Rossi and Indian composer A. R. Rahman collaborated with Majidi in the production.

Photo: A scene from Iranian director Majid Majidi’s “Muhammad, the Messenger of God”.

RM/MMS/YAW

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