A Qatari (that’s a country — a lawless land that flouts the U after Q rule) media company has announced plans for a $150 million English-language film about the Muslim prophet Muhammad. There’s just one small problem: it’s forbidden by the religion to show depictions of him.
Alnoor Holdings has hired the cleric Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi as their lead theological consultant for the film.
He is admired by many moderate Muslims and was recently described by the government’s senior counter-terrorism official as “one of the most articulate critics of al-Qaeda in the Islamic world”.
He is also a highly controversial figure who was refused entry to Britain last year because of his views. He has reportedly condoned the Holocaust [that’s novel. usually they deny it. “Oh no, I don’t doubt that it happened, I just had no problem with it. Seems like good governing.”] , supported the stoning of homosexuals and praised suicide bombers in Iraq, not to mention telling an interviewer that he considered Shia Islam a heretical branch of the faith.
According to the Gulf Times newspaper he told journalists in Doha that the film was a response to “the crusader-styled distortion of Islam [that] continues to influence [the] world population today.” [TimesOnline]
So how will they do a biopic on a guy they can’t show? Believe it or not, it’s been done before. How’d that go, you ask? Um… not well.
(On The Message aka Mohammad: Messenger of God a 1976 film about Mohammed starring Anthony Quinn)
In the film, though, the Prophet was represented by gentle organ music and, in scenes where he was present, by subjective camerawork that depicted the action from his point of view. The mistaken belief that Quinn was portraying Muhammad himself sparked riots in the US in which two people died.[BBC]
When the film was scheduled to premiere in the U.S., another Muslim extremist group staged a siege against the Washington D.C. chapter of the B’nai B’rith under the mistaken belief that Anthony Quinn played Mohammed in the film, threatening to blow up the building and its inhabitants unless the film’s opening was canceled. [NYTimes]
Charming people. I’m not saying don’t kill anyone, just… hire a fact checker first. I think a good title for this movie would be Mohammad: Don’t Kill the Messenger.