Entertainment

UAE follows Egypt, Morocco in banning Moses epic

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates said Tuesday that it will not allow screening of Hollywood’s Biblical epic “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” mirroring similar bans by Egypt and Morocco.

The National Media Council, charged with vetting films for release in the UAE, said the Ridley Scott movie about Moses’s escape from pharaonic Egypt contained “religious and historical mistakes.”

“The film shows Moses not as a prophet but as just a preacher of peace,” the council’s director of media content tracking Juma Obaid al-Leem told AFP, adding that the storyline contradicts the holy books.

In addition to his place in the Christian and Jewish faiths, Moses is also revered by Muslims as a prophet just like Mohammed (Peace be upon Him).

Leem said the film had also fallen foul of the council for its depiction of Moses receiving the revelation from God through a child.

Representation of God and prophets is taboo in Islam.

The UAE is a Muslim country where foreigners, including millions of non-Muslims, make up the majority of the population.

“We do not allow the distortion of religions… When it comes to religious and historical movies, we care about having a correct narrative and avoiding hurting the feelings of others,” Leem said.

But he insisted that film censorship in the UAE is not tough, stressing that most movies are approved for release.

“It is normal if we express reservations about one movie out of 1,000,” he said.

On Saturday, Morocco banned the film on the grounds that it “represents God”.

In remarks published Tuesday by TelQuel magazine, the director of the Moroccan Cinematographer Centre said the ban had security in mind.

“You saw what happened in Tunisia after the screening of ‘Persepolis’,” said Sarim Fassi-Fihri, in reference to a 2012 attack by Salafists on a Tunisian TV station that had aired the controversial animated film depicting Iran’s Islamic revolution.

The 3D “Exodus: Gods and Kings”, starring Christian Bale as Moses, earned $24.1 million in its debut weekend in the United States, according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations. -AFP

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