Cinema chain branches in the UK have picked up movie theaters about the Prophet Muhammad’s daughter and called it “reprehensible” following outrage from protesters.
Hundreds of protesters in Bradford, Bolton, Birmingham and Sheffield have taken to the streets to protest the screening of the Lady of Heaven.
The film was released in the UK on Jubilee Weekend but was pulled out after four days of protests by Cineworld in response to protesters’ demands.
In a video, the manager of a cinema hall is seen addressing the crowd, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ and confirming that the film was shot.
The film’s executive producer, Malik Schlibak, called the move “unacceptable” and accused the chains of “leaning towards radical extremists.”
The £ 12 million UK film begins with the invasion of Iraq by ISIS and features a graphic jihadist assassination before telling the story of Lady Fatima, one of the daughters of the founder of Islam.
Islamic tradition prohibits the direct portrayal of religious figures, while previous depictions of prophets have led to protests and assassinations amid accusations of blasphemy.
Director Eli King called Fatima a Faceless character, covered with a black veil to avoid doing this.
But protesters have accused the filmmakers of misrepresenting religious history and negatively portraying three key figures in Islam.
Muslims have been protesting in cinemas for days, claiming that the new film ‘The Lady of Heaven’ is ‘condemned’. Protesters outside Cineworld in Birmingham on Sunday, June 5
After protesting, some filmmakers have decided to remove him from the movie hall. Protesters outside Cineworld in Birmingham on Sunday, June 5
Protesters gathered outside a theater in the UK to protest the release of the film, which was officially released on June 3. Protesters outside Cineworld in Birmingham on Sunday, June 5.
Cineworld has canceled all screenings of the film nationwide to “ensure the safety of our employees and customers.” Protesters outside Cineworld in Birmingham on Sunday, June 5
The people behind the Lady of Heaven
No previous film has been credited to the film’s director Eli King.
He has not conducted any interviews before the release of the film and keeps it under radar profile.
Producer Malik Schlibak said after meeting several directors, they brought him to Raja.
He told the deadline: “Most of the British people, I would say, had a lot of interest, but the subject matter seemed very complicated, but we were very lucky in the end.”
The London-based executive producer has responded to the criticism by accusing the cinema of being “extremist”.
He wrote on Twitter: ‘I strongly disagree with these protesters (death of freedom of speech), I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their free publicity, we are seeing a flood of new audiences who have never heard of our film before . ‘
Speaking last year, he said the film was designed not to offend Muslims, adding that he knew the film contained “very sacred characters for nearly two billion people”.
The producer of the film Ashmire said that he hopes the film will educate the audience.
Speaking to Deadline last year, he said that even if it was an ’emotional film’, it would be informative for those unfamiliar with Lady Fatima’s story.
‘It’s all factually correct, so that’s one thing I want to repeat,’ he said.
“We have been very careful about this particular issue. We wanted to make sure we got it right. “
The author of the film, Sheikh Al-Habib, is a Kuwaiti Shiite scholar based in London.
He had previously been detained in the Middle East and was granted asylum in Britain.
He had earlier attacked Sunni Muslims, calling Aisha, the third wife of the Prophet Muhammad, an “enemy of God.”
The film’s producer Malik Schlibak described him as “a bright mind, an intellectual, an educator, a scholar, a historian”.
The film stars former Coronation Street actor Ray Fearn and was screened at the Cannes Film Festival last year, but was first released in the UK on June 3 this year.
John Stephenson, who directed the 1999 film Animal Farm and the 2004 film Five Children and It, worked as a creative consultant.
And other critics have lamented that the negative characters were portrayed by black artists rather than whites, which they say “stems from racial prejudice against people with fair skin.”
Protesters on Monday said they were “outraged” by the film and the way it portrayed the lives of respected religious figures.
One protester in Bradford, West Yorkshire, said: ‘We are very worried. We have the right not to insult.
‘You talk about freedom of speech but when it comes to criticizing your policy, critically analyzing the version of your history where your freedom of expression goes.
‘You have no right to tell our history. We will not allow this film to go ahead. ‘
Others used megaphones to receive their messages, carrying the signals ‘1.8 billion #handsoffoursuperheroes’ and ‘Stop Screening’.
In Bolton, Asif Patel, local chairman of the Council of Mosques, wrote a letter to his local branch of Cineworld, where he called the film a “slander.”
He said, “Many of you know that the recently released film ‘Lady of Heaven’ has caused a lot of pain to Muslims around the world.
“It is based on communal ideology and is reprehensible for the Muslim community.
It is a great disrespect to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in many ways and is deeply troubling to every Muslim.
‘It also misrepresents Orthodox historical stories and insults the most respected people in Islamic history.
“The story raises questions about the film’s great impact on the Muslim community and the extent to which the producers believed in the sanctity they loved.”
“At Bolton, we are a very diverse community and have a lot of respect for each other’s culture and community unity.”
A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) called for “respectful dialogue” between protesters and film supporters.
He said: ‘The MCB, which proudly represents those from different ideologies in our faith, supports the scholars and leaders who are advocating for greater unity and common good as commanded by our Holy Prophet. ).
The MCB has always advocated a respectful dialogue on inter-trust relations.
‘There are some – including many supporters of this film or those involved in communalism in their response – whose primary goal is to promote hatred.
A video posted on social media shows a cinema manager addressing a crowd of protesters outside to protest the film.
“We must not allow them to succeed.”
But the film’s executive producer, Mr. Schlibak, called Cinema Chen’s decision to pull the film “unacceptable.”
He said: “We think the protests have brought a lot of new findings about the film that were not heard about and we are right in the fact that people have protested.
‘But I believe that it is really unacceptable in this country that they are calling for it – to remove this film from the cinema because it has insulted them.
“It’s very silly, because everyone has the ability to share their views and exercise freedom of expression.
“I truly believe that from all sides, from the cinema, perhaps from the Muslim Council of Britain, there is a tendency to bow to these radical extremists and their demands.
Poster of The Lady of Heaven, which was removed from theaters in the UK after the day’s protests. A producer of the film has objected to the decision
“I think it’s more about The Lady of Heaven as a personal film, it’s about our British values and how much it means to us.
“These groups are now given the right to see what the British people can and cannot do in their local cinemas.”
In a statement, Cineworld has confirmed that the film has been pulled from all over to ensure the safety of employees.
A spokesman for Cineworld said: “Due to recent events surrounding the screening of The Lady of Heaven, we have decided to cancel the film’s upcoming screenings nationwide to ensure the safety of our staff and customers.”
Executive producer Malik Schlibak, who was photographed here at the Cannes Film Festival last year, criticized the decision to leave the film.
Hussein Asmire, Mehpe Al Husseini, Javad Salah and Malik Slibak (pictured left to right) from the company Enlightened State attended the premiere of The Lady of Heave at the Cannes Film Festival last year.
Vue, which still has screenings for the movie listed on its website, declined to confirm that the movie was pulled from any of its theaters.
A Vue spokesperson said: ‘Vue takes seriously the responsibility of providing a platform for a variety of content and believes in showing films of interest to diverse communities across the UK.
Vue will only show a film after the BBFC (Independent British Board of Film Classification) evaluates and evaluates the film. The Lady of Heaven is BBFC accredited and is on display in many of our theaters.
“Decisions on how long a film will be screened are made on a site-by-site basis and based on various commercial and operational factors.”
What the critics said
The film has received a strong response from the Muslim community, with critics saying it has received a warm response.
In its two-star review, The Guardian said product prices and sets look good, with a lack of ‘half-baked performance’ and ‘poetic nature’ pulling it down.
The Irish Times showed a slightly warmer response, giving it a three-star review, describing it as “no bad thing across the currents”, but “made with admirable enthusiasm.”
The New York Times called the film “reasonably brilliant,” but criticized it for “cheap reliance on bad scripts and clichs” to make it feel cheap.