ABU DHABI // The National Media Council has ruled that the Hollywood film Noah, due to be released this month, will not be shown in UAE cinemas.
The film, which depicts the story of Noah’s ark, stars Russell Crowe and is due to be released in the US on March 28.
The NMC said it would not be screened on religious grounds, as it went against the teachings of Islam by personifying a prophet. Islam forbids the depiction of holy figures in art.
“The National Media Council has made its final decision and will not be showing the film in the UAE,” said Juma Al Leem, the council’s director of media content.
The move by the NMC comes after Al Azhar, the seat of Sunni Muslim learning, passed a ruling forbidding the film to be shown.
A joint statement from Al Azhar in Egypt, the Council of Senior Scholars and the Islamic Research Academy said any depiction of prophets was prohibited.
“These productions were forbidden as they violate the principles of the Islamic law and the religious status of prophets, and provoke the feelings of the faithful,” it said.
Noah was also banned in cinemas across Egypt.
The film has come in for criticism from other religions, too. The US Christian speaker and author Ken Ham has been quoted as saying that it “contradicts the bible”.
Other commentators have attacked its inaccuracies. The Hollywood Christian screenwriter Brian Godwara blogged: “If you were expecting a biblically-faithful retelling of the story of the greatest mariner in history, and a tale of redemption and obedience to God, you’ll be sorely disappointed.”
The movie has also disappointed movie-goers.
“In general, the film contradicts Islam by portraying a prophet, plus the makers have changed the teachings of Islam, Christianity and Judaism to make a Hollywood-glorified false movie,” said Mohamed Ajmal, an Emirati resident of Dubai.
“I believe it insults the three religions. I believe the movie is damaging to be shown in any country. It’s blasphemous.”