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Mon 29 Dec 2014 11:53 AM

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Biblical movie ‘Exodus’ banned in the UAE

Ridley Scott's $140m film staring Christian Bale as Moses has also been banned in Egypt and Morocco

Biblical movie ‘Exodus’ banned in the UAE

The UAE has become the third Arab country, after Morocco and Egypt, to ban the Hollywood movie “Exodus: Gods and Kings”.

Ridley Scott’s $140 million epic blockbuster, which stars Christian Bale and Sir Ben Kingsley, is based on the Bible’s Book of Exodus and tells an interpretation of the story of the prophet Moses rising up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses.

Juma Obeid Al Leem, the director of Media Content Tracking at the National Media Council, told Gulf News there were a number of errors found in the film.

“This movie is under our review and we found that there are many mistakes not only about Islam but other religions too. So, we will not release it in the UAE,” Al Leem confirmed.

The film has already been banned in Egypt, because of what the country’s film censors describe as "historical inaccuracies".

The Moroccan Cinema Centre decided to ban the move the day before its premiere, after it had previously given the film the green light.

The film also faced criticism over its decision to cast white actors in a film set in ancient Egypt.

It is not the first Biblical-themed Hollywood movie to have run into trouble with censors in the region. In March, three Arab countries banned the Hollywood film "Noah" on religious grounds even before its worldwide premiere.

Islam frowns upon representing holy figures in art and depictions of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) in European and North American media have repeatedly sparked deadly protests in Islamic countries over the last decade, fanning cultural tensions with the West.

"Censors for Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) officially confirmed this week that the film will not release in their countries," a representative of Paramount Pictures, which produced the $125 million film starring Oscar-winners Russell Crowe and Anthony Hopkins, told Reuters.

"The official statement they offered in confirming this news is because 'it contradicts the teachings of Islam'," the representative said, adding the studio expected a similar ban in Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait.

Mel Gibson's 2004 film "The Passion of the Christ" on Jesus's crucifixion was widely screened in the Arab World, despite a flurry of objections by Muslim clerics.

A 2012 Arab miniseries "Omar" on the exploits of a seventh century Muslim ruler and companion of the Prophet Mohammad also managed to defy clerics' objections and air on a Gulf-based satellite television channel.

The publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a Danish newspaper in 2006 touched off riots in the Middle East, Africa and Asia in which at least 50 people died.

A 2012 amateur Youtube video deriding Mohammad produced in California stoked protests throughout the region, and may have contributed to a deadly militant raid in Libya which killed the U.S. ambassador and three other American staff.

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