Al-Azhar Pushes for Ban on ‘Noah’

Owner of the 'Glocken-Palast' (Bells Palace) Horst Wrobel poses next to a model of Noah' s Ark in a exhibition room in the palace in Gifhorn, northern Germany on May 11, 2013. The Bells palace has been completed after 16 years of construction combining various Russian timber building styles. Its founderstone was layed by former Russian president Mikhail Gorbatchev in 1996. AFP Photo / Ronny Hartmann
Al-Azhar institute said the movie Noah violated Islam by portraying a prophet. AFP Photo / Ronny Hartmann

CAIRO, March 6, 2014 (AFP) – Egypt’s top Islamic body yesterday said the big budget Hollywood biblical epic “Noah” starring Russell Crowe was irreligious and should not be screened in the country.

Al-Azhar institute said the movie, slated to open in Egypt on March 26, violated Islam by portraying a prophet. The institute can play an advisory role on censoring movies and books in Egypt, but does not have the final say.

The film has already angered some Christian institutions in the United States, with Crowe’s reportedly unconventional portrayal of Noah, which “contradicts the stature of prophets and messengers… and antagonises the faithful,” said Al-Azhard in a statement.

Egypt’s censorship board must approve any movie before it is shown, but it was not immediately clear whether it has approved “Noah” yet.

The Paramount Pictures website said the film would be released on March 26 in Egypt, and a day later in other Middle Eastern countries.

Egypt has censored other movies in the past, including the blockbuster “The Da Vinci Code” after protests from the Orthodox Coptic Church. But it did allow the screening of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of Christ”, which depicts Jesus being crucified.

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