Morocco has banned controversial British film The Lady Of Heaven over its “blatant falsification of established facts in Islamic history”.
UK cinema chain Cineworld has already cancelled screenings of the film after protests over its depiction of the Prophet Muhammad’s daughter Lady Fatimah.
Now the Moroccan Cinematographic Centre (CCM) has issued a statement to say no cinema in the country will be granted a licence to show the movie.
Morocco’s Supreme Council of Ulema has strongly condemned the film, claiming its writer, Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh Yasser al-Habib, was stripped of his Kuwaiti nationality over his “extremist ideas”.
It describes the “incarnation of the Prophet” as a “heinous act that cannot be accepted by Muslims” and says it “categorically rejects the blatant falsification of established facts in Islamic history”.
The Lady Of Heaven is believed to be the first on-screen depiction of Lady Fatimah’s life.
Most Muslims find any portrayal of their prophets highly offensive, making attempts to do so extremely contentious.
The filmmakers say they went to great lengths to avoid any holy person being played by an actor.
Instead they chose to convey them through a mixture of CGI, lighting and visual effects.
Film ‘might lead to communal violence’
But Roshan M Salih, editor of the British Muslim news site 5Pillars, warned it could still lead to violent uproar.
He wrote on Twitter: “Let me put this simply – Lady of Heaven should be banned because it might lead to communal violence.
“Muslims love the Prophet and Sahaba [companions of the Prophet] so much that provocations like this might lead to criminal reactions from some misguided individuals.”
He said the film could “lead to a reaction even if that reaction itself is wrong”.
Why is The Lady Of Heaven so controversial?
Egypt, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq are among the countries to condemn the film.
In the UK, demonstrations have taken place outside cinemas in Bradford, Leeds, Sheffield, Bolton, Blackburn, Birmingham and east London.
It was due to be shown in Cineworld, Vue and Showcase cinemas.
But after the former pulled screenings over safety concerns for staff and customers, only Vue viewings appear to be available to book online.