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Noah, the Biblical epic from Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky, has been banned in several Middle Eastern countries, since officials there believe the script is contradictory to Islam. Juma Al-Leem of the United Arab Emirates said that the film won’t be shown in his country because it depicts a prophet.
“There are scenes that contradict Islam and the Bible, so we decided not to show it,” Al-Leem, the director of media content at the UAE’s National Media Center, told The Associated Press. “It is important to respect these religions and not show the film.”
Al-Leem stressed that the government censors did see Aronofsky’s film, which is being released by Paramount in the U.S. The studio did confirm earlier reports that other Middle Eastern countries banned it since “it contradicts the teachings of Islam.”
The respected Al-Azhar institute in Egypt issued a statement to Haaretz last week saying that it “renews its rejection to the screening of any production that characterizes Allah's prophets and messengers and the companions of the Prophet.”
The AP notes that there are differences between the Biblical Noah and the Quran version of events. Noah is called “Nuh” in the Arabic text and the Quran states that Noah was told to build an ark since his community would not worship only God.
Paramount has understood that Noah will be a controversial release. In the U.S., it already struck a deal with a Christian religious group to add a statement to the film and marketing materials. It notes that “artistic license has been taken” with the film.
Noah, which stars Russell Crowe, Emma Watson and Jennifer Connelly, opens in the U.S. on March 28.
image courtesy of Paramount