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Indonesia has joined the growing list of countries with a Muslim majority that has banned Paramount’s big budget Biblical epic Noah with Russell Crowe. As previous countries have said, officials in the country with the largest Muslim population in the world say that the film contradicts Islam.
“We don’t want a film that could provoke reactions and controversies,” Film Censorship Board member Zainut Tauhid Sa’adi told news agency Detik.com on Monday, reports TIME. “Members of the Film Censorship Board have agreed to reject [the film].”
21 Group, the largest cinema franchise in Indonesia, said that it will follow the board’s recommendation and will not show the film.
Noah is a prophet in both the Old Testament and the Koran. The United Arab Emirates and other countries have banned the film because it is against Islam to depict a prophet.
The move has not come without controversy in Indonesia, where the country’s film community has said that director Darren Aronofsky's artistic interpretation of the Noah’s Ark story should be screened there.
Chand Parwez Servia, president of Indonesian film company PT. Kharisma, told The Hollywood Reporter that he believes it is just a political decision, since elections are on April 9.
“I think they are just being careful -- no one wants a controversy that can be used against them by a rival party,” Servia told THR. “And other Muslim countries have already done the same.”
Paramount clearly understood that the film may also be viewed as controversial in the christian community and already agreed to add a statement to stress that the film is only one artist interpretation of Biblical events.
Noah opens in the U.S. on Friday.
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