A torrential downpour of Muslim bans has Paramount Pictures' "Noah" bogged down in the Middle East prior to its March 28 release. Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have already confirmed that they will ban the film in their countries.
Other Muslim countries including Jordan, Kuwait and Egypt are expected to do the same, reports The Independent. The ban boycotts the depiction of Noah, who survived the Flood by building an ark according to G-d's word, as related in the Torah.
The blockbuster Biblical epic is directed by Jewish-American Darren Aronofsky, and features a star-studded cast of Russell Crowe, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, and Jennifer Connelly.
Nevertheless, Egypt's leading Sunni Muslim religious institute released a statement Thursday renewing "its rejection to the screening of any production that characterizes Allah’s prophets and messengers and the companions of the Prophet (Mohammed)," reports Al Arabiya.
It is worth noting that Mohammed reportedly lived around 1,500 years ago, whereas Noah walked the earth over 4,000 years ago according to the Torah. Many sects of Islam respect Noah and other Biblical prophets as prophets, but teaches that their messages were supplanted by the teachings of Mohammed.
Claiming that the film is “contrary to faith and to the fundamentals of the Islamic Sharia and provokes people’s feelings," the organization announced "the prohibition of the upcoming film about Allah’s messenger Noah – peace be upon him.”
Responding to the bans, director Aronofsky remarked "there isn't really a controversy. The controversy is all about the unknown and about the fear of people trying to exploit a Bible story. It will all disappear as soon as people start seeing the film."
The disclaimer to the film argues that "while artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide."
Ironically, the filming was set back by flooding in 2012 due to the Hurricane Sandy. A trailer of the film can be seen here: