‘Passion’ opens despite Islamic objections

( [email protected] ) May 05, 2004 09:03 AM EDT

Approval has been given for the ‘Passion of the Christ’ to be aired in Iran’s theaters, despite Islamic objections against the portrayal of prophets on screen.

Iran’s Islamic Cultural and Guidance ministry unanimously decided on April 27th to run the film in its entirely, with Persian subtitles in cinemas throughout the country. The Farabi Cinema Foundation in charge of foreign movies, bought a copy of ‘The Passion’ in February, and since has negotiated with theater owners to screen it this month. The decision to allow the film directed by Mel Gibson to be shown in the country is striking for the predominantly Shiite Muslim state, which censors the majority of Western-made films. Islam prohibits the visible depiction of holy figures, and says that Jesus was neither crucified nor the Son of God, Analysts say, however, that Jewish anger over the film has encouraged many Islamic countries to break their strict censorship rules and allow ‘The Passion’ to be viewed.

Bahrein and Kuwait have banned the film, but several other Islamic countries including Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have already approved the film for screening.