A new film, branded ‘blasphemous’ by protestors, will not be shown at Leicestershire Cineworld cinemas a spokesperson for the company has confirmed to LeicestershireLive. The cinema group decided to stop showing the film The Lady of Heaven following demonstrations at the weekend.
The film, which chronicles the life of the Prophet Muhammad’s daughter, is blasphemous, according to protestors. Hundreds of demonstrators turned out in Bolton, Bradford, Birmingham and Sheffield to picket theatres following screenings of The Lady of Heaven over the weekend.
The film is billed as the “heart-wrenching journey of Lady Fatima, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad. Separated by 1400 years, an Iraqi child, in the midst of a war-torn country, learns the importance and power of patience.
“After losing his mother, the child finds himself in a new home, where a loving grandmother narrates the historical story of The Lady and how her suffering as the first victim of terrorism spun out of control into the 21st century.”
The Mirror reports that the movie opens with the invasion of Iraq by ISIS and features a graphic jihadist murder. It then goes on to document the life of Fatima, daughter of the founder of Islam, during the seventh century.
Islamic tradition forbids the direct portrayal of religious figures, and although the film’s director Eli King depicts Fatima as a faceless character, shrouded by a veil, many still regarded the depiction as blasphemy. A ‘creativity note’ on production company Enlightened Kingdom’s website states, “In accordance with Islamic tradition, during the making of this film no individual represented a Holy Personality. The performances of the Holy Personalities were achieved through a unique synthesis of actors, in-camera effects, lighting and visual effects.
Protestors have accused filmmakers of inaccurately depicting religious history and negatively portraying three of Islam’s most important figures. Other critics claim negative characters were portrayed by black actors, which they say ‘stems from the racial bias against darker skinned people.’
Cineworld has two cinemas in Leicestershire – in The Crescent, Hinckley and Baxter Gate, Loughborough. Explaining the decision not to screen the film, the spokesperson said:
“Due to recent incidents related to screenings of ‘The Lady of Heaven’, we have made the decision to cancel upcoming screenings of the film nationwide to ensure the safety of our staff and customers.”