The Message of Censorship…The Islamic Society of Britain joins the National Secular Society in protesting the ban of a Glasgow showing of the 1997 film, The Message

Posted: 11 November, 2015 in UK Censor News
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Message DVD Anthony Quinn The Message is a 1977 Lebanon / Libya / Kuwait / Morocco / UK historical biography by Moustapha Akkad.
Starring Anthony Quinn, Irene Papas and Michael Ansara. Youtube link IMDb

This must-see epic depicts the birth of Islam. In the 7th century Mohammed is visited by Angel Gabriel who urges him to lead the people of Mecca and worship God. But they’re exiled in Medina before returning to Mecca to take up arms against their oppressors and liberate their city in the name of God.

A Glasgow cinema that cancelled a screening of The Message, an Oscar nominated film portraying the life of the religious character Muhammad, has been urged to reconsider its decision.

About 100 complaints were made ahead of a scheduled showing of 1977 film at the Grosvenor Cinema next month. The complaints about the film’s content, such as the portrayal of Muhammad’s close companions by non-Muslim actors led to the cinema’s decision to ban the showing. No doubt an unstated fear of trouble also played a part in the decision.

The Islamic Society of Britain has protested the Grosvenor’s cancellation in the face of a small number of objections, which came in the form of an anonymous petition signed by 93 people, according to the Herald. A spokesman for the ISB said:

As Scottish Muslims we believe in the principles of freedom of speech and have worked for decades to promote the rights of people to make Islam relevant to British society. These protestors demonstrate the worst elements of our community, as they are imposing their beliefs on others.

We will not be bullied by these people. We are also appealing for the Grosvenor to stick to the original agreement, and show the film.

The National Secular Society has also written to the cinema to express its concern at what it called a climate of censorship brought on by the unreasonable and reactionary views of some religious extremists . NSS campaigns manager Stephen Evans said:

It’s a sad sign of the times that such a small petition has forced the venue to cancel. We hope the cinema will change its position and not allow the weapon of offense to be used to restrict its freedom as a cinema to screen films and the freedom of audiences to watch them.

SNP MSP Humza Yusaf also denounced the decision, saying:

I am apalled that they have caved in the face of a few narrow-minded imbeciles.


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