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Majid Majidi, AR Rahman face ire for working on Prophet Mohammed film

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NEW DELHI: Seeking a ban on renowned Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi?s film Mohammed: Messenger of God, which opened the Montreal World Film Festival this month, an Indian Muslim group has also issued a fatwa against Majidi and the film?s music composer AR Rahman.

The Mumbai-based Raza Academy - a Sunni Muslim group, demanded that Muslims reject the film, which is the first of the trilogy on the life of Prophet Mohammad.

Last week, the group had written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, seeking a ban on Majidi?s film. They have also sought a meeting with the Home Minister and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

?We are against the title. People may use it in a bad manner if they don?t like the film, which will mean an insult to the Prophet. The actors have charged money to act in the film and they may have dubious character in real life. How can we Muslims allow such things to happen?? asked Raza Academy chief Saeed Noorie. The fatwa was issued by Muhammad Akhtar ? the chief mufti of Mumbai.

In the fatwa, the reason cited is the Prophet?s word that no visual or picture of him be created or kept. The fatwa claims the film makes a mockery of Islam, and professional actors, including some non-Muslims, have been cast in the key roles.

The fatwa adds that the Muslims working on the film have committed sacrilege and will have to read the kalma again and also solemnise their marriage again. ?They have erred and they must apologise,? he said.

Noting that most members of the film?s crew were Muslim, Noorie said that it was more important to make them realise their mistake. ?We would have been criticised if we had condemned American or Danish filmmakers. If it?s an insult, then it is an insult and the person?s religion doesn?t matter,? he said.

Majidi along with another Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf  has directed films like Children of Heaven, which was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 1998 Academy Awards, The Color of Paradise, and Baran. He is also currently working on a film on Kashmir. 

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