A prominent cinema chain in the UK has pulled a movie deemed offensive to Muslims which attempts to portray events in the life of the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, after protests by British Muslims took place against it.
The film, named 'Lady of Heaven', was pulled by Cineworld after protests by the British Muslim community outside venues in Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford and Sheffield. In a statement yesterday by the cinema chain, it announced that "we have made the decision to cancel upcoming screenings of the film nationwide to ensure the safety of our staff and customers".
Opening with a scene recalling the terror group, Daesh, over-running territory in Iraq, the movie then goes on to portray the story of Prophet Muhammad's daughter, Fatima, by outlining several alleged events in her life and linking them in with the present-day story of a young Iraqi orphan.
READ: Indian film banned in Kuwait and Qatar over Islamophobic tropes
Although the movie portrays Fatima's story through the lens of the Shia Muslim narrative, it was protested against by both Sunnis and Shias, and was also criticised and condemned by a number of prominent Shia religious scholars.
Even the Iranian government – notorious for its proselytising efforts to promote Shia religious and political influence worldwide – banned the movie within its country on the grounds that it is divisive in the Muslim world. It is also banned in Pakistan and Egypt.
The movie was written by the Kuwaiti Shia cleric, Yasser Al-Habib, who runs a London-based religious group named the Mahdi Servants Union. Al-Habib has long been a controversial figure over the years after making a number of insults against the Prophet's other companions, as well as against the Prophet's wife, Aisha, who he called "an enemy of God".
Directed by Eli King – an Australian-born actor of Egyptian Coptic Christian descent – produced by the UK-based entertainment company, Enlightenment Kingdom, the movie cost a total of $15 million to make and its rights are owned by the Los Angeles-based company, Hannibal Media.