Iranians seem to have a knack for producing controversial historical films about ancient Prophets, with actors depicting these ancient worthies. Naturally any historical film in the Middle East, especially about the Prophets of Islam and Christianity and Judaism, is controversial. The Ten Commandments is still banned in all Arab states, but then so is Sodom and Gomorrah and Ben Hur; even Lawrence of Arabia is banned although I never knew T.E. to be a prophet. The last one was about Joseph (son of Jacob, not the carpenter), which had Salafis attack some television studios in North Africa for showing it. Among many Muslims, well among some of us Muslims, such depiction is considered blasphemous.
Among Wahhabi Salafis, any depiction or facsimile or controversial mention of any ancient character other than Saudi kings and princes is considered blasphemous. Iranian mullahs, apparently, are not of that “blasphemy” school of thought where films are considered.
Now it seems the “big no no” is being tested. A dusty organization called the International Association for Muslim Ulema (a bunch of clerics), wtf that be, has protested against the plans of an Iranian film company to produce a film representing the personality of the Prophet Mohammed. The clerics, located at Mecca, are pissed and have asked the Iranian government to prevent production of the film, to be simply titled “Mohammed”, and ban its showing. The ulema said that such film will besmirch the high status of the prophet and will harm his position and may even expose the Prophet to “ridicule”. The ulema noted that it is taboo to have prophets impersonated by actors.
No doubt the ulema have not read the script for the film (nor have I). But the ulema in Mecca are always pissed about something, except repression and the mind-boggling corruption around them in the Holy City and in the whole kingdom.
I think the only ridiculous characters here are probably these clerics who are afraid of anything new, of their own shadows. As for the taboo on actors impersonating the prophets, perhaps they can get a Saudi prince top play the role: he won’t be taboo. Now that Charlton Heston, with his cold cold hands, is dead.