Cinema and Islam: How Do You Say Cecil B. DeMille in Persian?………

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“Here in this Persian replica of Mecca, built at the cost of millions of dollars, an Iranian film company is attempting to offer the world a literal glimpse of the Prophet Muhammad despite traditional taboos against it. The movie “Muhammad, Messenger of God” already recalls the grandeur — and expense — of a Cecil B. DeMille film, with the narrow alleyways and a replica Kaaba shrine built here in the remote village of Allahyar. But by even showing the back of the Prophet Muhammad as a child before he was called upon by Allah, the most expensive film in Iranian history already has been criticized before its even widely released, calling into question who ultimately will see the Quranic story come to life on the big screen. ……….. But while Sunni Islam, the religion’s dominant branch, widely rejects any depictions of Muhammad, his close relatives or companions, Shiite Islam doesn’t. In Shiite powerhouse Iran and other countries, posters, banners, jewelry and even keychains bear the images of Muhammad’s son-in-law Ali, revered by Shiites who see him as the prophet’s rightful successor. The late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei, who led Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution and later became the country’s supreme leader, reportedly even kept a picture similar to young Muhammad…………”

Iranians often have a penchant for making historic films that depict historic figures of the Old, New, and Islamic Testaments. A few years ago they made a film about Joseph (he of the many-colored coat, son of Jacob). It showed only in Tunisia among the Arab countries, and only briefly before the Salafis attacked and forced its closure in that country.

I wonder if they’d ever make a film about the Muslim Arabs defeating ancient Persia (under Caliph Omar I)? But this film about Mohammed and ancient Mecca is a film I’d really like to see. It could be good, it could be lousy. This Iranian replica may be one way to see an artist’s image of early Mecca before Islam. The Saudis have erased all monuments of early Islam in the real Mecca, including the childhood houses of Prophet Mohammed and his early followers, the Sahaba. The sort of thing ISIS or DAESH has been doing lately. The princes have replaced these historic Mecca sites with luxury hotels, expensive apartment complexes, and shopping malls. And parking lots of course.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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