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Blockbuster Bible Epic Noah Is Banned From Several Middle East Countries

7 March 2014

It is expected to be the big movie blockbuster of the spring, as Russell Crowe portrays the Biblical character of Noah.

But the film boards of some Middle East countries have banned the David Aronofsky film saying the film is in violation of Islamic law.

They informed Paramount Pictures they won't permit screenings of the movie, and insiders at the studio say they expect Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait will follow suit.

Russell Crowe as Noah, which has been banned in some Middle East countries (Paramount Pictures)

The ban came as the Sunni Muslim Insititute Al-Azhar released a statement condeming the movie and urging Egypt, where the organisation is based, to ban the movie.

It said: "Al-Azhar renews its rejection to the screening of any production that characterizes Allah’s prophets and messengers and the companions of the Prophet [Mohammed].

"Therefore, Al-Azhar announces the prohibition of the upcoming film about the Allah’s messenger Noah – peace be upon him."

Noah stars Crowe as the Biblical phrophet who repeatedly sees visions of a destructive and apocalyptic flood.

Believing them to be messages from God, he builds an ark to save his family and the world's animals from the flood which threatens all life on Earth.

Also starring Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson and Anthony Hopkins, it has faced criticism from religious groups in the US for Aronofsky's creative retelling of the famous story.

Last week, Paramount Pictures talked with conservative Christian organisation The National Religious Broadcasters and then attached what they call a "explanatory message" to the film's marketing material.

A statement from the studio read: "The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis."

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