Tuesday, December 30, 2014

No "Exodus" for Morocco

Christian Bale as Moses in Exodus: Gods and Kings

Morocco has joined Egypt and the UAE in banning the Hollywood biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings because it “represents God” which is forbidden under Islam.

The film's Moroccan distributor said on Saturday that written notice had been received that Ridley Scott’s blockbuster contained a scene that represents God in the form of a “child who gives a revelation to the prophet Moses”.

“I deplore this censorship,” distributor Mounia Layadi Benkirane said in a statement.

Moroccan media on Thursday reported that cinema managers had been told not to screen the film, despite its release already having been approved by the state-run Moroccan Cinema Centre (MCC).

Hassan Belkady, who runs Cinema Rif in Casablanca, said he had been threatened with the closure of his business if he ignored the ban.

“They phoned and threatened they would shut down the theatre if I did not take the film off the schedule,” Belkady said.

Managers at Renaissance Cinema in Rabat were told that the ban was nationwide, TelQuel magazine reported. Such a ban is rare in Morocco.

Eqypt has also banned the movie, citing "historical inaccuracies". Exodus retells the biblical story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, and the film was controversial prior to news of its ban in Morocco.

The film's detractors also criticize Scott's casting of white actors in leading roles, while giving slave roles to black actors, Christian Today reported. A Change.org petition urged people to boycott the film. "The Bible says both Egyptians and Ethiopians are descendants of Ham," the petition reads. "Remember, Egypt wasn't invaded by Rome until 300 B.C. Egypt is in Africa, not Europe."

Agence France-Presse speculated that the ban was put into place in Morocco because Muslims believe that Moses is a prophet and hence should not be depicted in any pictorial representation.

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