(Photo: Paramount Pictures)
Two more Muslim majority countries have opted to ban Darren Aronofsky's Noah, citing concerns of unrest and fear of controversies.
Malaysia and Indonesia have joined the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain in censoring the film from theaters. However, Egypt, which had suggested that it might too ban the film, announced on Monday that its board of censors had approved the film for release.
Muchlis Paen, the head of Indonesia's censor board, whose country is home to 209 million Muslims, argued that the film contradicted the flood stories in both the Koran and Bible.
"We have to reject Noah to be screened here," Paeni said as quoted by the Associated Press. "We don't want a film that could provoke controversies and negative reactions."
In Malaysia, whose 30 million population is 60 percent Muslim and nearly 10 percent Christian, Film Censorship Board chairman Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid said he was worried that the film might provoke turmoil.
"The film 'Noah' is not allowed to be screened in this country to protect the sensitivity and harmony in Malaysia's multiracial and multi-religious community," Hamid said in a statement.
In the past, Malaysia has also censored Brokeback Mountain and The Passion of the Christ, citing religion.
Due to concerns of American Christians, who worried about the film's adherence to the Biblical text, Paramount Pictures added a disclaimer to the Old Testament epic.
"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," the disclaimer states.
Under the Koran, visual depictions of Islam's prophets are forbidden, as Muslims argue that this would violate a teaching that calls for worship of Allah alone.
Prior to its March 28 release in the United States, the film stirred up controversy from American Christians who were worried about the film's deviation from the biblical account of Noah and the flood. Since then, the film has made $72 million domestically and $106 million overseas.