Darren Aronofsky's upcoming film "Noah" has reportedly been banned by censorship boards in Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates due to its personification of biblical characters, which reportedly violates Islamic law.
Insiders with Paramount Pictures, the company producing "Noah," told The Hollywood Reporter that censorship boards in the Middle Eastern countries said they will not release the film. Kuwait, Egypt and Jordan are reportedly expected to follow suit.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount had expected "Noah" would face criticism in Islamic countries. Islamic law states it is blasphemous to characterize prophets of Muhammad, and the film is inspired by the biblical story of Noah, one of God's prophets who builds an ark to escape a catastrophic flood. more >>
The Islamist militant group Boko Haram has stepped up its attack efforts in Nigeria's northeastern state of Borno, reportedly killing 150 people over the weekend. A senator from Borno state said this week that the violence has become so unmanageable that soldiers flee with villagers when the militants arrive, as they are outnumbered and lack proper weapons to fight the militants.
The intense violence took place over the weekend, when Boko Haram militants swarmed three cities in the Borno state, killing a reported total of 150 from Friday to Sunday. Although Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has allowed the military extra power to curb the extremist group, recent reports indicate that Boko Haram's numbers have been too large for local military to sustain.
Ahmad Zannah, a senator from Borno state, told BBC earlier this week that when Boko Haram militants arrived in Borno over the weekend, military personnel fled along with the villagers because there was not enough manpower to fight the militants. "When the attack took place, all of them ran away, along with the villagers. There was no resistance." more >>
A top Islamic institute in Egypt has called for a ban on Darren Aronofsky's upcoming "Noah" movie, arguing that the Hollywood film provokes people and violates Islamic law.
Al-Azhar, a main Sunni Muslim institute, said in statement on Thursday that movies like "Noah" are "contrary to faith and to the fundamentals of the Islamic Sharia [law]," and announced that it is prohibiting the screening of films that personify biblical figures, Al Arabiya News reported.
"Al-Azhar renews its rejection to the screening of any production that characterizes Allah's prophets and messengers and the companions of the Prophet [Muhammad]," the institute said, adding that such productions "provoke people's feelings." more >>
Brunei's teachers and principals are reportedly threatened with prison time and punishment if they teach or speak to Muslim children about religions others than Islam, due to the country's upcoming implementation of Sharia law, which will also apply to Muslim children who attend Christian schools.
Fides News Agency noted on Thursday that starting April, it will be a crime to "persuade, influence, incite, encourage a child with non-Islamic teaching," as well as to "expose the child to any ceremony or act of worship which is not Islamic or allow the child to participate in activities for the benefit of other religions," with offending teachers facing five years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines.
The local Catholic Church said the restrictions will also be applied to Christians schools attended by Muslim students. more >>
[Teaser: Why the Koran and the Sword are inextricably linked…]
While other scriptures contain contradictions, the Koran is the only holy book whose commentators have evolved a doctrine to account for the very visible shifts that occur from one injunction to another. No careful reader will remain unaware of the many contradictory verses in the Koran, most specifically the way in which peaceful and tolerant verses lie almost side by side with violent and intolerant ones. The ulema were initially baffled as to which verses to codify into the Shari'a worldview-the one that states there is no coercion in religion (2:256), or the ones that command believers to fight all non-Muslims till they either convert, or at least submit, to Islam (8:39, 9:5, 9:29). To get out of this quandary, the commentators developed the doctrine of abrogation, which essentially maintains that verses revealed later in Muhammad's career take precedence over earlier ones whenever there is a discrepancy. In order to document which verses abrogated which, a religious science devoted to the chronology of the Koran's verses evolved (known as an-Nasikh wa'l Mansukh, the abrogater and the abrogated).
But why the contradiction in the first place? The standard view is that in the early years of Islam, since Muhammad and his community were far outnumbered by their infidel competitors while living next to them in Mecca, a message of peace and coexistence was in order. However, after the Muslims migrated to Medina in 622 and grew in military strength, verses inciting them to go on the offensive were slowly "revealed"-in principle, sent down from God-always commensurate with Islam's growing capabilities. In juridical texts, these are categorized in stages: passivity vis-á-vis aggression; permission to fight back against aggressors; commands to fight aggressors; commands to fight all non-Muslims, whether the latter begin aggressions or not. Growing Muslim might is the only variable that explains this progressive change in policy. more >>
Out of fear of losing their lives or religion, a tiny group of Christians who still remain in the northern Syrian city of Rakka have agreed to pay off Islamists with a "Tribute Tax" so they won't be killed.
Earlier this year, Rakka's Christian leaders and representatives from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), an Islamist branch of Al-Qaeda, signed a dhimma or protection agreement, under which members of the church must now pay for their own physical protection, reported Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper.
Under the dhimma, wealthy Christians must pay the ISIS $500 twice a year per person or four gold dinars. Middle class and poor Christians will pay half and a quarter of the fine respectively, "on condition they do not conceal their true financial situation." more >>