Ridley Scott's Exodus movie banned in UAE and Qatar

Hollywood movie "Exodus: Gods and Kings" was banned this week in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar, as the religious epic proves controversial in the Middle East.

Regulators in both the UAE and Qatar could not be reached for comment on Wednesday morning. However, Juma Obeid Al Leem of the UAE's National Media Council, told local paper Gulf News "there are many mistakes, not only about Islam, but other religions too".

Doha News quoted cinema representatives on Tuesday confirming the movie's ban in Qatar, although no reason was given.

Still from the film Exodus: Gods & Kings.
Source: 21st Centery Fox | YouTube

The movie has offended some Muslim authorities for its depiction of Moses, an important prophet in Islam as well as Christianity and Judaism, and the biblical exodus from Egypt.

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Egypt's ministry of culture banned the film before its slated release, and it has also been banned in Morocco.

The movie has also failed to air in Kuwait or Bahrain, even though it was expected to release there on December 25. Calls by CNBC to cinema outlets confirmed the movie was not being shown at this time in either country, and no screenings were planned in the coming days.

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In a statement carried by AP news agency, the Egyptian ministry said the movie included "intentional gross historical fallacies."

"(These) offend Egypt and its pharaonic ancient history, in yet another attempt to Judaize Egyptian civilization, which confirms the international Zionist fingerprints all over the film," the ministry said.

"Exodus: Gods and Kings", directed by Ridley Scott and starring Christian Bale as Moses, cost $140 million to produce, and brought in $24.5 million during the opening weekend.

The future of films
The future of films

Egypt's culture ministry has also criticized the movie for falsely depicting ancient Egyptians as "savages" who killed Jews. It also objected to the depiction of God as a child.

Hollywood movies with religious narratives, such as Darren Aronofsky's recent "Noah", have proved controversial before. However, some have proved popular in the Middle East, such as Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ", which was widely screened in the Arab world on its release one decade ago.

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