7 Mar 2014

Islamic body wants Noah film banned

8:28 pm on 7 March 2014

Egypt's top Islamic body says the big budget Hollywood biblical epic Noah, starring Russell Crowe, is irreligious and should not be screened in the country.

Al-Azhar institute, one of the region's main Sunni Muslim authorities said the movie violated Islam by portraying a prophet.

Russel Crowe.

Russel Crowe. Photo: AAP

The film has already angered some Christian institutions in the United States, with Crowe's reportedly unconventional portrayal of Noah, AFP reports.

Al-Azhar can play an advisory role on censoring movies and books in Egypt, but does not have the final say.

Portraying a prophet "contradicts the stature of prophets and messengers... and antagonises the faithful," the institution said in a statement.

Egypt's censorship board must approve any movie before it is shown, but it was not clear whether it has approved Noah yet.

The Paramount Pictures website said the film would be released on 26 March in Egypt, and a day later in other Middle Eastern countries.

Egypt has censored other movies in the past, including the blockbuster The Da Vinci Code after protests from the Orthodox Coptic Church.

However, it did allow the screening of Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ, which depicts Jesus being crucified. Muslims believe Jesus was a prophet and was not crucified.