The cinema chain Cineworld has confirmed to 5Pillars that it has cancelled future screenings of the blasphemous film The Lady of Heaven.
The announcement comes after days of protests around the country by Muslims furious at the depiction in the film of the Prophet (pbuh), his wife Aisha (ra) and his companions Abu Bakr and Umar (ra).
Nearly 120,000 people have also signed a petition demanding that the film be removed from UK cinema screens.
A spokesperson for Cineworld told us this morning: “Due to recent incidents related to screenings of ‘The Lady of Heaven’, we have made the decision to cancel upcoming screenings of the film nationwide to ensure the safety of our staff and customers.”
Over the last few days thousands of Muslims have demonstrated outside Cineworld venues in Bradford, Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham, Bolton and elsewhere. All protests have remained peaceful and police have not had to intervene in any of them.
Speeches at the protests have focussed on condemning the film for sectarian hate and honouring the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions (ra).
Meanwhile, the cinema chain Vue still has screenings listed for London and the south-east.
A spokesperson said: “Vue takes seriously the responsibilities that come with providing a platform for a wide variety of content and believes in showcasing films of interest to diverse communities across the UK.
“Vue will only show a film once the BBFC (the independent British Board of Film Classification) has assessed and rated a film. The Lady of Heaven has been BBFC accredited and is on show in a number of our cinemas.
“Decisions about how long a film remains on show are taken on a site-by-site basis and based on a variety of commercial and operational factors.”
And the film’s producer, Malik Shlibak, has told the Guardian cinemas should “stand up and defend their right to show films that people want to see.”
He said: “I think cinemas are crumbling to the pressure, and taking these decisions to quell the noise… This is an artistic endeavour talking about and elaborating on history and religion, which always has a plethora of different takes and interpretations. That’s normal and healthy. We welcome this and we welcome people to express themselves, whether they’re for or against the film.”