The Muslim Action Forum – a collective of British Muslim scholars and organisations – is urging Muslims to boycott cinema chains which platformed the blasphemous anti-Sunni hate film The Lady of Heaven.
The organisation made the call in a letter to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) which gave the movie a licence to be screened without consulting any Muslim experts.
Cineworld showed the film in several locations around England before pulling it due to “safety fears” despite all protests being peaceful.
Showcase Cinemas were due to show the film but cancelled public screenings without making a public statement.
But Vue Cinemas continued to show the film even after Muslims had voiced their opposition, citing accreditation from the BBFC. No further screenings at Vue are planned.
The Muslim Action Forum letter also heavily criticises the BBFC for greenlighting the movie on the grounds that it could ignite religious hatred.
Here is the letter in full:
To the British Board of Film Classification FAO David Austin, Chief Executive
3 Soho Square
London, W1D 3HD
15th June 2022
We write to you regarding the film “Lady of Heaven” directed by Eli King, that was released in Britain on 3rd June 2022 in Vue Cinemas, Cineworld and Showcase. It has been written by Yasir Al-Habib who is a prominent, extreme Shi’a cleric denounced by Muslims of all denominations including Shia. He was imprisoned in Kuwait for his hate speech, and also deported out of Iran – denounced by them as a “mad man” and an “illiterate fool.”
The film is blasphemous, historically inaccurate, and blatantly anti-Muslim, designed to cause outrage and hatred between communities, especially between Shias and Sunnis. It has been a financial flop in the USA and in the UK as audiences have realised that it is nothing but a cheap money-making exercise at the expense of others. This is akin to showing a sectarian film about the issues in Northern Ireland where the leaders of one side are depicted as inherently evil along with their families. On this occasion the beliefs of over two billion Muslims have been deeply offended.
The Public Order Act 1986, quoted in your guidelines, makes it illegal to show abusive and insulting images designed to stir up racial or religious hatred. This film has been designed to create just that result. We already know after the Satanic Verses and Charlie Hebdo experiences, that it is deeply offensive to the two billion Muslims in this world to depict the image of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who is respected and revered by each and every one of us. The film offends us as it not only depicts our beloved Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم but also portrays members of his blessed household. Whilst these noble people dedicated their whole lives in helping the sick and needy, the film depicts some of them as evil and as terrorists.
This film has been withdrawn from most cinemas after Muslims demonstrated their opposition to it and were prepared to continue to peacefully demonstrate until the film was withdrawn. We are now calling upon British Muslims to boycott all the guilty cinema chains.
The BBFC should not have given licence in the first instance, and we request to review your decision in regards this film. We are happy to assist you in any way possible in this regard, if required.
On behalf of Muslim Action Forum