The recent announcement by a Qatari company that it would remake Moustafa Akkad’s well known biopic of the Prophet Muhammad, The Message, has restarted the debate about how Islam can be represented in film and how Islam and Hollywood can coexist. The original release of The Message in 1977 elicited protest from some Muslims, including a few who held theatregoers hostage in a Washington DC cinema, even as the film later became required viewing for even the most conservative Muslims.Still, today’s technology, combined with today’s demanding film-going audiences, means that boundaries may still be pushed. And yet, art still remains one of the most effective ways of telling stories and reaching out to non-Muslims worldwide.
On April 15th, Al Jazeera English’s Riz Khan spoke with Raja Sharif, the vice-president of the Doha-based Alnoor Holdings, which is producing the film on the Prophet Mohammed, Kamran Pasha, the author of Mother of the Believers: A Novel of the Birth of Islam, about the life of Aisha, the prophet’s wife, and our Editor-in-Chief, Shahed Amanullah. Shahed also wrote on this topic for the Guardian’s Comment is Free.
Zahed Amanullah is Associate Editor of altmuslim.com