Tuesday, March 30, 2004

CONTROVERSY IN KUWAIT over Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ:
The Sunnis dismiss the film while the Shiites wish to show it. The authorities, meanwhile, have not decided either way.

The dean of the local Islamic college, Mohammad al-Tabtabai, said in a fatwa, or religious edict, Monday that parts of the controversial movie contradict the Muslim faith, in addition to its depiction of Jesus.

Tabtabai went so far as to outlaw the film's screening by any Muslim country and prohibited Muslims from watching it, saying anyone who has seen the movie must "repent".

But the emirate's leading Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Muhri said there was nothing wrong in showing the film and called on the authorities to approve it.

"It's a good opportunity to reveal the crimes committed by Jews against the Christ and many other (religious) prophets," Muhri told AFP.

"We sincerely respect the Jewish religion and Jews, but not the Jewish Zionists, and we believe in Jesus and Moses like we believe in our own prophet," he added.

My emphasis. What exactly the qualification about Jewish Zionists has to do with anything is beyond me. Does Ayatollah Muhri think that Caiaphas was a Zionist and Jesus and his disciples weren't? Zionism wasn't a category in the first century. This is anti-Semitism, pure and simple; it has nothing to do with disagreeing with Zionism.

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