As everyone who reads my blog knows, I am not a religious person. However, I believe that everyone should have a right to their own beliefs, unless those beliefs interfere with others, or cause harm to people. I know that many religious people get comfort from their faith, whatever that faith might be.
As a result, I rarely comment on religion on this blog.
But today, I feel the need to talk about something that does concern me.
On release in cinemas around the UK is a British film, ‘Lady In Heaven’. This is an historical epic written by a Shia Muslim cleric, Sheikh Yasser al-Habib of Kuwait, and it concerns the story of Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed.
As a film fan, I confess that it is not a film that interests me that much. However, I suspected that in modern multi-cultural Britain, it could find a large audience. It was actually taken up for distribution by Cineworld, one of the largest multiplex cinema chains in this country.
So far, just a normal film release.
Then a cinema in Yorkshire was surrounded by an angry mob of local British Muslims who objected to the film being shown. The staff were threatened, and the producer of the film received death threats. Despite the presence of police officers, no arrests were made, and the banner-waving and chanting mob was allowed to continue to make their protest outside the location.
That’s the right of free speech in a democracy.
Then Cineworld decided not to show the film, in any of its cinemas in Yorkshire. Perhaps not in any of their cinemas nationwide. They issued a press release saying that they were concerned for the safety of the staff, disruption of performances, and damage to buildings. Varous people involved in making the film continue to receive death threats, and still no arrests have been made.
One of the main reasons why people who were not born in Britain were eager to come and live here is because we have a tradition of religious tolerance. But then some of them seek to undermind our tolerant society by telling others what they can and cannot watch at the cinema. And they are allowed to do this, by our own laws.
To my mind, such behaviour will only increase racial and relgious hatred. It will give ammunition to the Far Right and Neo-Nazi groups in the UK, and perhaps generate ‘revenge’ attacks against Muslim communities in this country.
Such protests causing a film not to be shown to those who want to pay to see it are not acceptable to me. They are the beginnings of a slippery slope of censorship based on political correctness and mob rule that has no place in a modern society.
With that in mind, here is the trailer for the film that they do not want you to see.
Feel free to issue me with a death threat.