March 29, 2004
Top Shiite wants 'Passion of the Christ'
KUWAIT CITY, March 27, 2004 (AP) -- A top Shiite cleric on Saturday
urged Kuwait to let Mel Gibson's
controversial film "The Passion of the Christ," be shown in this conservative
Muslim state because it "reveals crimes committed by Jews against Christ."
"We have called on the information minister to show this movie," Ayatollah
Mohammed Baqer al-Mehri told The Associated Press. He heads the congregation
of Shiite clerics in Kuwait.
Movie theaters in this small oil-rich state are
owned by a state company, and the Information Ministry has to censor and approve
films to be screened.
It is not known if the movie company had approached the
ministry for permission to screen it.
Al-Mehri said Sunni Muslims, who control
Kuwaiti politics, do not approve of personalizing prophets in movies, but many
senior Shiite clerics do not object.
It was not immediately clear if the Kuwaiti
government had banned the movie from Kuwaiti cinema screens.
were not immediately available for comment. Religious Christian films are
not shown in this traditional Muslim country, but pirated copies
of Gibson's latest
movie, which depicts the last hours Jesus' life, are being circulated.
said he has seen the movie and believes it is "good and there is nothing
wrong with it."
Jewish organizations, however, have denounced the film as
anti-Semitic and expressed fears that it would cause attacks on Jews. Muslims
view Jesus as a prophet, not as a messiah.
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