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March 9, 2014 3:09 pm

Flood of Controversy: Arnofsky’s ‘Noah’ Banned by Several Middle Eastern Countries

avatar by Gidon Ben-zvi

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Russell Crowe as Noah. Photo: Screen shot.

High budget biblical drama Noah, starring Academy Award winning actor Russell Crowe, will not be screened in several Middle Eastern countries, Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Sunday.

Sources within Paramount Studios, which is producing the highly anticipated film, confirmed that the film boards of Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates will not authorize the screening of Noah in their respective countries.

Paramount insiders expect the film boards of Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait to make similar decisions, Channel 2 said.

A leading Sunni Muslim religious leader in Egypt said the movie is “contrary to the ways of the Prophet and must be banned.”

The reason for the prohibition, Channel 2 said, is that the story of the biblical flood, portrayed in the film, figures prominently in the Koran, the central religious text of Islam. As such, turning the classic tale into a film is considered by the Muslim countries as sacrilegious.

The Islamic world’s moves to suppress the movie come amid other bad news connected to director Darren Aronofsky’s re-imagining of the biblical story. It was reported a few months ago that several test screenings of Noah, conducted by Parmount, generated seriously negative reactions from religious crowds. Paramount vehemently denied those reports.

Noah is scheduled to be released around the world at the end of March.

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