Censor boards in Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have informed Paramount they will not release the Biblical epic which is release later this month. Similar rulings are expected in Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait, according to Paramount insiders.
The National Media Council (NMC), the UAE film censor, confirmed that the film had been banned for reasons of religious intolerance. Juma Obaid Al Leem, director of the Media Content Tracking Department at the NMC said:
The film conflicts with all religions. Out of respect for these religious sentiments, we are banning the film.
In Egypt, the leading Sunni Muslim institute Al-Azhar issued a statement condemning the movie, saying
it should be banned in that country.
Al-Azhar renews its rejection to the screening of any production that characterizes Allah's prophets and messengers and the companions of the Prophet [the religious character
Muhammad], the statement read. Therefore, Al-Azhar announces the prohibition of the upcoming film about the Allah's messenger Noah.
The film was not without censorship issues in the US. The studio was said to be concerned that the
director's version may not go down well with the religious. However screenings with test audiences did not convince the studio that was a need for change. So the original director's version got the go ahead. However as a gesture of goodwill toward
religious groups, Paramount agreed to alter the marketing materials for Noah to make clear that it is a creative rather than a literal adaptation of the Bible story. A disclaimer was added to posters:
The film is
inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be
found in the Book of Genesis.