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Movie 'Exodus' banned in Egypt, Morocco and the UAE

The UAE joins Egypt and Morocco in banning the Hollywood blockbuster "Exodus" which is being called historically inaccurate and "Zionist"
Billboard for the Hollywood biblical epic movie "Exodus: Gods and Kings" displayed in the Moroccan capital Rabat on 26 December (AFP)
The United Arab Emirates is the latest Arab country to ban the biblical epic "Exodus: Gods and Kings" which is about the flight of the Jews from ancient Egypt.
According to reports in Gulf News, Juma Obeid Al Leem, the director of Media Content Tracking at the National Media Council has said: “This movie is under our review and we found that there are many mistakes not only about Islam but other religions too. So, we will not release it in the UAE.”
He did not specify exactly which scenes were most objectionable. 
This comes just after Egypt and Morocco also banned the film.
Egyptian Culture Minister Gaber Asfour told AFP Ridley Scott's blockbuster was rife with mistakes, including an apparent claim that "Moses and the Jews built the pyramids".
"This totally contradicts proven historical facts," Asfour said.
"It is a Zionist film," he said. "It gives a Zionist view of history and contains historical inaccuracies and that's why we have decided to ban it."
An objection from Morocco has been the fact that the film "represents God" which is forbidden in Islam, its distributor said Saturday.
The distributor said it had received written notice that Ridley Scott's blockbuster contained a scene that represents God in the form of a "child who gives a revelation to the prophet Moses".
Initially, cinema owners in Morocco were informed verbally that the film had been banned, media reports had said.
"I deplore this censorship," distributor Mounia Layadi Benkirane said in a statement to AFP.
Moroccan media on Thursday reported that cinema managers had been told not to screen the film, despite its release already having been approved by the state-run Moroccan Cinema Centre (MCC).
Hassan Belkady, who runs Cinema Rif in Casablanca, told media24 news website that he had been threatened with the closure of his business if he ignored the ban.
"They phoned and threatened they would shut down the theatre if I did not take the film off the schedule," Belkady said.
Distributor Benkirane, who also runs the Colisseum cinema in Marrakesh, said "Exodus" has now been pulled from the schedules.
"The last screening was on Friday night at 21:30. I respect the decision of the MCC board," she said, but added that she did not understand why the decision was taken.
"The child through whom Moses receives the revelation in the film at no time says he is God," she said, noting that such a film ban is "very rare" in the North African country.
Neither the head of the MCC nor the communications ministry could be immediately contacted by AFP to comment on the issue.
Benkirane said the film could have resulted in 35,000 ticket sales in Morocco and earned 1.8 million dirhams (nearly 160,000 euros).
Now the buzz caused by the controversy "will profit only the pirates who continue to peddle the film", she said.
The 3D "Exodus: Gods and Kings", starring Christian Bale as Moses rising up against the Pharaoh Ramses, earned $24.1 million in its debut weekend in the United States, according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

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