Offenders of the Faiths: Films, fans and fatwas

Published September 15th, 2012 - 14:35 GMT

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With September 11's 2012 anti-Islam movie mayhem for Muslims in the Middle East, we take a look at some other noteworthy examples of films or publications that have caused uproar and maximum offense to religious beliefs in the past.

The movie trailer of the "Innocence of Muslims" was enough to induce protests and killings globally. Other films, books or works have been accused of blasphemy, and sometimes with varying degrees of consequence. Scandal-mongering films or cartoons have often resulted in life and business losses around the globe. Continue reading below »

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Despite wooden performances and crude production, the 14 minute (trailer for) Islam-insulting film wonder has become one of the most talked about movies as of September 11, 2012. 'Innocence of Muslims' has been universally slated for being an abomination, against more than just the Prophet Muhammad and his Muslim followers.
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Image 1 of 10:  1 / 10Despite wooden performances and crude production, the 14 minute (trailer for) Islam-insulting film wonder has become one of the most talked about movies as of September 11, 2012. "Innocence of Muslims" has been universally slated for being an abomination, against more than just the Prophet Muhammad and his Muslim followers.

Enlarge
Passion of the Christ: This controversial movie had Jewish communities alarmed by the prospect of an anti-Semitic backlash.
Mel Gibson's film may have scored well at the box office, but it mortally offended two faiths in one fell swoop and didn't do much for its allegedly 'anti-Semetic' film maker's PR rating.
Reduce

Image 2 of 10:  2 / 10Passion of the Christ: This controversial movie had Jewish communities alarmed by the prospect of an anti-Semitic backlash. Mel Gibson's film may have scored well at the box office, but it mortally offended two faiths in one fell swoop and didn't do much for its allegedly 'anti-Semetic' film maker's PR rating.

Enlarge
Salman Rushdie: Satanic Verses was the book that offended many more Muslims than would ever get round to read this stodgy esoteric tome by the British Muslim author. The fatwa-inducing text provoked protests from Muslims globally and landed Rushdie a pretty serious duty death threat issued by Ayatollah Khomeini 1989.
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Image 3 of 10:  3 / 10Salman Rushdie: Satanic Verses was the book that offended many more Muslims than would ever get round to read this stodgy esoteric tome by the British Muslim author. The fatwa-inducing text provoked protests from Muslims globally and landed Rushdie a pretty serious duty death threat issued by Ayatollah Khomeini 1989.

Enlarge
Madonna's passion for Christ: Like A Prayer's music video landed the Evita-star in hot water for scenes deemed sacrilegious. The religiously-stage-named singer was no innocent Lady Madonna as she subverted the Catholic faith to the tune of Like a Prayer, making her moves on a black Jesus surrounded by burning crosses.
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Image 4 of 10:  4 / 10Madonna's passion for Christ: Like A Prayer's music video landed the Evita-star in hot water for scenes deemed sacrilegious. The religiously-stage-named singer was no innocent Lady Madonna as she subverted the Catholic faith to the tune of Like a Prayer, making her moves on a black Jesus surrounded by burning crosses.

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Theodoor 'Theo' van Gogh: The late Dutch film-maker offended Muslims with his controversial 'Submission', and paid gravely for his freedom of film. Van Gogh was assassinated by a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim.
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Image 5 of 10:  5 / 10Theodoor "Theo" van Gogh: The late Dutch film-maker offended Muslims with his controversial 'Submission', and paid gravely for his freedom of film. Van Gogh was assassinated by a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim.

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Godfather 3: While this gangster trilogy is considered one of the finest pieces of cinema, it still manages to insult the Christian faithful who are less than impressed by reminders of papal corruption. The third in the sequel cynically depicts the Pope taking bribes.
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Image 6 of 10:  6 / 10Godfather 3: While this gangster trilogy is considered one of the finest pieces of cinema, it still manages to insult the Christian faithful who are less than impressed by reminders of papal corruption. The third in the sequel cynically depicts the Pope taking bribes.

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Martin Scorsese's Oscar winning film got itself blacklisted by some Christian viewers. Adapted from Nikos Kazantzakis's novel, the Last Temptation of Christ upset believers by focusing on a Christ grappling with sexual temptations and vices. In a departure from the Gospels, this fictional fancy outraged the devout.
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Image 7 of 10:  7 / 10Martin Scorsese's Oscar winning film got itself blacklisted by some Christian viewers. Adapted from Nikos Kazantzakis's novel, the Last Temptation of Christ upset believers by focusing on a Christ grappling with sexual temptations and vices. In a departure from the Gospels, this fictional fancy outraged the devout.

Enlarge
Danish Cartoons: The Scandinavian caricaturists caused an international scandal and had Muslims up in arms over a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) wearing a bomb. In a religion that shies away from publishing any depictions of the Prophet, such a mockery was anathema for the masses.
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Image 8 of 10:  8 / 10Danish Cartoons: The Scandinavian caricaturists caused an international scandal and had Muslims up in arms over a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) wearing a bomb. In a religion that shies away from publishing any depictions of the Prophet, such a mockery was anathema for the masses.

Enlarge
Morgan Freeman as God Almighty: Some Muslim countries banned the fantasy film Bruce Almighty for daring to portray the Lord in mortal form.
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Image 9 of 10:  9 / 10Morgan Freeman as God Almighty: Some Muslim countries banned the fantasy film Bruce Almighty for daring to portray the Lord in mortal form.

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The Da Vinci Code: The Vatican took an instant disliking to the conspiracy-laced novel by Dan Brown and film adaptation. The Da Vinci Code suggests that the Catholic Church is involved in a cover-up to keeping secret Jesus Christ's alleged marriage and fatherhood in order to retain supreme power.
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Image 10 of 10:  10 / 10The Da Vinci Code: The Vatican took an instant disliking to the conspiracy-laced novel by Dan Brown and film adaptation. The Da Vinci Code suggests that the Catholic Church is involved in a cover-up to keeping secret Jesus Christ's alleged marriage and fatherhood in order to retain supreme power.

Enlarge

1

Despite wooden performances and crude production, the 14 minute (trailer for) Islam-insulting film wonder has become one of the most talked about movies as of September 11, 2012. 'Innocence of Muslims' has been universally slated for being an abomination, against more than just the Prophet Muhammad and his Muslim followers.

Image 1 of 10Despite wooden performances and crude production, the 14 minute (trailer for) Islam-insulting film wonder has become one of the most talked about movies as of September 11, 2012. "Innocence of Muslims" has been universally slated for being an abomination, against more than just the Prophet Muhammad and his Muslim followers.

2

Passion of the Christ: This controversial movie had Jewish communities alarmed by the prospect of an anti-Semitic backlash.
Mel Gibson's film may have scored well at the box office, but it mortally offended two faiths in one fell swoop and didn't do much for its allegedly 'anti-Semetic' film maker's PR rating.

Image 2 of 10Passion of the Christ: This controversial movie had Jewish communities alarmed by the prospect of an anti-Semitic backlash. Mel Gibson's film may have scored well at the box office, but it mortally offended two faiths in one fell swoop and didn't do much for its allegedly 'anti-Semetic' film maker's PR rating.

3

Salman Rushdie: Satanic Verses was the book that offended many more Muslims than would ever get round to read this stodgy esoteric tome by the British Muslim author. The fatwa-inducing text provoked protests from Muslims globally and landed Rushdie a pretty serious duty death threat issued by Ayatollah Khomeini 1989.

Image 3 of 10Salman Rushdie: Satanic Verses was the book that offended many more Muslims than would ever get round to read this stodgy esoteric tome by the British Muslim author. The fatwa-inducing text provoked protests from Muslims globally and landed Rushdie a pretty serious duty death threat issued by Ayatollah Khomeini 1989.

4

Madonna's passion for Christ: Like A Prayer's music video landed the Evita-star in hot water for scenes deemed sacrilegious. The religiously-stage-named singer was no innocent Lady Madonna as she subverted the Catholic faith to the tune of Like a Prayer, making her moves on a black Jesus surrounded by burning crosses.

Image 4 of 10Madonna's passion for Christ: Like A Prayer's music video landed the Evita-star in hot water for scenes deemed sacrilegious. The religiously-stage-named singer was no innocent Lady Madonna as she subverted the Catholic faith to the tune of Like a Prayer, making her moves on a black Jesus surrounded by burning crosses.

5

Theodoor 'Theo' van Gogh: The late Dutch film-maker offended Muslims with his controversial 'Submission', and paid gravely for his freedom of film. Van Gogh was assassinated by a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim.

Image 5 of 10Theodoor "Theo" van Gogh: The late Dutch film-maker offended Muslims with his controversial 'Submission', and paid gravely for his freedom of film. Van Gogh was assassinated by a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim.

6

Godfather 3: While this gangster trilogy is considered one of the finest pieces of cinema, it still manages to insult the Christian faithful who are less than impressed by reminders of papal corruption. The third in the sequel cynically depicts the Pope taking bribes.

Image 6 of 10Godfather 3: While this gangster trilogy is considered one of the finest pieces of cinema, it still manages to insult the Christian faithful who are less than impressed by reminders of papal corruption. The third in the sequel cynically depicts the Pope taking bribes.

7

Martin Scorsese's Oscar winning film got itself blacklisted by some Christian viewers. Adapted from Nikos Kazantzakis's novel, the Last Temptation of Christ upset believers by focusing on a Christ grappling with sexual temptations and vices. In a departure from the Gospels, this fictional fancy outraged the devout.

Image 7 of 10Martin Scorsese's Oscar winning film got itself blacklisted by some Christian viewers. Adapted from Nikos Kazantzakis's novel, the Last Temptation of Christ upset believers by focusing on a Christ grappling with sexual temptations and vices. In a departure from the Gospels, this fictional fancy outraged the devout.

8

Danish Cartoons: The Scandinavian caricaturists caused an international scandal and had Muslims up in arms over a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) wearing a bomb. In a religion that shies away from publishing any depictions of the Prophet, such a mockery was anathema for the masses.

Image 8 of 10Danish Cartoons: The Scandinavian caricaturists caused an international scandal and had Muslims up in arms over a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) wearing a bomb. In a religion that shies away from publishing any depictions of the Prophet, such a mockery was anathema for the masses.

9

Morgan Freeman as God Almighty: Some Muslim countries banned the fantasy film Bruce Almighty for daring to portray the Lord in mortal form.

Image 9 of 10Morgan Freeman as God Almighty: Some Muslim countries banned the fantasy film Bruce Almighty for daring to portray the Lord in mortal form.

10

The Da Vinci Code: The Vatican took an instant disliking to the conspiracy-laced novel by Dan Brown and film adaptation. The Da Vinci Code suggests that the Catholic Church is involved in a cover-up to keeping secret Jesus Christ's alleged marriage and fatherhood in order to retain supreme power.

Image 10 of 10The Da Vinci Code: The Vatican took an instant disliking to the conspiracy-laced novel by Dan Brown and film adaptation. The Da Vinci Code suggests that the Catholic Church is involved in a cover-up to keeping secret Jesus Christ's alleged marriage and fatherhood in order to retain supreme power.

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The most inflammatory of these pieces of art often deliberately intend to challenge taboos, rituals and customs of the world’s most subscribed to religions. 

Some films consolidate the beliefs of certain religions either intentionally or unintentionally through offending its audience. 

Al Bawaba's picks of films and works offending the Abrahamic faiths: The movies in this cross-section fully expected and possibly depended upon offending religions in order to succeed or make a point. 

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