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'Noah' receives disclaimer, may be banned in numerous Islamic countries

Published: Monday, March 10 2014 10:00 a.m. MDT

Oscar-winner Russell Crowe stars as "Noah" in a new big-budget theatrical film opening later this month.

Paramount Pictures

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Paramount Pictures recently released a disclaimer after its film "Noah," a large-budget biblical epic, upset some Christian critics.

The disclaimer, which Paramount said will be featured on future marketing materials and the film’s official website, reads, "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," according to the Los Angeles Times. The disclaimer also says that the biblical version of Noah's story can be read in Genesis.

Paramount added the disclaimer following appeals from Christians such as Jerry A. Johnson, CEO and president of the National Religious Broadcasters, reports the Christian Post.

"People may assume that this film is a straightforward retelling of the biblical Noah narrative — the movie trailer might lead them to believe that as well," Johnson wrote in a statement to the Christian Post. "It is not. It is instead a dramatic story based upon Noah that contains a lot of extra-biblical material."

"Noah" director Darren Aronofsky denies that there is a large controversy surrounding the film, per Variety.

"The controversy is all about the unknown and about the fear of people trying to exploit a Bible story. It will all disappear as soon as people start seeing the film,” said Aronofsky this week at an art exhibit promoting the movie, according to Variety.

It is more difficult to deny that the film is sparking controversy in several Muslim-led countries. Censors in Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have already condemned the film for showing "Allah's messenger Noah," writes Ben Child at the Guardian.

"Al-Azhar renews its rejection to the screening of any production that characterises Allah's prophets and messengers and the companions of the Prophet (Muhammad)," said one of Egypt's most prominent Sunni Muslim institutes, according to the Guardian. "Therefore, al-Azhar announces the prohibition of the upcoming film about Allah's messenger Noah — peace be upon him."

Child writes that the institute does not have the power to censor the film, but its remarks are influential.

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