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Saturday July 14, 2007

Watch movie first before calling for ban, says Rais


izatun@thestar.com.my 

PETALING JAYA: Any party calling for a ban on a movie on religious grounds should first view it and state what aspects of it are against the teachings of the religion, said Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim. 

Once they have seen the movie and outlined what aspects of the film were against the tenets of the religion, they could forward their views to the Film Censorship Board. 

“If you haven’t seen the movie, I don’t think you should create tension,” he said when asked to comment on a call by the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia to ban the comedy Evan Almighty, which is scheduled for general screening in cinemas nationwide from Aug 23. 

According to Bernama, association secretary-general Datuk Dr Maamor Osman labelled Evan Almighty an insult to Islam because it “poked fun at God and the Prophet Noah”. 

The trailer of the US$175mil (RM600mil) movie, featuring Morgan Freeman as God, asking Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) to build an ark to prevent the big flood that was to hit New York, has been shown in cinemas here. 

Evan Almighty is the sequel to Bruce Almighty, which was initially caught up in a controversy four years ago when former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Zainal Abidin called for the film to be banned because it was against Islamic beliefs as the main character had assumed the power of God. 

However, the Government allowed the screening of the movie after it was viewed and assessed by various government officials including those from the Islamic Development Department and Film Censorship Board. 

Dr Rais said he would leave the current matter to the censorship board. 

“Upon deliberation, the board has disallowed or allowed many stories,” he said.  

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