Geo TV’s Urdu dubbing of Message creates flare up in Kupwara
Teachers claim it was the current blasphemous one; Army says it wasn’t
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
Informed sources in north Kashmir said that as a part of Army’s Operation Sadbhavana, soldiers of Rashtriya Rifles 28 Bn organized a function at Government Middle School Potshai in Lolab
district today. While a film was being screened on a projector, one of the teachers protested that it was the same blasphemous movie (‘Mohammad’) that had currently stirred up the entire Muslim world. He was soon joined by local schoolteachers and the students too followed. valley of Kupwara
Within minutes, there were anti-national and anti-Army slogans with the allegation that Army was hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims with the screening of an inflammable film.
Deputy Commissioner of Kupwara, Sarmad Hafeez, told Early Times that he personally visited the spot, alongwith additional DC and SP Kupwara. He said that the officers succeeded in pacifying the gathering with the assurance that the film would be previewed and the guilty would be punished in case it turned out to be a blasphemous film. He said that Police according seized the tapes and projector and later found during previewing that it was not any blasphemous film.
DC Kupwara said that according to the Police it was the famous
Hollywood director Moustapha Akkad’s classic film “The Message” that had been duly certified by top Islamic universities in the Arab world and had grown very popular when it was screened throughout the world in 1976-77. “Police told me that it was the Urdu dubbing of Moustapha Akkad’s film ‘The Message’ created by Pakistan’s private television channel Geo TV”, Sarmad Hafeez asserted.
“But, unfortunately, when we left back for Kupwara, some people reportedly gathered and blocked the road. They clashed with Police and in retaliation two or three Policemen got injured”, DC Kupwara said. “However, the situation is now fully under control”.
Civilian sources said that Police were looking for a teacher, namely Mohammad Maqbool of Sopore, who had first raised objection to screening of the film. They said that the clash occurred when troops took into custody two of the residents, namely Abdul Hamid Khan and Mohammad Shafi. They said that participants of the show shouted slogans and pelted stones to register their protest against screening of the film and seeking release of the two civilians arrested by Army. Officials claimed that nobody had been arrested or detained by Police or security forces.
Interestingly, director of ‘The Message’ Moustapha Akkad is also the creator of another Muslim blockbuster ‘Omar Mukhat’, the film on a Libyan revolutionary icon, that is held responsible for generating the first anti-India and anti-Sheikh Abdullah wave in
Kashmir in 1986. Political historians insist that ‘Omar Mukhtar’ stirred up the emotions of a young generation in 1980s, eventually leading to the birth of Muslim United Front---father of the post-1990 Hurriyat Conference and armed insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir.
In 1976, the Syrian-America filmmaker produced and directed “Mohammad, Messenger of God” (released as The Message in 1977 in the
While creating “Muhammad, Messenger of God”, he consulted Islamic clerics and tried to be respectful toward Islam and its views on portraying Prophet Muhammad. He got the approval from the Al- Azhar in
King Hassan II of
“A youth employment and guidance exhibition was organized in Lolab, Kupwara district to educate and guide the youth regarding various employment avenues. During the exhibition educational and motivational movies including one on
Indian Military Academy and were shown to the youth. On popular demand and to generate interest amongst the locals, the Urdu version of movie, named ‘The Message, The Story of Islam’ was also planned to be screened. National Defence Academy
During the screening of the initial portion of the movie, few miscreants deliberately spread the misinformation that the movie is anti-Islamic and started protesting. Elders, police and Army personnel explained the facts that the movie is an acknowledged epic on the story of Islam. However the miscreants did not heed to the appeal and involved other local people in the protest.
The police arrived at the site and tried to reason and pacify the agitating crowd which by that time had blocked the road. The positive response of the Awam not only dispelled the disinformation, but also sent a strong message that positive efforts of organisations such as Army will not be allowed to be disrupted just for the sake of some gains by miscreants.
The army sources added that the Movie named ‘The Message, The story of Islam’ is freely available on the internet and is proclaimed to be one of the most authentic
Hollywood epics depicting the origin of Islam. The incident appears to be a pre mediated attempt by miscreants from outside to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere and endeavours of guiding and helping the youth to realize their dreams”