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August 15th, 2010
04:08 PM ET

Series on Jesus pulled from Lebanese TV after uproar

CNN producer Amir Ahmed filed this report:

An Iranian-made television series about the life of Jesus Christ stopped broadcasting Friday on Hezbollah-linked Lebanese stations after Christians complained that the series “misrepresented” Jesus, the state-run Lebanese News Agency reported.

The biopic portrayed the Muslim view of Jesus as a prophet, while Christians generally regard him as the son of God. Some Sunni Muslims also objected to the Iranian series because it showed someone playing the role of Jesus; Most Sunnis prohibit representation of prophets.

Christian groups held a sit-in at Beirut’s Catholic Center on Friday and denounced the broadcast of the TV series "The Messiah" on al-Manar and NBN channels, NNA reported.

In response to the “objecting voices of popular delegations,” both stations announced in a statement their decision to stop broadcasting the show on Friday, saying they wanted to prevent “any attempt at employing the show to serve some negative aims.”

NNA reported that al-Manar’s Information Committee Head and parliamentarian Hassan Fadlallah decided to stop the series from airing on Thursday, but did not make it public until Friday.

The news agency added that al-Manar consulted with parliamentarian Hassan Fadlallah on the decision and reportd the channel decided to pull the series “in spite of the fact that it underwent general security and religious authorities' control with no objection to the content.”

The reaction to airing the controversial show was “mainly due to the discrepancy between the script and the story of Jesus Christ as accepted by the Catholic Church,” the news agency reported.

"The Messiah" was originally released in Iran as a big screen movie in Iran in 2008. It was later adapted for television as a series and dubbed into Arabic to air last week during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The controversy enraged some Lebanese Christians, causing a political uproar that had Lebanese Information Minister Tarek Mitri spending hours contacting various parties in “a bid for tranquilly, the government-run news agency reported.

Religious tensions are common in Lebanon, with various Christian and Muslim groups vieing for power in the country’s political and social establishments.

View a clip of the series here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Islam • Lebanon • Middle East • TV

soundoff (303 Responses)
  1. Milina

    5:38 pm by Monte Young Good point John. I do beleive that it's high time to put up or shut up.Here's what I'm doing:As worship leader at SouthCoast, I am no longer filling the role of a cheerleader, I'm simply leading in worship by worshiping.As a teacher both at SouthCoast and LifePoint, I am doing my best to feed the flock in accordance with Peter's teaching. I am also doing my best to disciple new beleivers.As a preacher, I am determined to never again allow the congregation to determine my preaching. I will not preach at issues, rather I will preach Jesus and allow Him to what He wants. Understand?because I know where people's minds are going?I never consciously allowed the congregation to dictate a sermon, but if we're all honest, we do somewhat try to impress the crowd.Overall I'm doing my best to get as close to GOD as I can so that when I interact with saints, new beleivers or the lost that I am shining Jesus rather than my pentecostal religiosity. I'm dropping worthless traditions?such as the whole brother and sister thing?as it doesn't really mean anything. For example, I have a brother. His name is Myles. When we see each other I don't call him "brother," I call him Myles. Not to mention that since me and GOD are on a first name basis, I figure it's well and good to be on a first name basis with everybody else.I'm on a journey?and whether or not others admit it?they're on a journey as well; a journey to salvation. I'm also trying to bring as many people with me as I can.Most of all I'm learning to live clear (gratuitous plug of my book).

    March 2, 2012 at 1:48 am |
  2. Surthurfurd

    It is sad that we all demand respect from each other; but, we feel no need to offer respect ourselves. I guess when we know we are the only ones who have the "truth" we can abuse each other for free? So sad.

    August 17, 2010 at 11:02 am |
    • JimmyG

      @Surthurfurd
      I do not demand respect and I offer it freely. If I thought I had the "truth" I would share it with you. I hope you find peace and happiness. Please do not assume people are trying to abuse you. I think part of the problem is the anonymity here. We grasp at anything that will bring a response, and acrimony is very provoking – especially if you want to provoke consideration of what you have written.
      Its not all that sad, just silly.

      August 17, 2010 at 11:26 am |
    • JimmyG

      @Surthurfurd
      Correction: I should have said, "It is both sad AND silly...and a few other things as well."

      August 17, 2010 at 11:40 am |
  3. Maggie

    Isa, may Allah be pleased with him on the day he was born, the day he will die and the day he will return to testify to the truth of the matter. Until then I guess some of you will just have to satisfy yourselves with half truths and myths.

    There was an eye witness and that was Allah and Allah revealed that Isa was not crucified and that Isa was not his 'son' and that Isa was present at the last supper and indicated to his followers that if after the miracle of providing the meal that any one of them had doubts he would be punished as no other follower in history will be punished.

    But of course, Christians consider the witness of Allah as nothing more than their own witness. Go figure.

    August 17, 2010 at 12:43 am |
    • verify

      Maggie, So your half-truths and myths are better than their half-truths and myths, eh? Way to go...

      August 17, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  4. truthywood

    Christian Nazis are burning Qurans in their Churches , while Muslims can't even show their part of story about Jesus. Christian fanatics, mass murders are supporting Jews of Israel because they want their Jesus to kill every infidel including Muslims and Jews.

    August 16, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
  5. Pastor Don

    All people will one day become believers in Jesus Christ. For many, however, it will be too late.

    August 16, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
    • verify

      Your god sure created a lot of jerks, huh? What's more, according to your doctrine, he must have known how they would turn out... and created them anyway!

      August 16, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
    • JimmyG

      @Pastor Don
      I think you are making more than one mistake in your post. Mistakes like yours are all too human. May you find enlightenment someday.

      August 17, 2010 at 11:43 am |
  6. Chris

    Muslims would protest if the West had a TV show displaying Mohammed as a mad, evil tyrant. At the same time they don't care whether or not they offend anybody. They complain about insignificant things such as banning the burka or minarets, which are not a legal requirement of Islam, and yet they constantly persecute Christians to extremes in their own country, even allowing parents to kill their children if they convert from Islam to Christianity. How can anybody have compassion on Muslims when they reveal they just want their own way like this? Where is the peaceful religion they claim to have? It is time that we saw it.

    August 16, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
  7. scarlett

    God knows those that are his!!!

    August 16, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
  8. Bertie Williams

    How sad that a nation cannot voice it's own opinion about Jesus on their own television stations. Who cares if he was just a prophet or "the Son of God." He influenced countless persons with his philosophy just as Mohammed, Ghandi and many, many others have done. People have become so hyper-sensitive that no one is allowed their own opinions any more. Whether or not Jesus was a special envoy of God has nothing to do with his works, ideas and admonitions. I am becoming increasingly disappointed with people's ability to talk things over and make an EDUCATED

    August 16, 2010 at 11:59 am |
    • Matt J.

      You have no clue what you are talking about. The Nation's view? But this is where you show the depths of your confusion. The nation of Lebanon does not HAVE any one view, certainly not that one. Lebanon is NOT a Muslim nation. It is a nation of three major religions, and quite a few smaller ones. Of course they all have different views, which is why this TV-series was such a bad idea in the first place.

      August 16, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
  9. greenhands

    Human should understand what's God's messages and follow instead of looking to others how they see, pray or name their God??? the impotant thing here is the message, and not the picture.

    August 16, 2010 at 10:53 am |
  10. Darlene

    Its very sad that people can't just live and let live, and have respect for what each believes. Then we would have peace, its called Love.
    The insults thrown at one another on these posts are awful, regardless of who the thrower is.
    DMX is a good example of what I am referring to here.. If you don't believe in a God, so be it. But, is it really necessary for you to stoop tp that level?

    August 16, 2010 at 8:04 am |
  11. Darlene

    Its sad to see that human beings cannot get along, as evidenced by these posts and conflicts.
    If all would step aside thier beliefs, and allow for the beliefs of thier fellowman, (called respect), then perhaps peace would prevail.
    The insults that fly here are awful, regardless of who is making them.

    August 16, 2010 at 7:59 am |
  12. Michael kim

    Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Christ=Messiah-John 20:31, John 3;16 For God so loved the world he gave His only begotten Son whosoever believes in him may not perish but have everlasting life.

    August 16, 2010 at 3:31 am |
  13. Michael kim

    It is mispresentation Jesus prophet. John 20:31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ=messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.-My Lord and my God.

    August 16, 2010 at 3:24 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.