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. rchoo

    Whether one believes God (or Bible) or otherwise is one's personal volition.

    I do not see a reason to argue over it as it is a personal choice and responsibility to one self.

    I read the Bible and it reflected on me as a mirror – revealing my weakness and guilt as a human being.
    The Bible then asked me to swallow my pride and take a humble step of faith which I did.

    Are all my sincere and bold moves futile? No.

    As assuredly, God proved to me by having a spiritual relationship with me and showed to me that HE is real.
    – HE is real in the things I see, what a marvel.
    – HE is real in my guidance and upbringing.
    – HE is real in the blessing of all my family members and distant family members. He touched hearts.
    – HE is real in protecting his love ones.
    – HE is real in miracles, they are incredible.

    If you have experience all that I have experience, I am sure you will not doubt HIM.

    If you believe God, good, the heavenly hosts rejoice together with you.
    If you do not believe God, It is your choice and no one can force you.

    As Joshua said, As for me and my house, we will serve The LORD forever.


    August 15, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
  2. ali

    christians should understand that they don't have a monopoly on jesus. muslims like myself believe he was a prophet of the highest order, christians should not be fooled, we love him and he is among the most important figures in islam. we differ in specifics and the major point of him being the son of god (we dont ascribe God aka Allah having any kind of mortal analogs like children) but his message was the one and the same that christians believe in.

    August 15, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
    • Carlos

      Ali, is it misguided to believe god had a son? Why? How do you know god did not have a son? Because an old book told you? Why is one old book of mysticism better than another? Didn't the founders of religion just make all this stuff up as they went along? Watching a Muslim and a Christian debate each other is like watching two lunatics argue about whether unicorns are more real than centaurs. (Hint: They are both nonsense.)

      August 15, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
  3. fonty1

    It's amazing how many non-belivers/atheists show up on these belief blogs. I'm convinced no one likes to talk more about God than atheists.

    August 15, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
    • dmzone4

      I think we're all hoping to draw him out of where he's hiding.
      If miracles are so real and believable, why not have a new one that does more than all the other ones?
      As for me personally, I just like poking holes in what other people post and arguing.
      Now would be a good time for me to get married, eh? I would like a wife with whom I could argue all day.
      Know anyone like that?

      August 15, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
    • Temperament

      Not all atheists are whom you believe. Some of us are spiritual, even though we deny the existence of a "mainstream" God.

      August 15, 2010 at 10:54 pm |
  4. Horus of Egypt

    For all of the bible thumpers out there
    From DR. Ray Hagins.. The creators of a lie MUST manipulate the minds of the people who believe the lie into thinking it is the truth; and NEVER allow the believers of the lie to see that they have been lied to. So, they MUST convince the believers of the lie that anyone who would bring them evidence of the ...lie is a false teacher, resulting in the believers of the lie perpetuating their own enslavement!

    August 15, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
    • Matt J.

      And it is you anti-religious bigots and trolls who have fallen victim to exactly this maniputation - even as you brag falsely of being more rational.

      August 16, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
  5. Keith

    I pray God removes the scales from your eyes so that you may see the Truth.

    August 15, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
    • dmzone4

      I pray the Department of Weights and Measures checks those scales for accuracy before God removes them.

      August 15, 2010 at 10:44 pm |
  6. GodIsForImbeciles

    Oh, please! All religion is sniveling drool.

    August 15, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
  7. Keith

    Like I said, when you see Damascus become a ruinous heap, throw away your Korans.

    August 15, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
  8. Shannon

    In order to be a prophet, does not one have to gain knowledge of what God’s will is and reveal his purposes for the future?
    In the Christian Greek Scriptures Jesus was described as a prophet. (Lu 7:14-16; Joh 4:16-19; Joh 6:14) He foretold the manner of his own betrayal and death, that as a prophet he would die at Jerusalem (Mat 20:17-19) Beyond this, he foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. (Lu 19:41-44; 21:5-24)
    So we see Jesus not only was the Son of God, but being the Greatest Prophet, also described future events according to his Fathers will.

    August 15, 2010 at 10:05 pm |
    • The Logical Truth

      Not enough that Christ the Messiah is a prophet. He is God the Creator as well. A profit means a human that was picked by God to be slaughtered for all humanity. God is fare and ethical and can not do that sacrificing one person for others. It is like if God said for you and your ancestors I will sacrifice one of your sons or great grand sons. It would be unfair, becuase you would never want hurt for your sons to save you. You would happily volunteer. And what is the fault of your son or gradsons to die terrible and painful death for all of you. God can not do that. That is where Mohammad and all false claimers fail to understand that God will find it unjust to sacrifice a human and unjust to kill other humans like Mohammad and terrorists do sacrificing others for God, but God sacrificed Himself and since God can not die, chose a human body we call Christ so Christ can die, but as God remain without death so even was on earth as Christ, still remain God in heaven. Then on the third day as God rose from death so we may overcome and escape the unescapable cycle of death if we believe and abide by the Salvation plan of God and His teachings.

      August 15, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
  9. MiguelWhite

    One more thing – this my god is better than your god thinking reminds me of the Dr Seuss "Butter Battle" book... a little.

    We as humans tend to think our contemporary civilization is so much more advanced and tolerant and good and civilized than those earlier ones.... happens in all times and all cultures, it is our nature.

    If we really start to read up on the history – seems like there was a lot of past examples of tolerance and intolerance in the records, and the lofty thoughts we all have on these blogs were already thought of and expressed many times over.

    Guess it is true – we are condemned to repeat history,
    I will save a spot in hell inf I get there first, and if I am in heaven let the good times roll!

    August 15, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  10. Keith

    Hugh, you ever heard of Alexander the Great. Prophesied in both Ezekiel and Daniel. Saying you can't find fulfilled prophecy is like an arsonist who burns churches saying he can't find a cop.

    August 15, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
    • Matt J.

      Prophesied in Daniel, but NOT in Ezekiel, at least not in the prophecy of the destruction of Tyre, which was supposed to occur while an Empire was still ruled from Babylon. But Babylon fell to Alexander's forces before he took Tyre. So no, that interpretation of the prophecy is simply impossible.

      Still, one must not jump to the wrong conclusion. Sometimes, it really is better that the prophesy is not fulfilled. Take, for example, the whole Book of Jonah. This example shows very clearly that when it is not fulfilled, it is out of God's MERCY that the prophecy is not fulfilled.

      August 16, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  11. HughMungus

    To:The Logical Truth
    Man....shut the hell up....Geeezzzzzzz.....I can't hear you cause I have my tin foil hat on.....

    August 15, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
  12. Brian

    What I enjoy about this is the Christian response. Not the decesion of whether or not they should, but how they did it. The Christians staged a sit in in protest of this show, a peaceful nonviolent way of protest.
    We have some what some wahabist moslems have done before on depections of prophets.

    August 15, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
  13. The Logical Truth

    Escaping death and the purpose of life is what means religion. No religion is a religion in belief in self made set of belief even if it has no spefici name just fooling themselves that they believe in nothing. Human always struggled to answer logically to satisfaction what is our purpose and how to escape death which is obvious in medicine that everyone seek even athiest. All leaders or proits or athiest outlined their theories and teaching on the question what is our purpose and how to escape life and claimed their stories are truthful. That is a problem because none could escape death and even if claim that the Creator would do it still does not answer the questions fully and satisfactory as anyone can lie. The only answers that logically make sense are the thousands of years of teachers who gave future predictions uninterrupted as the only case in the Torah by various teachers and over thousands of years. Finally, the only explanation that made logical sense is that the Creator as was predicted came in the Messiah Christ in human body so that as a human would die, but as a Creator can not die would rise on the thirsd day. The Messiah was in total control even over his birth, his upraing, teaching and his exact death. No other could do such a thing and all the predictions over thousands of years would fullfil except the Creator. That is why we Christian believe not because we are stupid unable to make stories like athiest, but because we have a logical mind that everything we examined found satisfaction to ultimate truth, thus the purpose of life and how to live for eternity became logically fulfilled and answerable to absolute satisfaction in the Messiah Christ. The Quraan story is a problem because it did not take all the Torah as it was written for thousands of years, but simply Mohammad claimed it is a lie if it differed from his claim. The same thing about the Christianity also claimed it is a lie. Finally Mohammad like athist thinkers and any other teachers and leaders made a worse errors by claiming that Christ is not God the incarnate in the body and did not die and rise. By stating that Mohammad made the Torah for thousands of years and all the achieved and fulfilled predictions lie simply by claiming them as lie. The truth is there for those that seek it and lies are there for those that accept anything on face value or because it is written so and the author claimed they are their creator's words

    August 15, 2010 at 9:46 pm |
    • Kerbelai

      You need a different name than "The Logical Truth".
      I dub thee "Sir Nutbar".
      Rise, Sir Nutbar, and do your thing...

      August 15, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
  14. HughMungus

    I am just thankful I have found through out the internet that there are like minded people and that there are a few that are not sheeple.....who can think for themselves and have a higher regard for humanity than relying on ancient myths.....

    Ezekiel 25:17
    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.

    August 15, 2010 at 9:44 pm |
    • Keith

      The first part of what you wrote is not Ezk 25:17

      August 15, 2010 at 10:06 pm |
  15. MiguelWhite

    I have really enjoyed the history and empire specials that went through the historical aspects of the bible, quran, and torah...
    Made me realize how much I do not know, and made me want to read more of the history from multiple sources to try to sort it all out.

    I find myself laughing sometimes, bering dismayed at other times, especially when I hear folks say things along the lines of "your religion is so intolerant, and we would not have a problem if you would just realize that my savior is the true god or son of etc.".... they never see the paradox, since they belong to the "true faith" hahahahaha

    Even as a child I never really beleived the nonsense that "everyone is going to hell or purgatory who does not beleive Jesus was the son of god" ... and as I got older I just found other religions that said the same thing, but just substituted another persons name or belief in the blank where Jesus goes for my religion (for those who guessed Roman Catholic ... you get 10 bonus points!) .... I still go out of a sense of tradition and comfort it brings with the ritual, but I consider myself a recovering catholic – because you are never fully cured.

    My conclusions –
    I do beleive in something bigger than humanity, again it is out of a sense of comfort and hope (for those atheists out there – thanks I do not care what you think about that hahahaha).

    I also beleive that the something bigger (God) would view us humans the way we would view a group of small children, with a limitless tolerance of our actions and words, why? Because a supreme being would understand we do not have the comprehension or ability to act more "maturely" for lack of a better word.

    I do strongly beleive our actions do count, and no matter your religion – if you act and do good for the most part, then you would be favored over those who do not. I do not buy the "state of grace" argument, saying you can be a complete b@stard your entire existence and at the end of life can say "I am born again" and all the past transgressions go away. hahahah neat trick, made up by a b@stard no doubt ... hahahaha

    Humans are intolerant by nature, some more than others, but we all have some in each one of us. If we can keep that bottled in a way so we do not hurt others, then we succeeded, if not then we have problems, some worse than others.
    We seem to hit the worse areas when we run into extremists who insist everyone beleiev their way is the only way... convert or kill type (and that covers all extemists not just one religions)
    Be good to others, your family and yourself.
    Good luck to all of us,..... and if not see you all in hell hahahahaha

    August 15, 2010 at 9:43 pm |
  16. Anti-Zionist


    August 15, 2010 at 9:41 pm |
    • Amrullah Yousafzai, Margalla Hills

      Zionist Pigs!

      August 15, 2010 at 9:48 pm |
  17. HughMungus

    To:In America
    Though I some what agree with you....this is still amerika....let people believe what they will....but don't interject it in to politics....
    I would love to burn every church down and have people deal with life .....but between you and me...that aint gonna happen.

    August 15, 2010 at 9:37 pm |
    • Matt J.

      You are missing the point. If, as the Constitution DOES, you are going to give people religious freedom, then they have to be free to ACT based on their religious beliefs. But this is exactly what YOU are denying them.

      By doing this, you expose yourself as the enemy of freedom, the un-American opponent of the Constitution.

      August 16, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
  18. Aezel

    More people fighting over imaginary magical people in the sky that were invented by people thousands of years ago that were so intellectually deficient the concept of plumbing would have blown their minds......religion is so awesome.

    August 15, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
  19. Keith

    One such prophecy concerns the city of Tyre, Lebanon. Ezekiel 26:1-14 talk about Tyre being leveled and never being rebuilt. Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon destroyed the city. But it gets more interesting...Verse 12-14 says,"And they shall make a spoil of thy riches, and make a prey of thy merchandise: and they shall break down thy walls, and destroy thy pleasant houses: and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water. And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps shall be no more heard. And I will make thee like the top of a rock: thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more: for I the Lord have spoken it, saith the Lord God. For 300 years the ruins laid there. The Tyrians abandoned it for an offshore island fortress. That is until Alexander the Great came along and scraped up the debris, dumping it into the ocean, thus making a causeway out to the island which he subsequently destroyed. When God says He's going to do something He does it. The Bible is 100% accurate and history confirms this.

    August 15, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
  20. In America

    @Jose – all religions should be a crime.

    August 15, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
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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.