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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. Abbas

    Where is the freedom of speech? Are christians enjoying it as a role in their glory holes?

    August 16, 2010 at 3:06 am |
  2. ICEMAN

    for one i'm a christian so don't jump so hard but do yall know that Jesus isn't white with BLUE eyes? So why do you paint him that way, only one reason, and yall know what it is. We have this book called the bible but the RCC decided what books were going to be placed in the christian bible. Back then there were many different kind of christians. Research your own history before you get on here adn make fools of yourself. "as a matter of fact read more books" for one if you want to study christanity you have to go futher than the 1st council of nicene that took place in 325ad, cause if you started there then you got the wrong teaching. you got man-made stuff.....HOLLA

    August 16, 2010 at 2:57 am |
    • Matt J.

      Your understanding of the Canon of Scripture is confused. The RCC did not create the Canon when they ruled on it. They merely RATIFIED what Tradition had already determined.

      That is, the Canon came first, the ruling second - and decades later.

      August 16, 2010 at 2:22 pm |
  3. peace2all

    Did I miss something here in the article....? Almost all of the postings here seem to be about how awful the muslims are, for pulling the television series on Jesus.

    If any of you, and I did see some did and answered appropriately,........THE "CHRISTIANS" complained about the series, not the muslims...!!! Apparently, the 'christians' complained because the show misrepresented Jesus as a prophet....and oh my gosh not ....'the son of God.'

    The fact that Iran was even running a tv show on jesus and christianity is a miracle in itself...!!!!

    So, stop the hate mongering on the muslims...... which does absolutely nothing to make things better in the world...and focus on understanding and Peace....

    And again..... READ the article for you post intolerance and bigotry....

    August 16, 2010 at 2:52 am |
    • Matt J.

      If you want people to listen to you, when you call on them to show 'understanding', you have to show it yourself. But this you did not do.

      August 16, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  4. Abbas

    Wow! No cry from these goose christians when thugs release images of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) but what a cry if muslims consider Jesus (pbuh) as their prophet. What's wrong in this? Is the democracy only to be forced on muslims? why? Now talk about freedom of speech, where are those insects who produce movies against Islam and enjoy democaracy.
    Just blow your own face with the shame.

    August 16, 2010 at 2:22 am |
    • Matt J.

      Nothing is wrong with it. The problem is all in Islam. It is both bizarre and wrong for Islam to insist on no representations, so it is wrong for Muslims to get so bent out of shape when someone makes such a representation. Far worse to degenerate into rioting like Muslims did when the Danish cartoonists made their ill-advised representation.

      August 16, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
  5. david b

    Islam is the religion of Satan. You are all going to hell and there will be no 72 virgins for any of you. I hope you all blow yourselves up playing with bombs and enjoy your dry dusty piece of sand that you call home!

    August 16, 2010 at 2:11 am |
    • peace2all

      @ david b

      "Islam is the religion of Satan"........ Oh, please.....give it a rest...!

      Please stop with uninsightful hatemongering. It is a totally useless post. Just stirring it up trying to create more hate.

      August 16, 2010 at 2:41 am |
  6. queue

    While I can accept the criticism that some Christians (or those who practice some other particular faith) can be close-minded, bigoted, and intolerant, I don't understand why agnostics, atheists or others think that it is not equally close-minded, bigoted, and intolerant to label Christians or other faith-practicing people as such; belittling someone else's beliefs to "prove" that one is "right" simply demonstrates one's own ignorance and arrogance. Agnosticism and atheism are simply different belief (or non-belief) systems so to me it's delusional to think that the world would be a better place without religion when everyone practices "religion" of some sort (or whatever belief system you profess to believe or not believe). When there are limited resources and materials, some people will kill or injure to get more – that's human nature and just because one professes not to be "religious" does not that mean one is not part of the problem; "religious" people do not have a monopoly on greed. If you find any truth in these statements, then I believe you've captured some essential teachings of Jesus. And yes, because I mentioned Jesus, you can now construe these statements as close-minded, bigoted, arrogant and judgmental.

    August 16, 2010 at 1:52 am |
    • MutantZ-man

      @queue

      EPIC WIN

      August 16, 2010 at 2:36 am |
    • MutantZ-man

      @queue

      Sorry, I've been asked to remove the EPIC from your WIN.
      Your remarks are incomplete but well-written.

      WIN

      August 16, 2010 at 2:57 am |
  7. Faisal

    Alain, my brother it won't be long till the shameful country america is destroyed by its own shame. I was born and raised in this terrible terrible country and thanks to God I was able to leave for a month over summer to visit Australia. but i must say it is just a truly disgusting tragedy.. this country is absolutely unaware of just how ugly they look to the rest of the world. It is going to end soon brother.. peace to you, praise the Lord Jesus Christ (and my dad is muslim)

    August 16, 2010 at 1:34 am |
    • david b

      Islam is the religion of Satan...... You are all going to hell and there will be no 72 virgins for any of you. I hope you all blow yourselves up playing with bombs and enjoy your dry dusty sandbox that you call home!

      August 16, 2010 at 2:37 am |
    • Matt J.

      Be careful what you wish for. Any catastrophe capable of doing such a thing to America will be far worse for most other countries in the world.

      Think of Global Warming, for example. It may turn the US into a desert by 2150, but it will be much harsher on any part of the world between 50 deg. N and 50 S.

      August 16, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  8. souv

    prophet jesus didnt 'see' any women, prophet mohamed 'seen' a lot of girls and women. Both caused a lot of deaths. Dead prophets are nobody.

    August 16, 2010 at 1:34 am |
  9. JMG

    Is there some genetic flaw that makes middle eastern TV viewers incapable of simply watching a tv show without politicizing it? What a bunch of immature nincompoops. I am so tired of waiting for that segment of the planet to "grow up!" It is time we move on WITHOUT them!

    August 16, 2010 at 1:32 am |
  10. Rock God

    Wait, Jesus came back and got a show in Lebanon?

    August 16, 2010 at 12:42 am |
  11. Realistic

    People, people, most of you are all idiots, so settle down. To the zealots, let the so called atheists meet their maker and explain their position then, no sense in trying to convince them of something they deny just so they sound cool at starbucks while they pretend to be important. To the athiests, funny how no one ever prays to science or a glass beaker when they are trapped in a burning building, or get pulled from an accident, or watch their first child be born and just pray with all of their strength the baby is healthy. There are no athiests in foxholes either. But if someone says they are religious, an athiest is the first one to judge them and use a variety of unsavory comments.

    So what, we are supposed to be free to decide, but I guess if we only agree to you. If you are simply stubborn enough to only believe in things you can see, you lead a sad and lonely existance. If you can only believe in what you can see, could a man with no eyesight believe in anything?

    Let everyone have their faith and choose to believe in whatever, we are all free to decide and even decide incorrectly.

    August 16, 2010 at 12:41 am |
    • dmzone4

      Then why do you post your opinions? To do the same thing. We are all human aren't we? Am I attaking you now?

      August 16, 2010 at 1:05 am |
  12. Tell the truth

    Verses from Quran about Jesus: Please read!!!1

    1.And mention, [O Muhammad], in the Book [the story of] Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place toward the east
    2.And she took, in seclusion from them, a screen. Then We sent to her Our Angel, and he represented himself to her as a well-proportioned man
    3.She said, "Indeed, I seek refuge in the Most Merciful from you, [so leave me], if you should be fearing of Allah ."
    4. said, "I am only the messenger of your Lord to give you [news of] a pure boy."
    5. She said, "How can I have a boy while no man has touched me and I have not been unchaste?
    6. He said, "Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, 'It is easy for Me, and We will make him a sign to the people and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter [already] decreed.' "
    7. So she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a remote place.
    8. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. She said, "Oh, I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten."
    9.But he called her from below her, "Do not grieve; your Lord has provided beneath you a stream.
    10. And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates.
    10. So eat and drink and be contented. And if you see from among humanity anyone, say, 'Indeed, I have vowed to the Most Merciful abstention, so I will not speak today to [any] man.' "
    11. Then she brought him to her people, carrying him. They said, "O Mary, you have certainly done a thing unprecedented.
    12. O sister of Aaron, your father was not a man of evil, nor was your mother unchaste." So she pointed to him. They said, "How can we speak to one who is in the cradle a child?"
    13. "Indeed, I am the servant of Allah . He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet.
    14. And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakah as long as I remain alive

    15. And [made me] dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant.
    16. And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive."
    17. That is Jesus, the son of Mary – the word of truth about which they are in dispute.
    18. It is not [befitting] for Allah to take a son; exalted is He! When He decrees an affair, He only says to it, "Be," and it is.

    August 16, 2010 at 12:28 am |
    • JMG

      In reply to "To Tell the Truth," Muhammed's arrival on this planet was so distant from that of Jesus that I don't give what the Quran has to say about Jesus much credence. I'll trust the New Testament for that, thank you very much.

      August 16, 2010 at 1:42 am |
    • david b

      "Series on Jesus pulled from Lebanese TV after uproar".... this is not news; this is to be expected by these intolerant morons. It would only be news if they allowed it to play!

      August 16, 2010 at 2:01 am |
    • peace2all

      @david b

      You wrote...."Series on jesus pulled from lebanese tv after uproar"... this is not news; this is to be expected by these intolerant morons. It would only be new if they allowed it to play!

      I am either misunderstanding your posting or you, in my opinion seem to be displaying ignorance, intolerance and hate, that shows a lack of understanding to say the least.

      First, the fact that 'Iran' is even making a television series about Jesus and christianity is a 'miracle' in itself.

      Second, your quote..."this is to be expected by these 'intolerant' morons." Did you actually read the article. The people that are doing almost ALL of the complaining are the ...... CHRISTIANS..!!! They are not happy that Jesus is not being portrayed exactly as they think he should, etc.. etc....

      @david b.... As far as I can tell the one being the 'intolerant and ignorant moron' here is...... you. Time to start updating your biases and hate and bigotry...... creating more hatred will not bring more peace and understanding.

      Having more understanding, tolerance and Peace.... will create the opportunity for more Peace..

      Peace and Respect to you.....

      August 16, 2010 at 2:36 am |
    • Heidi

      Thank you. One thing that Christians and Muslims alike would do well to remember is that Islam actually does acknowledge Jesus as an important part of their faith. That is the same story. The "situation" is a little different in which the "Event" occurs..but it is the same story essentially. I want to point out as well that no one acknowledged Jesus as a God-being until Constantine did. That was quite a long time after Jesus' supposed crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. Since Emperors fashioned themselves as Gods, I find a Roman Emperor inventing a new religion a little mundane. Romans had Gods upon Gods and Goddesses throughout time. The fact that someone finally figured out a way to sort of mash them all together and make it so there was only "One God" makes a lot of sense to me..that's a lot of power..all the power of the Gods in one.
      I suggest that Mohammad is but an incarnation of the other side of the non-violent Jesus figure, and the dispute is simply that Jesus sort of died for "us all" and in Islam everyone must fight. It's more inclusive in that regard..I'll give that.

      But what I have wanted for so long for someone to explain to me is why either religion believes that anyone not of their religion (and I realize not all of either religion believe this) that anyone not of Islam or Christianity in some form is not worthy of heaven. The whole "One God " thing got a little to "member oriented" for me.

      August 18, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
  13. DMX

    Let the god believers fight to the death, and put on HBO, I would love to watch them fight and see who's god is better or stronger in a death match 24/7 until 1 person of faith is left!

    August 16, 2010 at 12:22 am |
  14. Micah J

    Wow, as always, any story on CNN that even mentions Christianity proves to be red meat for the liberals. Your comments reveal so much about you...As a Christian i am not at all offended by this show, i just find it funny that in many Muslims' minds it is perfectly fine to portray Jesus as simply a prophet, yet if anyone else wants to show Muhammad in ANY form, they will be threatened with provocation to no end. A bit hypocritical...

    August 16, 2010 at 12:06 am |
  15. Reality

    The whole universe is one big cemetery. Should we stop walking or driving on it? Dig up the remains of all cemeteries, hasten the decomposition via cremation and give the ashes to the relatives who still give a darn about Momma Sue or Uncle Fred!!!

    And for all sufferers of the Three B Syndrome:

    Recognizing the flaws and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity by the "bowers", "kneelers" and "pew peasants" will quickly converge these religions into some simple rules of life. No clerics, imams, rabbis, professors of religion and priests needed or desired. Ditto for their houses and classes of "worthless worship". It will be called the great "Pink Slipping" of religion and its leaders.

    As per James Somerville, Philosophy professor emeritus from Xavier University, Cincinnati,

    "The faith of the vast majority of believers (and non-believers) depends upon where they were born and when."
    It is very disturbing that such religious violence and hatred continues unabated due to radomness of birth. Maybe just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of it all.

    August 15, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
  16. Truth

    Religious views should not be insulted, this is very basic.

    August 15, 2010 at 11:47 pm |
    • dmzone4

      If you would keep it Holy, keep it to yourself. This, too, is very basic.

      August 16, 2010 at 12:59 am |
    • MutantZ-man

      @Truth

      WIN

      @dmzone4

      EPIC WIN

      August 16, 2010 at 3:15 am |
  17. Mohamed Z. Rahaman

    Whatever happened to free speech now? Where are the protests from the tea baggers that free speech must be protected at all costs?
    This series was only providing a different view of Jesus and it was very respectful. In fact, Muslims do not mention the name Jesus without adding "Peace & Blessings of God be upon him". It is not like the cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad, which was deliberately meant to demonize and insult. This just proves how hypocritical the media and the right wing tea baggers are in the West.

    August 15, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
    • Matt J.

      No, the series was not respectful. That was the main problem with it.

      August 16, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  18. Sanatana

    The problem with all Abramic religions boils down to exclusivity. All of these religions divide the world into two halves, the believers and non-believers. The flock is taught to ridicule and hate the non-believers/pagans/infidels/kafirs etc. So Allah is claimed to be the only God or Jesus is the only SON. Why – is that because viagra was not invented or God did not have 72 virgins to produce another son or daughter or a gay offspring? While Islam is the most extreme today, the Xtists have been thru this extreme phase before.

    All Indic relgions – Jain, Sikh, Buddhism etc. stem from the Vedic concept of GOD being omnipresent, omniscient and incomprehensible in form. Hence every representation of God is accepted as a valid representation – be it a real imagination aid like a statute to help with thinking, focussing, meditation and comprehension of GOD or thinking of GOD as formless or abstract. Hence you will find true tolerance in Indic religions where both Jesus and Mohammad are considered avatars of God – men with wisdom akin to Lords Rama, Krishna etc. Also with the omnipresence of God, comes the realization that God is in each one of us, in everything living and non-living. This explains the non-aggression history of Indic religions and the nature worship.
    Really without such concepts life and civilization as we know is doomed to mutual destruction of and by maniacs that are at non-believers' throats believing to be doing God's work by destroying God's creations.....both living and non-living..

    August 15, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
    • dmzone4

      Could you continue? It looks like you stopped in the middle, somehow...

      August 16, 2010 at 12:57 am |
  19. Angel

    Hundreds of millions of Jjews in the world? Someone posted that number in one of the comments. There are maybe 10 million Jews in the world compared to 1.5 billion Muslims and 1.5 billion Christians.

    August 15, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
  20. Richard

    My theory, and it changes daily, is that God has a sense of humor. He's getting quite a laugh out of how his children are behaving.

    August 15, 2010 at 10:40 pm |
    • dmzone4

      @Richard
      Hey, you can talk to him? Really? Could you tell him to hurry up? We're all waiting around for him, you know...

      August 15, 2010 at 10:50 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.