UK cinema chain Cineworld has pulled all screenings of a film about the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed after Muslim groups protested outside theatres, calling the movie “blasphemous”.
Cineworld, the world’s second-largest cinema chain, said it will cancel all showings of “The Lady of Heaven” due to safety concerns.
“Due to recent incidents related to screenings of ‘The Lady of Heaven’, we have made the decision to cancel upcoming screenings of the film nationwide to ensure the safety of our staff and customers,” said a spokesperson.
Videos online showed the manager of Sheffield Cineworld in northern England telling a group of protestors on Sunday (5) night that the screening had been cancelled.
A similar protest targeted Cineworld theatres in the central city of Birmingham and in the northern town of Bolton.
All three places have sizeable Muslim populations.
The historical drama film calls itself the first movie on the life of the Prophet Mohammed’s daughter Fatimah and draws links between Islamic State in the 21st century with historical figures of Sunni Islam.
Malik Shlibak, executive producer of the film, told The Guardian that cinema chains should “stand up and defend their right to show films that people want to see”.
“I think cinemas are crumbling to the pressure, and taking these decisions to quell the noise,” he said.