Seeking common ground with Christians by urging them to accept the Islamic view of Jesus, sans crucifixion and divinity. In other words, become Muslim, and we’ll be standing on common ground — which is also the thinly veiled message of the celebrated “Common Word” document recently issued by 138 Muslim scholars.
“‘Islamic Jesus’ hits Iranian movie screens,” from AFP (thanks to all who sent this in):
TEHRAN (AFP) “” A director who shares the ideas of Iran’s hardline president has produced what he says is the first film giving an Islamic view of Jesus Christ, in a bid to show the “common ground” between Muslims and Christians.
Nader Talebzadeh sees his movie, “Jesus, the Spirit of God,” as an Islamic answer to Western productions like Mel Gibson’s 2004 blockbuster “The Passion of the Christ,” which he praised as admirable but quite simply “wrong”.
“Gibson’s film is a very good film. I mean that it is a well-crafted movie but the story is wrong — it was not like that,” he said, referring to two key differences: Islam sees Jesus as a prophet, not the son of God, and does not believe he was crucified.
Talebzadeh said he even went to Gibson’s mansion in Malibu, California, to show him his film. “But it was Sunday and the security at the gate received the film and the brochure and promised to deliver it,” though the Iranian never heard back.
Even in Iran, “Jesus, The Spirit of God” had a low-key reception, playing to moderate audiences in five Tehran cinemas during the holy month of Ramadan, in October.
The film, funded by state broadcasting, faded off the billboards but is far from dead, about to be recycled in a major 20 episode spin-off to be broadcast over state-run national television this year.
Talebzadeh insists it aims to bridge differences between Christianity and Islam, despite the stark divergence from Christian doctrine about Christ’s final hours on earth.
“It is fascinating for Christians to know that Islam gives such devotion to and has so much knowledge about Jesus,” Talebzadeh told AFP.
“By making this film I wanted to make a bridge between Christianity and Islam, to open the door for dialogue since there is much common ground between Islam and Christianity,” he said.
But in Talebzadeh’s movie, God saves Jesus, depicted as a fair-complexioned man with long hair and a beard, from crucifixion and takes him straight to heaven.
“It is frankly said in the Koran that the person who was crucified was not Jesus” but Judas, one of the 12 Apostles and the one the Bible holds betrayed Jesus to the Romans, he said. In his film, it is Judas who is crucified.
Islam sees Jesus as one of five great prophets — others being Noah, Moses and Abraham — sent to earth to announce the coming of Mohammed, the final prophet who spread the religion of Islam. It respects Jesus’ followers as “people of the book”.
Who are, incidentally, unbelievers, per Qur’an 5:17.