If film producer Oscar Zoghbi has his way, Americans will be soon be flocking to movie theaters to see a film about the Prophet Muhammad and his followers that Zoghbi hopes will clear up misconceptions about Muslims, including what he says is “the understanding that all Muslims are terrorists.”
Zoghbi says he hopes to shoot some scenes for his movie in the holy cities of Medina and Mecca, and he predicts his film, “The Messenger of Peace,” will rival Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of The Christ.”
But some critics predict Zoghbi’s movie, which is scheduled to begin production early next year, will be a whitewash, and that it won’t tell the whole story about Muhammad or Islam.
Nonie Darwish, the author of the upcoming book “Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law,” said the film will likely try too hard not to offend.
“The movie will probably avoid or justify Muhammad’s violent and unprovoked battling years in Medina, where assassination and mass murder were done by Muhammad “¦ in order to spread the religion, take control and silence his critics,” Darwish said.
“We will probably see the image of Muhammad that most Muslims were spoon-fed in their religious education.”
Robert Spencer, director of JihadWatch.com, said Western audiences looking to learn more about a religion tangled in stereotypes of suicide bombers will be disappointed by “The Messenger of Peace.”
“They’re already taking a stand on a controversial issue with the title alone, denying and downplaying the manifest fact that numerous Muslims around the world have justified acts of violence by invoking Muhammad’s words and example,” Spencer said.
But Zoghbi says his film will very deliberately take a moderate approach.
“We are trying to depict the values and teachings of the Prophet. It’s not a historical film in any way,” he said…
Naturally, since if it was a “historical” film, Zoghbi would have to rely on Muhammad’s biographers, Ibn Hisham, al-Waqidi, Ibn Ishaq — or, for a succint sum, Robert’s Truth About Muhammad — something he would not want to do.