A CINEMA in Bolton has pulled a film, described as ‘blasphemous’. following protests.

Bolton Cineworld will no longer be taking booking for Our Lady in Heaven following an outcry from some Muslims in the borough.

More than 100 people turned out to protest yesterday afternoon against the showing of the film.

And Bolton Council of Mosques had sent an email to the cinema, based in The Valley.

Signed by the chairman, Asif Patel, it stated: “You many well be aware of the recently released film ‘Lady of Heaven’ which has caused much distress to Muslims across the globe.

“It is underpinned with a sectarian ideology and is blasphemous in nature to the Muslim community.

“It grossly disrespects the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in many ways and is deeply disturbing to every Muslim.

“It also misrepresents orthodox historical narratives and disrespects the most esteemed individuals of Islamic history.

“The storyline begs the question to what extent the producers had considered the huge impact of this film upon the Muslim community and notions of sacredness dearly held by them.”

It adds: “In Bolton, we are a very diverse community and are very respectful of each other’s culture and honour on community cohesion.

In a statement, Cineworld said: “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.”

But some people were unhappy with the protest.

Susan Shaw said she and her mum missed a film due to the protests.

Susan said: “It was absolutely ridiculous and scared my elderly mum.

“There were more than 50 people there and they were shouting and waving around. I had to call the police but went home as my mum was on edge.

“This is not acceptable; you don’t get to decide what other people can watch at a cinema."

She added: "I have lived all over the Middle East, I would never do anything like this over there.

Susan continued: “We were going to watch Top Gun but didn’t watch anything as my mum didn’t want to go in.”

It is the first time the prophet Muhammed (PBUH) has been depicted in film and follows the story of his daughter Fatimah.

It was directed by Eli King and written by Sheikh al-Habib, who wanted to bring the story to life and showcase the life of Fatimah.

The Bolton News: Protests at Cineworld BoltonProtests at Cineworld Bolton

British made, The Lady of Heaven is directed by Eli King and written by cleric Yasser Al-Habib. Filming began in 2019 and the production was delayed due to the Covid pandemic.

The independent film has already garnered a great deal of controversy in the build up to its release and has been banned in shia majority nation Iran, where it was believed it may cause ‘divisions among Muslims’. Other countries such as Pakistan, which called it ‘sacrilegious’ and Egypt have also followed suit in banning the movie.

Some Shia scholars have also condemned the storyline due to its 'historical inaccuracies'.

The Lady of Heaven was released on June 3 in cinemas in the UK The plot revolves around Laith, an Iraqi child in the middle of a war-torn country after losing his mother, has found himself a new home with an elderly woman who tells him the story of Fatima, whose face is never shown, the daughter of Muhammad.

The Prophet Muhammad’s face is a mixture of computer generated and lighting imagery. The film said holy personalities were not represented by ‘any one individual’ and were made up of computer-generated images.

The Bolton News: Letter sent to CineworldLetter sent to Cineworld

Critics say it also looks to liken an ISIS assault on a woman to that of an inaccurate story of how two of the Prophet’s closet companions were responsible for an assault on his daughter Fatima to the fourth caliph Ali, who is revered highly by both Shias and Sunnis.

Other critics have said the depictions of caliphs Abu Bakr, Umar, the wife of the Prophet, Aisha and other negative characters were black as this ‘stems from the racial bias against darker skinned people’.

Roshan Muhammed Salih of 5 Pillars has been a vocal critic of the film had watched the movie.

He felt, ‘there is no doubt that Lady of Heaven is going to create sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shias in the UK’.

The Bolton News:

He adds: ‘Lady of Heaven is two hours plus of the most extreme Shia sectarian narratives about how the caliphate was supposedly “usurped” from the Ahl ul Bayt.

"And most Muslims will find the invective against three of the most beloved companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) shocking and disgusting.’

He admitted there had been calls from some Shia spokespersons to distance themselves from this movie and also urged ‘all mainstream Sunni scholars to reject this story as a complete lie.’

A New York Times review says the film is hardly about Fatima, whose face is shrouded throughout, whilst The Guardian says 'for a film that aims to promote religious diversity and freedom of thought, its metronomic alternation between time frames, narrative slavishness and laughable coda have a suffocating sense of orthodoxy.'