Members of Bolton’s Muslim community have criticised a decision to cancel screenings of a film about the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad at Bolton Cineworld.

And the executive producer of the film told The Bolton News the cinema should ‘rethink’ its decision to pull The Lady of Heaven from its listings following the protests by other Muslims who have described the film as ‘blasphemous’.

Asif Patel, chairman of the Bolton Council of Mosques said in a letter to Cineworld the film is ‘underpinned with a sectarian ideology and is blasphemous in nature to the Muslim community’ and that it ‘grossly disrespects the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in many ways and is deeply disturbing to every Muslim’.

Cineworld Bolton pulls The Lady of Heaven film after protest

Now some of members of the borough’s Muslim community have criticised the decision, saying that a film should not be pulled because of the actions of a few.

The Bolton News: ProtestsProtests

Ali Hussain, from the Shia Itna Asheri Society said: “Cineworld have openly accepted that they don’t adhere to our British values of freedom of expression because we have the right to watch what we want in the cinema.

“All because activists have shown up to four or five cinemas, they have taken drastic action to cancel the film. That is ludicrous.

“Everyone has the right to watch a film of their choice and nobody can tell you what you can or can’t see. It’s a violation of human rights to cancel a film because a minority group of people don’t agree with it.

“Cineworld have now shown that if a minority of even two people don’t agree with a film, they will pull it. The protesters got what they wanted by ruining it for others.”

Ali, who lives in Great Lever, and others, visited the Bolton Cineworld in The Valley on Tuesday evening and sent a letter to voice their concerns.

In the letter, signed by Mr Hussain, it states: “Does that mean 100-200 people in real terms represent the entire Muslim community that consists of two million people in the UK?

“We, the Shia Itna Asheri group are of the belief that Cineworld has now restricted our freedom to view a production that was approved by them and the BBFC.

A spokesman for Cineworld said: “Our utmost priority is the safety of our staff and customers, therefore we have made the decision to cancel upcoming screenings of the film nationwide.

“The intention to prevent the showing is solely due to the matter of opinion of historical events and nothing more.

“This is no basis for such an organisation to make a decision that in real life affects millions nationally.”

Concerns about the film include worries of creating sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shias in the UK and the historical basis.

The Bolton News: Executive producerExecutive producer

Executive Producer of the film, Malik Shlibak said the film had been extensively researched and he did not see the reason for protesting.

He said: “I think the protesting is appalling and Cineworld need to rethink their decision and realise they represent Britain.

“It’s a shame to see they were bullied into removing films from their screens.

“To say it is historically inaccurate is not true. We spoke to a well renowned historian and all of it goes back to historical texts we can provide proof of.

“We made sure not to include anything not from research sources and it doesn’t matter anyway, it’s still no reason to censor this artistic endeavour and if you feel it’s not accurate then express yourself that’s not a problem, but that’s as far as it can go.”

Malik, who is Muslim himself, revealed he was getting many threatening messages following the public outcry of the film showing.

He said: “To threaten and to bully people and to send me death threats, is abhorrent.

“This film is just a narrative that most people don’t know and on the issue of depicting our prophet Muhammed (PBUH) that is a varied opinion everywhere.”

The BBFC ruled it did not find that The Lady of Heaven needed to be pulled due to any guidelines and deemed it suitable for viewing.