Iran backs Rahman and stands by the film
The Iranian government came out in support of A R Rahman and defended Majidi's film. A faction of Islamic scholars too criticized the Sunni Muslim group (Raza Academy) for issuing the fatwa. Supporting the country's stand, the embassy said, "No insult has been committed to Islamic values in the film." They said that the country has always stood in the defence of Islam.
Fatwa against Rahman and filmmaker Majidi
Raza Academy, the Sunni Muslim group in Mumbai issued a fatwa against A.R. Rahman and Iranian director Majid Majidi for their movie "Muhammad: Messenger of God". According to the fatwa, Majidi and Rahman were both termed "infidel" and their respective marriages called "invalid". The fatwa urged Muslims to reject the movie and protest at a legal and personal level to punish its makers.
Who is Majid Majidi?
Majidi is an academy nominated Iranian director who has directed many feature films and documentaries such as Children of Heaven (1997), The Color of Paradise (1999), Baran (2001), Barefoot to Herat (2004), The Willow Tree (2005) etc.
What is the Raza Academy?
Raza Academy was founded by Mohammed Saeed Noori in Mumbai (1978) representing Barelvi Sunni Muslims. The academy endeavors to spread awareness about Islam and its values. On 11 August 2012, the academy garnered news because of a protest against the riots in Assam and violence against Myanmar Muslims that turned violent. The mob assaulted police officers, damaged their vehicles and vandalized the Hutatma Square.
Religious outcry or a publicity stunt?
The fatwa by the Raza academy is being viewed as a publicity stunt as other Muslim groups such as the Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith and Tablighi Jamaat have voiced no objections against the film.
What is the fatwa about?
The Raza Academy issued a fatwa claiming that the movie that Rahman composed for was anti- Islam. Mufti Mahmood Akhtarul Qadri, the imam of Haji Alig Dargah Masjid was approached to decide apt punishment for the makers. The academy believed that it was blasphemous to make a movie on the Prophet and the presence of non-Muslim actors was considered as a mockery of Islam.
Rahman send out open letter against fatwa
A.R. Rahman came out and spoke on the fatwa against him clarifying that his "decision" to compose the music for the movie "Muhammad: The Messenger of God", was in good faith and that he hadn't meant to offend any religious group. He further refused to share his "spiritual experiences" of working on the film terming them as 'personal'.