From Xaragmata@3:800/432 to All on Mon Jan 14 23:39:50 2008
'Islamic Jesus' hits Iranian movie screens
TEHRAN, Jan 13, 2008 (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'.
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.
The director is also keen to emphasise the links between Jesus and one of the most important figures in Shiite Islam, the Imam Mahdi, said to have disappeared 12 centuries ago but whose 'return' to earth has been a key tenet of the Ahmadinejad presidency.
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'.