On 5 June 2022, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) released a statement siding with Muslim scholars who had criticized the release of „The Lady of Heaven,“ a new movie depicting the life of the Prophet’s daughter Fatimah. According to a post on the MCB website:
A new film entitled ‘The Lady of Heaven’ has been condemned as divisive and sectarian by scholars across the rich traditions of Islam. The MCB, which proudly represents affiliates from across the different schools of thought in our faith, supports those scholars and leaders who are advocating for greater unity and for the common good, as commanded by our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him).
Read the rest here.
In the statement, the MCB said the primary goal of some of the film’s supporters was to “fuel hatred,“ which it said should not be allowed to happen.
The controversy centers on “The Lady of Heaven,” a new film by Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh Yasser al-Habib, described as the first film depicting the life and death of the Prophet Mohammed’s daughter Fatima. Strict religious bans on the depiction of the Prophet have led to protests outside cinemas in several British cities which called the film “blasphemous” and “racist.” More than 133,000 people had signed a petition against the movie, leading to some British cinemas pulling screenings from their schedules. Most Sunni Muslims believe depictions of Islamic prophets should be prohibited, whereas Shia Islam typically accepts such depictions if they are done respectfully. In June 2022, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported that prominent Leeds imam Qari Asim had been dismissed from his post as a governmental adviser on Anti-Muslim Hatred after backing calls to ban the film.
The MCB is among Britain’s most influential Muslim organizations that historically has acted in concert with the Global Muslim Brotherhood. In February 2022, the GIOR reported that the MCB had published a statement on its website urging members of the House of Lords to reject a part of the British government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill, describing it as “increasingly punitive” and “eroding our civil liberties.”