An Egyptian film – the country’s nominee at the Oscar’s in the best foreign film category – may be censored at home, with its director facing a possible 5-year prison sentence for blasphemy, the International Business Times reported.
The film, Sheikh Jackson, tells the story of a sheikh who was a fan of pop idol Michael Jackson when he was a child. When the grown-up sheikh hears the news of Jackson’s death, it puts him in a spin, questioning his life, religion and career. In one dream sequence, he sees Jackson dancing in front of him while praying in a mosque.
The film was sent to Al Azhar University, Egypt’s and the world’s top authority for Sunni Muslims to determine if it is blasphemous.
The film’s director, Amr Salama, was summoned by Egypt’s general prosecutor for making the film.
On Facebook, Salami wrote, “[The] movie has been nominated by the country to represent it in regional and international festivals. It even chose it to represent the country in the Oscar, then decided to initiate an investigation around the same film?”
“Where is the freedom of expression? Are we forever going to think of all our movies from a religious point of view and make sure if every single take is Halal or Haram [religiously acceptable or prohibited]?” he added.
The film will be released in the U.S. January 5, 2018. Watch the trailer below: