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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Bill McLoughlin

Protestors mass outside Stratford Vue over ‘blasphemous’ Islamic film

Protestors have massed outside a Vue cinema in east London in opposition to a film which they claim is “blasphemous”.

Crowds gathered at the cinema in Stratford on Wednesday in protest against the screening of ‘The Lady of Heaven’.

The film was released over the Jubilee weekend but was pulled by Cineworld over fears for the safety of staff following protests in Bradford, Bolton, Birmingham and Sheffield.

In one video on social media, demonstrators in east London can be he heard chanting “take it down” and demanded to speak to the cinema manager.

A protester is also heard saying: “Those who are wondering what is wrong with this film, it is a blasphemous film and it has also insulted black people. How have they insulted the BAME community?

“They have shown portrayed black people as filthy criminals and this film will be shown in Vue cinema. We want this film to be taken down immediately. Vue cinema have ignored.”

The film tells the story of Lady Fatima, one of the daughters of the Prophet Muhammad.

Critics have accused the movie of depicting religious history inaccurately and negatively portraying Islamic characters.

More than 120,000 people have signed a petition for The Lady of Heaven film to be pulled from UK cinemas, while the executive producer, Malik Shlibak, has received death threats following its release.

Speaking on Wednesday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said cancellations were an “incrediby dangerous road to go down” in an interview with Talk TV.

A spokesperson for Vue Cinemas previously said: “Vue takes seriously the responsibilities that come with providing a platform for a wide variety of content and believes in showcasing films of interest to diverse communities across the UK.

"Vue will only show a film once the BBFC (the independent British Board of Film Classification) has assessed and rated a film.

"The Lady of Heaven has been BBFC accredited and is on show in a number of our cinemas.

"Decisions about how long a film remains on show are taken on a site-by-site basis and based on a variety of commercial and operational factors."

Vue Cinema has been approached for further comment.

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