Maybe if there are enough riots, they’ll burn down their own countries sparing everyone else the trouble.
Mosab Hassan Yousef, a Palestinian who moved to Los Angeles several years ago, said he sees a compelling narrative film in that story and has already cast a “prominent Hollywood actor” in the title role of his film “Muhammad,” which has a proposed budget of $30 million.
The film will tell the story of the prophet from age 12 to his death, and will have the look and feel of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” Yousef said. “My goal is to create this big mirror to show the Muslim world the true image of its leader,” Yousef said.
A second film in preproduction is the work of Ali Sina, an atheist raised Muslim in Iran. A prominent critic of Islam, he maintains websites that promote what he calls “the truth” about the religion.
To date he says he has raised $2 million from Southern California investors for the film, which does not yet have a title but will portray the prophet as a cult leader in the vein of David Koresh or Jim Jones. He hopes to raise a total of $10 million, he said, and begin filming next year.
Now a resident of Canada, Sina began contemplating a biopic about Muhammad a decade ago, but stepped up his effort in the last two years as technological advances made it feasible to circumvent government censors and wary exhibitors.
“We can bypass theaters completely and sell the movie online with a profit to a large number of people, especially Muslims,” Sina said. “They can download it and watch it even if they are living in Karachi or Mecca or Medina.”
Ali Sina’s project seems more feasible because the budget is smaller and Sina has a longstanding reputation of taking on Islam, but there’s room for both movies at the table. What is truly important is getting a variety of these movies out there to neuter the notion Islamists and their leftist fellow travelers are perpetuating about Mo being off limits on the silver screen.
Paradoxically I suspect that the Muslim reaction to the Innocence of Muslims has kicked off a Streisand effect generating more interest in Mo movies than there would have been otherwise. And people may be ready for a higher quality cinematic treatment of the famed pedo cult leader.
“This is crossing a line,” said Akbar Ahmed, a former Pakistani ambassador to the United Kingdom and now professor of Islamic studies at American University. “If there is an actor physically portraying Muhammad, there will be a violent reaction.”
And if it’s Ramadan and everyone is bored, there will also be a violent reaction.