Last Updated: Tue Dec 28, 2010 07:23 am (KSA) 04:23 am (GMT)

TV series angers Sunni Muslims in Iran


An Iranian Sunni Muslim cleric ruled as forbidden, or Haram, the watching of a TV series currently being broadcast in Iran about a Shiite Muslim leader who set up a movement in 686 AD in the town of Kufa to avenge the death of Imam Hussein.

"Mukhtar Nameh" (The message of Mukhtar) demonstrates how the Shiites have always been persecuted and mistreated throughout history and how the suffering of the oppressed often haunts the oppressor.

When second Umayyad caliph Yazid I took power in 683 AD, the number of Muslims who were dissatisfied with their rulers grew and gave rise to rebellion led by Hussein, the son of Ali and the grandson of Prophet Mohammed.

The death of Imam Hussein at the Battle of Karballa (around 680 AD) made him a martyr in the eyes of Shiites and made permanent a division in Islam between the party of Alī (the Shiites) and the majority Sunnis.

The uprising reportedly started in 686 AD from Kufa, Modern Iraq, and Mukhtar was in prison when the battle of Karbala was taking place. When Mukhtar found out about what happened in the battle of Karbala, he set out to avenge the death of Imam Hussein.

Al-Mukhtar reportedly caught a number of the men who allegedly killed Imam Hussein and his companions in the tragedy of Karbala.

Sunni Muslim leader in Sistan-Baluchistan region Molawi Abdel-Hamid said, "Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei recently issued a Fatwa (Islamic ruling) that forbids insulting symbols and sanctities of Sunni Muslims, but the radio and television agency in Iran, whose head was appointed by the supreme leader, has ignored the Fatwa."

"How can we expect government agencies then to respect this Fatwa," he added, calling for an immediate suspension of broadcasting the film because of content he said was insulting to the companions of Prophet Mohammed, including Abdullah Ibn Zubair.

The film by Iranian director Daoud Mir was made in 40 episodes and was produced by Sima Film at a cost of $20 million, making it one of the most costly drama series in Iranian film production.

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