CAIRO: Two Facebook groups are calling for people to boycott Adel Imam’s new movie “Hassan and Morqos in which the veteran comedian plays the role of a Coptic priest.
“A call for all Muslims: boycott the Christian Adel Imam is the name of one of the groups which attracted 53 members. The group was created by the Saudi Arabian Akram Bahader.
“I’ve created this group out of jealousy for my religion. Adel Imam is a star with many fans and if he commits apostasy then this may encourage his admirers to do the same, Bahader told Daily News Egypt on a Facebook message.
The group is accusing Imam of promoting apostasy in his latest movie as well as advocating other sins such as drinking alcohol and prostitution, therefore everyone should boycott his movies and plays, said Bahader.
Bahader asserts however that he does not want to create a sectarian rift between Muslims and Christians with his group. “My religion [Islam] is one of tolerance and unity between all mankind, he said.
The second group, titled “How about we boycott Adel Imam’s new movie was created by an Egyptian man.
Attracting a scanty number of three members, it calls for “continuing what started in Syria where only a few showed up to watch Imam’s play The Bodyguard and boycott his new movie in which he ridicules and profanes Islam by supporting everything Egyptians oppose.
Islamic scholars strongly object to what the Facebook groups advocating.
“As long as Adel Imam acknowledges that there is no God but Allah [known in Islam as the shehada] then he is Muslim, said Mahmoud Ashour, former deputy of Al Azhar. “As for his part as a priest he is just acting which is his profession and he is addressing a certain issue through his role; this doesn’t change his faith.
The movie is slated for release this summer at a critical time with sectarian tensions rising following clashes between Muslims and Coptic monks at a monastery in El Minya.
Diaa Rashwan, an Islamism expert at Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, is furious that the issue is attracting any attention at all.
“The whole thing is trivial, who are these people to say that someone is an apostate, he told Daily News Egypt. “They do not represent the views of any party let alone a religion.
“Hassan and Morquos is about a Muslim cleric and Coptic priest whose paths cross as they both face threats from religious extremists. Overall the movie calls for national unity between Muslims and Christians. The big-budget film by Good News Productions co-stars Omar Sharif, was written by Youssef Maaty and directed by Ramy, Adel Imam’s son.