'Halloween' producer plans film on Islam

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Producer Oscar Zoghbi, who worked on the Halloween series of Hollywood movies, has joined a team working on a new picture on the birth of Islam, according to details unveiled in Dubai Monday.

Titled The Messenger of Peace, the movie will be set during the time of Prophet Mohamed, a media statement by the production company said.

Zoghbi, who was more recently involved in redeveloping Twickenham Studios in Britain, also contributed to making the 1997 film The Message, regarded as the only epic to portray early Islam.

The new film is not about division and conflict but will focus wholly on the rich values common to all Muslims, like compassion and tolerance, Zoghbi said.

Having worked with Moustapha Akkad, director of The Message, Zoghbi said he appreciates the sensitivities and challenges linked with the subject of Islam.

As with The Message, there will be no depiction of the Prophet Mohamed on screen, as images of the prophet are strictly forbidden in Islam.

Since 9/11, Islam s image has suffered tremendously, said Hajja Subhia Abu Elheja, an international film financier and executive producer of the new movie. Now more than ever it has become important to bridge the gap of understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims.

It is telling that only one great historical film has ever been made about Islam, a religion with 1.5 billion followers, whereas Christianity has been the subject of over 30, he said.

Hollywood director Ramsey Thomas, also linked with Halloween and with other films like Boiling Point, will write the script for the new film, which will be shot in English but dubbed into other languages, in particular Arabic.

Moustapha Akkad died with more than 60 other people when bombers attacked three hotels in Amman, Jordan in 2005. -AFP

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