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Christians Welcome Pakistan ‘s Ban On Da Vinci Code Movie

(BosNewsLife) 6/5/2006– A major religious rights group on Monday, June 5, welcomed a Pakistani government decision to ban cinema screenings of ‘The Da Vinci Code’ movie, following protests by local Christians who feared more persecution.

However the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) said it regretted that although the film has “not been screened yet in any theatre in Pakistan ,” CDs, DVDs “are openly available in the market and cable operators started showing the movie through their network.”

APMA said the ban, enforced this weekend, came shortly after its Chairman, Shahbaz Bhatti, wrote letters to the country’s’ President, General Pervez Musharraf, superior court judges and members of Parliament, “demanding a complete ban on the sales of CDs or screening of the movie in the theatres.”

The organization said at the time it was disappointment that while there was outrage over recent Prophet Mohammed cartoons, Muslim groups, parliamentarians and the government “were all silent on the issue of Da Vinci Code.”

Pakistan ’s Culture Minister Ghulam Jamal reportedly told state media however that he agreed that the movie should be banned as it contained “blasphemous material on Jesus Christ.”

MARY MAGDALENE

The film explores the idea that Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene and had children with her whose ancestors still live today. Christian leaders say it becomes clear from the Bible that Jesus was not married to any woman, as He only sees His Church, made up of individuals accepting Him as Lord and Savior, as His Bride.

Bhatti accused ‘The Da Vinci Code’ of attacking the Christian faith and “the divinity of Christ the truthfulness of sacred scriptures, the integrity of [the[ Church and core values of Christianity.”

He said the film “is full of calumnies, offenses, historical and theological errors regarding Jesus, Gospel and Church. It is the fabrication of the worst sort –a tapestry of lies woven from twisted truth, with enough reality thrown in to form a curious picture.”

ANTI-CHRISTIAN SENTIMENTS

The ban came amid concerns over growing anti-Christian sentiments in Pakistan , where churches have been attacked and several Christian believers detained for allegedly “desecrating” the Koran, seen as a holy book by Muslims.

In neighboring India several states also blocked the release of The Da Vinci Code. Authorities in Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, all banned the film last week.

In published remarks, the Andhra Pradesh government said “many groups” including Christian organizations, had opposed the film which had been scheduled for release on Friday, June 2.

PEACE BREACH

“The exhibition of the film is likely to cause breach of peace and hurt religious sentiments of Muslim and Christian community which may lead to demonstrations, disturb peace and tranquility in the state,” the government reportedly said in statement.

Not all Christian groups agree with a ban the Da Vinci Code and some organizations, including Campus Crusade for Christ have used it as a tool to conduct evangelization to show the “true Jesus Christ.”

In Europe, including in Hungary where BosNewsLife is based, the evangelical church Agape has been distributing leaflets near cinemas explaining the Gospel of Christ. “We think this is an opportunity to spread the Gospel,” said Tamas S. Kiss, an Agape founder.