‘Lady of Heaven’ producer ‘receives death threats’ as movie pulled from cinemas

Malik Shlibak says he has been called an ‘infidel’ on Twitter

Douglas Whitbread,Jon Sharman
Wednesday 08 June 2022 15:32 BST
<p>Cineworld’s Bolton branch was one of several that suffered protests (File photo) </p>

Cineworld’s Bolton branch was one of several that suffered protests (File photo)

The executive producer of a film pulled from cinemas following accusations of “blasphemy” has claimed he has received death threats because of the work.

Malik Shlibak, 30, executive producer of The Lady of Heaven, said activists told him “I’m going to kill you” on Twitter and called him an “infidel”.

The film, which is about Fatima, the daughter of the prophet Muhammad, was pulled from Cineworld theatres across the UK following protests by Muslims who claimed they were offended by it.

Cineworld said it feared for the safety of its workers.

The demonstrators claimed freedom of expression should not extend to the discussion of religion, with one saying: “You have no right to tell us our history. We will not let this film go on further.”

Mr Shlibak said on Wednesday: “I’ve had death threats sent to me, to be very frank with you, I’ve had death threats for the last five years.

“It’s nothing new because I’m involved in this type of work where these radicals don’t what you to speak about anything they don’t agree with.

“I don’t worry about it – it’s just empty threats.

“But I have had threats on Twitter now, being called an ’infidel’ and with people saying, ‘I’m going to kill you’ and all this sort of thing.”

He further claimed that the controversy surrounding The Lady of Heaven had been “brilliant” for the film and had brought in “huge audiences”.

Hundreds of demonstrators turned out to picket theatres in Bradford, Bolton, Birmingham and Sheffield over the weekend.

The movie opens with the invasion of Iraq by Isis and features a graphic jihadist murder. It then goes on to document the life of Fatima, daughter of the founder of Islam, during the seventh century.

Islamic tradition forbids the direct portrayal of religious figures and the film’s director Eli King depicts Fatima as a faceless character, shrouded by a black veil.

In a television interview, health secretary Sajid Javid added he was “very concerned” that protests had forced Cineworld to stop showing the film. He said: “We don’t have blasphemy laws. That would be a dangerous road to go down.”

Following the protests, a spokesperson from Cineworld said: “Due to recent incidents related to screenings of ‘The Lady of Heaven’, we have made the decision to cancel upcoming screenings of the film nationwide to ensure the safety of our staff and customers.”

Additional reporting by SWNS

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