Tunisian lawyers request religious authorities to ban the broadcasting of Iranian television series depicting prophets

August 12, 2010

Four Tunisian lawyers have requested the local religious authorities to ban the broadcasting of Iranian television series that visually depicted prophets and religious icons.

Two Tunisian private television stations, Nesma TV and Hannibal TV, have been running promo ads that they would broadcast throughout Ramadan, Muslims’ holy month, dramas about the lives of Prophet Yusuf (Jospeh), Virgin Mary and Jesus.

Directed by Farajollah Salahshur, “Prophet Joseph” depicts the life of Prophet Joseph from his childhood to adulthood. The episodes were produced by Sima Film Productions, an affiliate of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) and were aired on IRIB Channel One in 2008 and 2009 and shown shown last year on Hizbollah’s Al Manar Channel. The Iran-produced dramas are dubbed in Arabic.

However, the Tunisian lawyers said that Sunni Islam banned the visual depiction of prophets, their wives and their children as well as the Companions of Prophet Mohammad.

“This is a dangerous violation of the status of prophets and an attack on a pillar of faith,” the lawyers said. “Shiites allow the depiction of prophets, but Sunnis totally reject their visualization of prophets,” they said.

Since Tunisia is an independent country with Islam as its official religion and the Maleki School of Thought as its sect, there should be a ban on the series, the lawyers said in their statement.

Last year, a pro-Iraq group petitioned for the banning the broadcasting of the “House of Saddam”, the 2008 drama that charts the rise and fall of Iraqi former leader Saddam Hussein, on a private Tunisian station, arguing that it “harmed the feelings of Arabs.”



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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