Muslims angry with film producers

From Issah Alhassan, Kumasi

Sheikh Nuhu Sharabutu, National Chief Imam

A CROSS-section of the Muslim community in the Kumasi metropolis has expressed anger and discontentment over what they describe as an attempt by some film producers in the local movie industry to denigrate Muslims and the Islamic religion.

The Muslim community says it is not happy with the way some movie producers, through their storylines, portray the religion and personalities of Muslims in the country.

They particularly, mentioned two local movies on the Ghanaian market, “Asante Nkramo and Mallam Issa,” which feature non-Islamic personalities performing roles and exhibiting traits of the religion.

They are also concerned about the way Muslims are sometimes depicted as “jujumen,” whose only job is to offer spiritual help for people to enable them kill their opponents, a phenomenon they view as a denigration of the religion and its practices.

The “Mallam Issa” movie, produced by Paul Gee Films, depicts the celebrated local actor/comedian, Kofi Adu aka “Agya Koo,” as a Muslim security man with a northern accent, and who walks with a talisman and the kettle used for performing ablutions, while that of the Asante Nkramo also portrays Katawere, another popular name in the local movie industry, as an Ashanti-Muslim convert of wicked character.

A Muslim opinion leader, Ustaz Mustapha, who expressed these concerns in an interview with The Chronicle, said the situation was a sad one for the development of the Islamic religion and the entire Zongo community in the country.

He said the phenomenon casts a serious slur on the integrity of the Islamic religion, and appealed to all Muslims in the country to wage a campaign against it.

According to him, the negative characters and roles portrayed in the movies seem to radiate a bad image for Islam and its members, stressing, “it is discriminatory and smacks off hatred and religious prejudice.”

“I am not saying that there are not bad nuts in the religion, but the consistent portrayal of such characters as Muslims in the mass media plays into the sentiments of people in the religion, this can escalate to something else if not checked.”

What seems to worry the Muslim cleric again, is the fact that the characters who perform the roles are not true Muslims, “which effectively means that they lack the true ideologies of the religion,” he added.

Ustaz Mustapha, therefore, appealed to the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture, and the body responsible for the movie industry, to take the necessary steps to rectify the anomaly.

He hinted that Muslims in the country would soon organise a demonstration, and present a petition to the appropriate authorities, in order to make their voices heard.

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