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Top 10 Movies Banned in the Middle East

Posted on October 7 2010 8:00 am
Mark Tapson writes about the intersection of Hollywood and terrorism for Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood and Big Peace, David Horowitz's Front Page and NewsReal, Pajamas Media, the Investigative Project for Terrorism, and elsewhere. He was the writer’s assistant and researcher for Cyrus Nowrasteh on, among other projects, "The Stoning of Soraya M." and the controversial miniseries "The Path to 9/11." Mark is currently co-writing a documentary for renowned terrorism expert Steven Emerson.

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"March of the Penguins" AGAIN?!

A year and a half ago, giddy and hopeful in the wake of Obama’s inauguration, an unofficial but self-important delegation from Hollywood’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (including actresses Annette Bening and Alfre Woodard, among others), set out for Iran as part of a “cultural exchange.”

Hard to fathom how America was supposed to benefit from the exchange, but cultural advisor Javad Shamaghdari told the Hollywood reps exactly what Iran wanted: “We will believe Obama’s policy of change when we see change in Hollywood too.” In other words, no more movies critical of Islam or Iran. That’s not all Shamaghdari demanded:

If Hollywood wants to correct its behavior towards Iranian people and Islamic culture then they have to officially apologize.

So Hollywood infidels are expected to publicly acknowledge and embrace their dhimmi status. Most Hollywood infidels would be right onboard with that. But not the following filmmakers.

We in the West usually take movies for granted and accord them little more significance than mere entertainment. But our Islamic enemies, like the Communists and Nazis before them, fully recognize the cultural power of cinema and work hard to control it. Movies, especially of the Western variety, are often banned as un-Islamic in sharia-controlled areas, especially ones that flaunt sexual immodesty (Sex and the City), homosexuality (even the merely metrosexual Zoolander), or the depiction of drug use.

That doesn’t mean that such movies don’t circulate underground; in very Westernized Iran, for example, the mullahs do their best to keep a lid on the populace’s preference for American cultural decadence, but pirated DVDs are eagerly consumed by viewers privately.

What follows is a mostly chronological list of ten movies that for various reasons particularly offended Islamic values or regimes in the Middle East, especially Iran, which takes any opportunity to spew blustery propaganda about our warmongering, cultural aggression. With the exception of the Oscar-nominated French-Iranian film Persepolis, which I chose because Iran rated it as “more dangerous” than 300, I limited my selections to well-known Hollywood feature films, although Iran’s Ahmadinejad banned all foreign films in late 2005 and even many from Iranian filmmakers.

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