Banning The Da Vinci Code in Jordan

Amman: Jordan’s Council of Churches on Saturday urged a government ban on the film The Da Vinci Code for being “a violation of redlines”, the official Petra news agency reported.

Council Secretary General Hanna Nour said the movie, based on a best-selling novel by Dan Brown “has been previously banned from publication in Jordan and Lebanon because it directly harms Jesus.”

He said the film is damaging to the memory of religious figures of Christianity and Islam, claiming it “contradicts the truth as written in the Bible and the Quran about Jesus.”

The Vatican has denounced the film, scheduled for release this month, saying it is based on lies that could turn viewers against Christianity. Clergy from the Roman Catholic church all over the world have raised complaints about the film. In Italy, a massive poster for the upcoming film has been removed following complaints from clergy.

The novel contends that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had descendants, and that the Vatican and a religious organisation close it are covering it up.

Nour said the Council is strongly urging “the authorities to stand beside Christians in the issue and take the necessary measures to prevent this film from showing in Jordan.” [source]

I guess it does bring up a good question: should it be banned in Jordan? I wasn’t aware the book was banned in part because I never paid attention to whether it was on bookshelves anywhere but mostly because everyone I know over there had a copy of it (in Arabic and English) so I assumed it was allowed.

Is the premise of the story offensive to Christian and Islamic beliefs? Yes, obviously. Despite the fact that both religions don’t exactly agree on everything concerning Jesus (pbuh) but there is obvious consensus that Dan Brown’s version of events did not happen.

As for censorship, I don’t know. There are times when I feel that all materials should be allowed and people should make up their own minds; that we shouldn’t insult people’s intelligence when it comes to drawing conclusions. But then again when I meet some people I find that most will just go with the general flow instead of forming original opinions. And in this day and age there is a lot of ‘harmful material’ out there. I guess pro or anti censorship/banning depends a lot on your beliefs or ideological position. Perhaps the more conservative will be pro while the more liberal will tend to be anti.

But all of this aside I consider myself somewhat a realist and the fact is if Jordan bans the movie everyone they didn’t want watching it will be watching it because most people get their movies from street vendors for 1 JD.

Then again this begs the question of what the purpose is behind banning or censoring something. Is it to remove it from the reach of society so that they won’t be exposed to it? Or is it merely a ‘message’ or an indication of a stance or position on the matter undertaken by the state?

15 thoughts on “Banning The Da Vinci Code in Jordan

  1. Too bad!! why dont they ban something useful like banning Isrealie’s from entering Jordan! I think Isrealie’s are KILLING Christians as well!!!

    Reminds me with Banning the Pokemon Show..TAFAHA!

  2. I do not think it should be banned. The movie is based on a novel which is categorized as fiction. It is up to the individual to decide whether he or she wants to watch the movie. The government should not make the decision for the individual.. Jordanians will get their hand on this movie no matter what. The banning will only increase the interest in watching it… it will never workâ?¦… my two cents!

    Thanks Nas for highlighting this!

  3. Well, Brown’s novel indeed is a fictional plot, but based on glimpses of the truth. Jesus did have siblings, brothers, and two sisters at least. He was raised Jewish, by Jewish parents, in a Jewish world. He was a rabbi. According to Jewish law, a rabbi must be married. He was married for a fact. Who? Most likely Miriam Magdalene. She was with him all the time and entered his grave for washing his body, an act so restricted in Jewish law to only those who are close family memebers (wife or mother most likely since the dead would be naked and the Jewish law (halacha) has specific rules on this). Yes Jesus was married and had brothers and sisters. Although this contradicts the doctrines of Islam and Christianity; still, Muslims see him as a Prophet, Jews as a Rabbi to be hnored, Budhists as a wise teacher yet only Christians have hardships in understanding Jesus, Yeshua Ben Yoesf.

  4. I don’t think it should be banned. Yes, it could be considered offensive to religion. It mixes fact with fiction, but this is the thing- it drives people to distinguish between the two, to look, to know. The novel did so to me and to many others.

    I don’t think keeping people unaware is for their own “safety” but rather a measure used to protect authority. Keeping people ignorant of different ways of doing and seeing things makes it easier to control them, because exposure to different angles and sides of the story- and to different stories- leads to doubt. But doubt is a natural right that no one should be denied. It’s then up to the person what to do with it and where to take it- to flow with the crowd or go further and try to reach a personal conclusion.

  5. I have a very simplistic and maybe superficial opinion about this issue. I think the novel and the movie degrade the image of a religious figure worshiped and loved by millions of people. It is just like Satanic Verses and the Danish cartoons and I feel no harm of it being banned to respect relligious feelings. In the end we haven’t lost a masterpiece in culture, as many people have not been impressed with the quality of the novel. By the way, I have seen the movel translated in Arabic sold in all libraries downtown Amman today!

  6. whats the point of banning it in the Jordanian cinima when you can get it for 2JDs at a DVD store? are they going to try and get hold of all the illegal copies too?

  7. eli-

    Brown’s version: Jesus must have wed because Jewish decorum would “virtually forbid” an unmarried man. His spouse was Mary Magdalene and their daughter inaugurated a royal bloodline in France.

    Critics: First-century Jewish historian Josephus said most Jews married but Essene holy men did not. The Magdalene myth only emerged in medieval times.

    Brown cites the Nag Hammadi “Gospel of Philip” as evidence of a marriage, but words are missing from a critical passage in the tattered manuscript: “Mary Magdalene (missing) her more than (missing) the disciples (missing) kiss her (missing) on her (missing).”

    Did Jesus kiss Mary on the lips, or cheek or forehead? Whatever, Gnostics would have seen the relationship as platonic and spiritual, scholars say.

    James M. Robinson of Claremont (California) Graduate School, a leading specialist, thinks the current popularity of Mary Magdalene “says more about the sex life (or lack of same) of those who participate in this fantasy than it does about Mary Magdalene or Jesus.”

    http://www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/Movies/05/01/decoding.davinci.ap/index.html

    don’t give me any of that “it’s a fact” B.S. furthermore even if he (pbuh) did marry, there is absolutely nothing in Islam about him being married or not married. He could very well have been married, but i doubt it. look above, Essene holy men did not marry (assuming he was an Essene).

  8. Silencer,
    Jesus’ having a daughter in France is not rational. It is more like a joke. It lacks basic knowledge of 1st century Judaism. Yes, Jesus may have been a follower of the Essense sect, but it is not widely supported. His views were closer to the Pharisaic interpretation of Tanakh (Torah). Yet his fundamentalism parallels that of the Essense. This is why he was perceived as a special religious figure at his time and made some believe that he was indeed the Moshiach Ben David (Messiah). He was not. However, I can be sure that he was married, but having a daughter in France or gave his blood line to Gentiles lacks the most fundamental sense. It is ignorance. Thank you for your thoughts. Your valued knowledge captures the issue.

  9. Muha: “I am not only mad about banning the movie but also how a minority can have such power to prevent these things.”

    Okay. First off fuck this minority crap. and second, would your reaction be the same if a movie came out that stated that the prophet drank wine and ate pig’s meat? would you be so approving of its release? I doubt it.

  10. I would be mad but I would let the people choose, It is not up to the leaders to take decision for the people, they say that Jordan is a democracy well show me that democracy. I would let the people see it and Jesus is one of our muslim prophets, when I read the book I knew that these allegations were wrong and also a little upset but I didn´t get mad. AND IT IS FICTION Dan Brown said it himself.

    If they ban the movie then the government SUCK.

  11. Muha: we’ve seen wt reaction u’ve done to the carricatures gainst ur prophet; u burnt churches, embassies, denounced their governments, and banned their products. i wonder wts the relation between cows’ nipples and those products!
    the newspaper is 100% independent from the government and the industry, so y u still refuse them? i dont know!!!

    anyways that was just 2show u that ppl simply react. i agree with u that that book should nver be banned, but plz be more realistic.
    and if u want another books that qualify as Davinci Code, read SATANIC VERSES or HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL.

  12. Black Sabbath: First of all Holy Blood Holy Grail was the inspiration to the Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown used facts from that book, that is why they sued him because he did it without asking the authors. And second, Please do not refer to me as YOU as in a mosliim group that supports violence because I am against all that violence just because of the picture of the Proph. Of course I got mad but I did not consider to burn down things. I support demonstrations as long as they are in control and not violent. And the newspaper printed that pic just to make fun of us mosleems, but it is CHRISTTIANSS that have made the movie and not mosleems. And I don´t want them banning the movie because I want the world to see that Jordan is not a censured country it is a free country where everyone is free to watch whatever he wants. So let the people watch the movie first and then let them decide what to think.

    And if a movie that shows the Proph in a bad way would be released then I cannot say that I support the banning of the movie cuz there is still a Christiaan minority in Jordan that don´t mind watching the movie, I would release the movie and then take action.

    So please don´t refer to me as a part of a violent mosleem group, I AM AN INDIVIDUAL THAT DOESN`T SUPPORT THE VIOLENCE MADE BY OTHER MOSLEEM PEOPLE, AND AS AN INDIVIDUAL ANYONE IS MORE THAN WELCOME TO JOIN ME.

  13. well, I read all the comments written about the movie on this website. but i just wanna say that according to the Holy Book, Jesus wasn’t married. now if anyone of you want to say a fact about Jesus, I hope that he/she uses the ultimate source of truth about Jesus which is the Holy Book. And do not just fictionate things using such sources as the “Abu Kreefa Books” and “The holy bible of masons” and other fictionate books, which do not relate to the reality of Jesus but attacks him and his messeage of love. I hope you would also consider respect as most of you seek.

Your Two Piasters: