Washington, November 26 : Filmmaker Oscar Zoghbi's plans to make a film depicting the life of Prophet Muhammad has been met with a barrage of criticism.
While Zoghbi that his film 'The Messenger of Peace' will clear up "the understanding that all Muslims are terrorists," some critics predict that it will not tell the whole story about Muhammad or Islam.
"The movie will probably avoid or justify Muhammad's violent and unprovoked battling years in Medina, where assassination and mass murder were done by Muhammad ... in order to spread the religion, take control and silence his critics," Fox News quoted Nonie Darwish, the author of the upcoming book 'Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law', as saying.
"We will probably see the image of Muhammad that most Muslims were spoon-fed in their religious education," Darwish added.
Robert Spencer, director of JihadWatch.com, said that the film would disappoint people who want to learn more about Islam, which is tangled in stereotypes of suicide bombers.
"They're already taking a stand on a controversial issue with the title alone, denying and downplaying the manifest fact that numerous Muslims around the world have justified acts of violence by invoking Muhammad's words and example," Spencer said.
Zoghbi, however, insists that his movie will very deliberately take a moderate approach.
"We are trying to depict the values and teachings of the Prophet. It's not a historical film in any way. And it's not a Muslim propaganda film. This film is also for Muslims, and I hope it will encourage them to condemn violence," he said.
Zoghbi hopes to avoid the violence and outrage in the Muslim world that has followed some recent depictions of the prophet in newspaper cartoons, books and films.
He also vowed that he would make every effort to ensure that his film was in line with Islamic traditions.
"Islam itself doesn't stop you from showing the Prophet. But it is convention and tradition, and we will abide by that. We do not want to offend anyone," Zoghbi said.
He hopes to shoot some scenes for his movie in the holy cities of Medina and Mecca. The Dubai-based Dar Al Sharia Legal and Financial Consultancy, a branch of the Dubai Islamic Bank, has been hired to make sure the film is in keeping with Islamic standards.
Individual investors located throughout the Middle East - especially in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt - are funding the film, which has a 130million-dollar budget.
Zoghbi said that the list of investors would be released soon, if those involved did not object.