Christian group angers anti-racist campaigners by insisting for a white Jesus

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London, Jan. 27 (ANI): A Christian group has infuriated many anti-racism campaigners after putting an advertisement for a "male white actor" to perform the role of Jesus Christ in a play.

The advertisement has come despite the fact that most major theatres have a policy of colour-blind casting - with the National even having a group of white colonialists played by black actors in Death and the King's Horseman last year.

The Wintershall Charitable Company, which is staging the Passion of Jesus in Trafalgar Square in London on Good Friday, makes the stipulation in an advertisement in The Stage, adding, "long-term engagement in other Christian plays is possible".

Playwright Bonnie Greer said barring non-white actors betrays not merely a depressingly insular view of the world, but also an ignorance of history.

"I thought we had got over the idea that Jesus always had to be a tall, white man with blue eyes and long, blond hair. Jesus was almost certainly a Palestinian by descent and precisely the kind of man that a lot of people would have a problem admitting into the country these days," The Telegraph quoted her, as saying.

"This is symptomatic of what I see as a general return to conservatism in this country. I am surprised the law allows this," he added.

Peter Hutley, the producer, asserts: "Jesus was white. If I was advertising for an actor in Sanders of the River I would specify a black man. We want a cast that is appropriate to Trafalgar Square in 2010. When we perform it in a black prison in Alabama or in Uganda we will have casts appropriate to the area."

Meanwhile, the Equality and Human Rights Commission said: "What they are doing is not, strictly speaking, against the law, but around the world, the part of Jesus has been played by people of all nationalities." (ANI)

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