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Indian religious fraternity steps up opposition

Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Bangalore (UNI): Adding voice to the growing opposition to the controversial Hollywood film, The Da Vinci Code, Archbishop of Bangalore Bernad Moras today demanded that the Indian Film Board ban the screening of the film in the country. Terming the movie, starring Tom Hanks, as diabolic, the Archbishop, in a release here, said ''It is a vicious attack on the divinity of Jesus Christ and will build an erroneous impression against the Catholic Church and Christian faith. ''Anything that distorts the long-cherished truth and affects religious sentiments should be condemned outright,'' he added. Stating that the movie would affect the religious beliefs and sentiments of Christ's believers, he called upon Christians to boycott it.

In Kochi, Jacobite Syrian Christians opposed the proposed screening of the controversial film based on Dan Brown's novel Da Vinci Code, which they claimed would hurt the religious sentiments of Christians. Jacobite Church spokesman Fr. Varghese Kallappara, in a statement here today, also voiced concern over the film Tickle My Funny Bone and asked the authorities to ban both the films. ''These films will hurt the Christian feelings and rituals in particular and the humanity in general,'' he said, joining other factions of Christianity to condemn the movies based on pure fictions. The Hollywood movie, Da Vinci Code - based on the best seller novel which says Jesus had an offspring with Mary Magdelene - is scheduled for world release at Cannes film festival tomorrow. The other film has ticklish stories of a nun.

In Mumbai, members of Christian Secular Forum (CSF) commenced an indefinite fast at the Azad Maidan here today to protest against the release of the controversial film. They also demanded an immediate ban on two other films-Tickle My Funny Bones and Sacred Evil saying the films depicted Christians and their clergy in poor image. CSF general secretary Joseph Dias told UNI that the film Da Vinci Code hurt the sentiments of the Christians. ''We have sent an appeal to the President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Mr Sharad Pawar, urging for an immediate ban on the film,'' Mr Dias said.

The Raza Academy has extended support to the CSF and Mr Dias expressed his gratitude to the academy for the same. ''The Goverment must ban films that hurt religious sentiments of the people,'' he said. Raza Academy chairman Syed Noor told UNI that Jesus Christ is one of the prophets mentioned in the Holy Koran. It is a grave insult to the Muslims if films like Da Vinci Code are released, he said, adding that Muslim scholars would shortly meet State Home Minister R R Patil and express their concerns regarding the film.

Kerala Catholic Association (KLA) president Johnson Theratil, extending support to the CSF, said the films portrayed a wrong impression among children and young followers about the faith. Nicolas Almeida, an activist and former councillor, said all faithful followers would take to the streets if the Government failed to heed the peaceful protests.

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