The Lady of Heaven film in Birmingham: Why did Cineworld ban movie, who's Lady Fatima & why the controversy?

The film was due to be released in cinemas last week

Screenings of a new film that claims to depict the story of Lady Fatima, the daughter of the Muslim prophet Mohammed, have been cancelled at Cineworld cinemas in the UK.

The film, titled ‘The Lady of Heaven’ was met with protests from Muslims at cinemas around the country, including here in Birmingham.

Here’s why the film was protested by Muslims, and also why the screenings in one cinema chain around Birmingham have been cancelled.

What is the film about?

The Lady of Heaven is a film which, according to the people behind the film, depicts the daughter of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

A small plot summary of the film is given on the official ‘The Lady of Heaven’ website.

The plot reads: “The heart-wrenching journey of Lady Fatima, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad.

“Separated by 1400 years, an Iraqi child, in the midst of a war-torn country, learns the importance and power of patience.

“After losing his mother, the child finds himself in a new home, where a loving grandmother narrates the historical story of The Lady and how her suffering as the first victim of terrorism spun out of control into the 21st century.”

Have protests taken place in Birmingham?

A protest took place outside the Cineworld cinema on Broad Street in Birmingham on Tuesday, 7 June.

Protestors joined with signs, some suggesting that Cineworld would be ‘promoting hate’ if they showed the film.

Has the Muslim Council of Britain given a comment?

The Muslim Council of Britian (MCB) issued a response to the film earlier this week.

Within the comment, the council says they support the scholars and leaders who have condemned the film.

A spokesperson for the council said: “A new film entitled ‘The Lady of Heaven’ has been condemned as divisive and sectarian by scholars across the rich traditions of Islam.

“The MCB, which proudly represents affiliates from across the different schools of thought in our faith, supports those scholars and leaders who are advocating for greater unity and for the common good, as commanded by our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him).

“The MCB has always advocated for respectful dialogue of intra-faith relations.

“There are some – including many of this film’s supporters or those engaging in sectarianism in their response – whose primary goal is to fuel hatred.”

“We must not let them succeed.”

What has Cineworld said?

The cinema chain issued a statement following the protests, which also took place in London and parts of North West England, saying that upcoming screenings of the film are cancelled.

The reasoning behind the cancellations that were given by the chain is that it was to “ensure the safety of staff and customers.”

A spokesperson for Cineworld said: "Due to recent incidents related to screenings of The Lady of Heaven, we have made the decision to cancel upcoming screenings of the film nationwide to ensure the safety of our staff and customers."

Are other cinema chains showing the film?

Vue has said that some screenings are to go ahead in some cinemas in London, but no screenings are scheduled for the Vue cinema in Birmingham.