Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

A Muslim perspective on Jesus. I attended the red-carpet event for Killing Jesus at Lincoln Center last night. The film, shot in Morocco and based on the bestselling book by Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, focuses on the political intrigue leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus. The film premieres on National Geographic Channel this Sunday (Palm Sunday) at 8:00 PM (ET). The cast includes Stephen Moyer as Pontius Pilate, Kelsey Grammer as King Herod, John Rhys-Davies as Annas, Rufus Sewell as the high priest Caiaphas and, quite interestingly, the Islamic actor Haaz Sleiman (Covert Affairs).

Muslims, of course, believe Jesus to be a great prophet but not to be the Son of God. I had the opportunity to talk briefly with Sleiman, who projects a very warm and kind demeanor, about the reaction he has received from both the Christian and Muslim communities.

He replied by saying that from both sides he has received “so much support, beautiful support.” He adds “You know, there are few here and there from both sides that were just either not happy about it or had their opinions and I love that — because that means we are doing the right thing. Whenever you create some sort of disturbance in the air, there’s an awakening that happens, an opportunity for a conversation, an opportunity to build bridges, specifically, an opportunity to connect different groups that typically wouldn’t connect with one another…For me, a wonderful example is when you see a rabbi sitting with a priest sitting with an Islamic (cleric) and they only have love. They’re  coming from a place of love of one another and respect even if they disagree about certain things that are fundamental in their beliefs.”

The UAE-born actor who grew up in Lebanon is busy this TV pilot season with a role in ABC’s Biblically-themed saga Of Kings and Profits that’s shooting in South Africa.

I’ll post my review of Killing Jesus on Friday.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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