Breaking a strict Islamic taboo two ex-Muslim filmmakers are working on high-budget feature length biopics depicting the Prophet Mohammed.
The low budget film "Innocence of Muslims" has provoked violent outrage in the Islamic world by breaking the taboo of depicting the Prophet Mohammed. Now two further films are in the planning stage, according to Movieline, and promise cinematic quality.
Palestinian Mosab Hassan Yousef, now living in Los Angeles, is planning a film called "Muhammed." The LA Times reported that the film, which has a proposed budget of $30 million, will take a critical look at the life of the prophet. Yousef said he has "already cast a prominent Hollywood actor" in the title role.
Iranian Ali Sina, now living in Canada, also has plans to produce a film about Mohammed. He said he has raised $2 million of the $10 million he needs to begin filming.
Both filmmakers hope their films will appeal to Muslims. Yousef said: "My goal is to create this big mirror to show the Muslim world the true image of its leader."
Yousef and Sina can expect the wrath of the Islamic world to descend on them, and any actors they use to portray the prophet. However, there is a viewpoint that encourages the depiction of the Prophet Mohammed, arguing that the more the Muslim world is exposed to caricatures of the prophet, the more accepting of the visual image they will become.
Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum has advocated the idea of the Western press carrying a daily cartoon of Mohammed, suggesting a daily dose of Mohammed would "lead to routinization, to a wearing out of Islamists, and a realization that violence is counter-productive to their cause."
In a similar vein Front Page Mag has suggested a "Make Your Own Mohammed Movie Month" as an expression of freedom and defiance.
Yousef and Sina are both determined to keep their own film productions under wrap, but remain determined to go ahead with their projects, undeterred by the controversy caused by "Innocence of Muslims."