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Why Cineworld Cancelled The Lady of Heaven Film

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Bexleyheath Cineworld scaled

The Lady of Heaven, a film about the daughter of Prophet Muhammad sparked outrage among Muslims in the UK before its screening. There were protests outside the cinemas in Bradford, Sheffield, and Bolton, which resulted in Cineworld canceling the screening of the film all over the UK.

The Lady of Heaven is a film produced by Malik Shlibak and written by Shia cleric, Yasser Al-Habib who is a controversial figure among Shias around the world. The film focuses on two storylines, one from the perspective of the birth of Islam in the 7th century and another storyline in the present, of an orphan whose mother was killed by the terrorist group ISIS. He is then adopted by an old woman who tells him the stories of Fatima, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad.

Along with protests outside the cinemas where the film is playing, there has also been a petition which was signed by 120,000 people. The film was originally released in 2021 elsewhere, but in the UK it was shown only recently on 3rd June.

Muslim countries have condemned the movie and in Iran, the film has been banned for being divisive in the Muslim world.

As a result, a spokesperson for Cineworld stated; “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.”

Why is the film getting so much hate?

What has caused such an outrage in the Muslim community?

The depiction of the Prophet Muhammad is not allowed in the religion but they show his face in the film.

“In accordance with Islamic tradition, during the making of this film no individual represented a holy personality. The performances of the holy personalities were achieved through a unique synthesis of actors, in-camera effects, lighting, and visual effects,” said a statement on the film’s IMDb page.

However, it doesn’t erase the fact that the audience can still see the depiction of his face which is the main issue.

Sunnis also object to the film for its link to Daesh and its false portrayal of certain companions of the prophet. They are shown as the “evil” guys, which is not only factually incorrect but also deeply offensive.

Similarly, Shias disagree for similar reasons because of the inflammatory or unrepresentative depiction of Shia identity and theology.

The film is also being labeled as racist for having all black actors playing “villains” even though historically they would have been Arabs.

When the film was released it did not gather much attention or generate much box office. However, all the protests have given it attention which in turn has made people more curious to see it, especially non-Muslims.

British Health Secretary Sajid Javid criticized the decision made to pull the film because “what we have in this country is freedom of speech and expression and that is a fundamental value.”

But on the issue of free speech, other say: “If we wish to live in a peaceful and harmonious society, we must ensure that our actions and words are conducive to mutual respect and tolerance. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we must.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

Media

Is Andrew Tate misunderstood? 

Talk TV’s Piers Morgan recently interviewed Andrew Tate but was he able to defend his views?

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Andrew Tate

Over the summer, Andrew Tate’s online presence and subsequent removal became the internet’s topic of discussion because of the controversial things he had said about women, rape, masculinity and achieving success, to name a few. 

Since being banned from platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook, there has been an outcry from Tate and his supporters, arguing against  ‘cancel culture’, on the basis that many of his viral clips were in fact taken out of context to misrepresent his messages. 

Tate recently sat down for an interview with Piers Morgan to discuss internet climate, virality, and how ‘soundbites’ of his videos and podcasts have been circulated and used without context to present him and his views as far more extreme than they perhaps are. 

Introducing him as the “most famous man you’ve probably never heard of”, Morgan highlights that Tate’s audience is primarily young men, and given that the internet is so accessible, the risk of misinformation is incredibly high, especially to younger and vulnerable audiences who digest information without much thought to its validity or legitimacy. Thus, the two debate and eventually agree on the fact that it is perhaps Tate’s poor choice, or as Morgan argues, misunderstanding of words, that conveys far harsher messages than Tate perhaps means. Tate also admits if he had the opportunity to say things again, with the knowledge of the fame he would experience, he’d ‘say them differently perhaps.’   

For example, Tate elaborates that his clip saying that women are handed by father to husband as “property” during a marriage ceremony, should actually be understood as simply relaying traditional male roles from Christianity or Islam, which is nothing new. Additionally, addressing his understanding of “authority” Tate posits that in a marriage contract, a man is expected to protect his wife, giving him the “authority” to do have a say in her choices. Morgan argued that this suggests that a woman would therefore have no autonomy, to which Tate disagrees, saying that this does not mean a woman is not able to still make her own choices.

Morgan then questions Tate’s views that clinical depression is not a real mental illness, with Tate confirming he still believes that with a positive mindset, going to the gym and getting a ‘six-pack’, any feelings of lowness can be combatted. Tate then points out the injustice of his views being criticised when there is worse, suggestive and more dangerous content on the internet, citing the negative influence of Lil Nas X’s music video ‘Call me by Your Name’ in which he sexually dances on a Satan figure, or rap music that promotes knife crime.

The crux of this interview is about taking accountability. And, Tate’s opinions on women, mental health and success do not change. He understands that it is very easy for his words to be misconstrued and interpreted incorrectly by audiences who don’t always get the full context, but only to an extent. It still stands that Tate’s view on many topics is misguided and dangerous. Because even if his opinions are elaborated on, the small clips of his volatile speeches and opinions still reach vulnerable minds, and therefore, the satisfaction in simply acknowledging that fact, is not enough. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Geopolitics

7 Key points from Putin’s annexation speech

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Vladimir Putin 2022 Annexation Speech

At a ceremony in the Grand Kremlin Palace’s St George Hall, Russian President Vladimir Putin, signed the treaties to annex the Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions, claiming that millions of people have, “made their unequivocal choice” to join Russia and “have become our citizens, forever.”

His subsequent speech revealed deep distrust of the west, its culture and hegemony. Invading Ukraine wasn’t about territory alone, it was about a clash of cultures and civilisations, and standing up to a West which was bent upon “enslaving” the world. Here are 7 key points from the speech which will give you an insight into the mind of the Russian premier. 

1. Regret over the collapse of the Soviet Union

When the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991, those in power didn’t ask, “ordinary citizens what they wanted, and people suddenly found themselves cut off from their homeland”, Putin complained. “This tore apart and dismembered our national community and triggered a national catastrophe.”

He said that decision, “destroyed our great country” and while recreating it isn’t his ambition he claims, there is a determination by millions linked by “culture, religion, tradition, and language”, who consider themselves part of Russia and want to “return to their true historical homeland.” 

Russian is widely spoken in Eastern parts of Ukraine including the newly annexed areas and is the most common language. People there tend to view Russia and its past in a more positive light. But in 2018 the Ukrainian government made it compulsory to use Ukrainian in all media, schools and public spaces, whilst previously –  since 2012 Russianwas permitted to be a regional language in regions where at least 10% of the population spoke it. However, while Putin claimed the majority of people in Eastern Ukraine voted to join Russia, in the referendum which the West described as a “sham”, polls from previous years show that a very low number of people wanted to join Russia. International observers were present at the referendum but there are concerns that they were biased towards Russia. As with anything during such conflicts, nothing is clear. 

2. Anger over Western policies 

President Putin blamed the West for their continuing hostility towards Russia. He said, “the West continued and continues looking for another chance to strike a blow at us, to weaken and break up Russia, which they have always dreamed about, to divide our state and set our peoples against each other, and to condemn them to poverty and extinction. They cannot rest easy knowing that there is such a great country with this huge territory in the world, with its natural wealth, resources and people who cannot and will not do someone else’s bidding.”

President Putin emphasised that the West wants to control every other country. He said, “in certain countries, the ruling elites voluntarily agree to do this, voluntarily agree to become vassals; others are bribed or intimidated. And if this does not work, they destroy entire states, leaving behind humanitarian disasters, devastation, ruins, millions of wrecked and mangled human lives, terrorist enclaves, social disaster zones, protectorates, colonies and semi-colonies. They don’t care. All they care about is their own benefit.” 

3. Russian nationalism

President Putin considers the four regions annexed as part of Russia, taken by force, by Ukraine in 2014. People of these regions were Russian and have decided to remain with Russia and their choice must be respected. 

President Putin made it clear that this is not just a plea to uphold justice and respect the choice of people of the regions, rather, “we will defend our land with all the forces and resources we have, and we will do everything we can to ensure the safety of our people. This is the great liberating mission of our nation.” Not only defence, Russia will rebuild infrastructure of new regions.

A question that must be in every Russian mind is that there has been a significant loss of lives of Russian soldiers, was it worth it? President Putin acknowledged the sacrifice of soldiers and paid respect with a minute of silence. He, also explained the reason for who he considers the enemy of Russia.

4. Western hegemony seen as a threat 

President Putin presented the West as the real enemy of Russia. Expansion of NATO is seen as a threat which the West has been deceitfully dealing with Russia and the world.

“The West is ready to cross every line to preserve the neo-colonial system which allows it to live off the world, to plunder it thanks to the domination of the dollar and technology, to collect an actual tribute from humanity, to extract its primary source of unearned prosperity, the rent paid to the hegemon.” 

President Putin said that the domination of the United States is unjustly enforced on the world for currency or technology. Like if any country wants to trade in currency other than US dollars or develop a technology like China developed 5G communication equipment before the US, then unjust sanctions on trade or technology are placed.

There is no free competition of trade and technology in the world, according to President Putin, he said that the West shows aggression towards independent states. “It is critically important for them to force all countries to surrender their sovereignty to the United States.”

5. Crimes of the West

President Putin mentioned the crimes of the West and said that the Western elites are blaming Russia whereas the West is responsible for many crimes like, “the worldwide slave trade, the genocide of Indian tribes in America, the plunder of India and Africa, the wars of England and France against China, as a result of which it was forced to open its ports to the opium trade. What they did was get entire nations hooked on drugs and purposefully exterminated entire ethnic groups for the sake of grabbing land and resources, hunting people like animals”. He added “this is contrary to human nature, truth, freedom and justice”.

Crimes of the US include using nuclear weapons twice on Japanese cities. Being the only country that used nuclear weapons, they created a precedent. President Putin also mentioned the destruction during WWII as crimes of the West. 

6. “Satanism”, morality & traditional values 

President Putin called the attitude of the West towards the world against standard human morality and traditional values, rather it is “religion in reverse, pure Satanism”.

He quoted Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount: “By their fruits ye shall know them.” And said that the poisonous fruits of actions of the West can be observed in Russia and other countries including the countries in the West. 

Addressing all citizens of Russia, Putin asked, “do we want to have here, in our country, in Russia, “parent number one, parent number two and parent number three (they have completely lost it!) instead of mother and father? Do we want our schools to impose on our children, from their earliest days in school, perversions that lead to degradation and extinction? Do we want to drum into their heads the ideas that certain other genders exist along with women and men and to offer them gender reassignment surgery? Is that what we want for our country and our children? This is all unacceptable to us. We have a different future of our own.”

7. Fighting for Russian survival 

Putin quoted the words of Ivan Ilyin calling him a true patriot “If I consider Russia my Motherland, that means that I love as a Russian, contemplate and think, sing and speak as a Russian; that I believe in the spiritual strength of the Russian people. Its spirit is my spirit; its destiny is my destiny; its suffering is my grief; and its prosperity is my joy.”

Mentioning the thousand years of Russian statehood, he said “today, we are making this choice; the citizens of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and the residents of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions have made this choice. They made the choice to be with their people, to be with their Motherland, to share in its destiny, and to be victorious together with it. The truth is with us, and behind us is Russia!”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Entertainment

Book Review: Everyone’s invited: A guide to understand everything that’s wrong with the society

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Soma Sara Book review about rape culture

In a world filled with violence against women, Soma Sara’s book is a justification on why a movement against rape culture is absolutely necessary in this day and age. ‘Everyone’s Invited’ was first started as a movement by the author when she was 21 years old during the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic. The movement was kick-started by Sara when she posted a series of Instagram stories concerning sexual abuse which revealed a much bigger problem when she started receiving DMs that resonated with the sentiments of the posts. Sara received so many statements and testimonies through Instagram when she decided to start a website where everyone is invited to talk about their experiences concerning sexual assaults, abuse, harassment and even rape. As testimonies and support from survivors kept on pouring the movement took off in 2020 which helped in creating some real changes in the form of new policies and laws to keep teenagers and women safe in the society.

Everyone’s Invited as a movement strives to tackle those traditions, behaviours and beliefs that normalise rape culture by allowing misogyny, rape jokes, abuse grow in a space which is detrimental to the progress of women. Sara’s stories opened the Pandora’s Box on schools in UK where such behaviours and attitudes grow at an alarming rate. The momentum created by the movement helped policy makers engage with schools and Universities in creating new guidelines thereby asking all universities to review their sexual misconduct and harassment policies by summer 2021. It also prompted the launch of NSPCC helpline for survivors of abuse in education.

Sara’s book is different in a way in understanding rape culture because she has portrayed the different root causes that could be the reason why such a culture exists even now. Unchecked patriarchy and toxic masculinity are some of the key words the author mentions in her book. However, Soma goes a little bit further in identifying one of the root causes as pornography. In one of the chapters, Sara elaborates how pornography is ruining everyone’s sexual expectations due to performance exaggeration  and how it influences the minds of young boys and men to use violence on women if their needs are not according to what they have seen on the screen.

Another important reason that Sara highlights is institutional patriarchy which allows for inbred sexism among females from a young age. The author mentions that the fact where women are told to bear pain is one of the reasons why so many cases go unreported because pain sometimes gets associated with shame. Sara points out that if women are made aware of their rights or taught from a young age that there is no need to bear the brunt of the uncomfortable actions of men with a smile, a change is inevitable.

Sara also points out that men must be made aware of how disrupting their actions can be on a woman’s life. Again she says that this awareness must be instilled in young boys so that they can grow up to become responsible adults with empathy and kindness. 

The unique factor of the book is that it also covers the struggles faced by the author due to the movement which she founded. Sara was faced with allegations that the work she is doing in promoting awareness about rape culture will cause harm to the lives of boys because they cannot be ‘boys’ anymore.  The book not only aims at creating awareness regarding rape culture but also provides the readers with solutions to combat the same. Sara’s statements in the book are backed with abundant research and resources that one could use to understand rape culture better. Therefore Sara’s book can be summed up as a starter guide to understand the Everyone’s Invited movement and the importance the testimonies submitted holds in understanding rape culture which is like a weed in this world, that is, if unchecked, has the potential to disrupt lives. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Crime

At least 30 people die in recent violent protests in Baghdad, Iraq

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iraq protesters muqtada al sadr

On August 29th, Iraq’s Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced his withdrawal from political activity via Twitter, criticising the failure of fellow Shiite leaders to reform a corrupt government. He also announced the closing of all his offices nationwide. Al-Sadr’s announcement was followed by violent protests in Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, which resulted in at least 30 deaths and 200 injuries.

The protests were started by Al-Sadr’s supporters, who stormed the Republican Palace in Baghdad’s Green Zone, a heavily fortified area that serves as the headquarters of Iraqi regimes. Both foreign embassies and the government are housed there.  But Al-Sadr’s supporters fired rocket propelled grenades and machine guns from there as well.

Due to the protests Iraq’s current Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Khadimi has now put off all government meetings until further notice. Al-Khadimi has also urged Al-Sadr to “help call on the demonstrators to withdraw from government institutions”.

According to some reports Al-Sadr’s supporters had been occupying parliament buildings for a while now. They then charged at the headquarters in the Green Zone. Pictures showed exultant Al-Sadr supporters cheering in the Republican Palace swimming pool,, waving around the Iraqi flag and a photo of Al-Sadr. 

In response to the protests the Iraqi military said they are practising “the highest levels of self-restraint and brotherly behaviour to prevent clashes or the spilling of Iraqi blood.” However, according to reports hundreds of protesters were pushed out of the Republican Palace by tear gas and bullets used by Security forces.

The military also introduced a strict curfew, restricting the movement of vehicles and pedestrians as well, which was in place until further instructions by the government. In Baghdad the curfew was introduced from 3.30pm local time. Later, a nationwide curfew was introduced as well with the aim to urge protestors to leave the Green Zone.

As a response to the violent outbreaks, UN chief Antonio Guterres asked all parties to “take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation.” Stephane Dujarric, his secretary-general, also added in a statement that he “appeals for calm and restraint and urges all relevant actors to take immediate steps to avoid any violence.”

A day later, on Tuesday August 30th, Al-Sadr released a statement via television, apologising for the violence and saying, “the spilling of Iraqi blood is forbidden.” In his statement he also threatened his supporters that “if in the next 60 minutes they do not withdraw, as well as from parliament, then I will abandon these supporters.”

The nationwide curfew was lifted after the new statement.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Media

Mo Farah’s experiences show the impact of compassion toward the “others”

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Mo Farahs Documentary

While the world spins in a gyre of unrest, a BBC documentary on the life of British Athlete Mo Farah has brought another darker aspect to light. In a 60-minute documentary, Mo Farah, whose name at birth was Hussein Abdi Kahin, revealed he was trafficked into the UK from the former French colony of Djibouti. 

Sharing experiences of his bleak past and his feelings of devastation and alienation in a world that was new to him Farah told the BBC how the conflict in his birthplace of Somaliland forced his mother to send him to his relatives in Djibouti from where his miseries began. While the documentary shows the struggles he went through to make his way in a country far away from home, it also serves as a reminder of being considerate and compassionate toward immigrants and the “others” of a society. 

According to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), young kids in countries of conflict, economic decline, and marginalized communities are at higher risk of getting “tricked, forced or persuaded to leave their homes”. They are then forcefully used as work slaves or treated as commodities for sale. 

The International Organization for Migration has also noted that trends in human trafficking are gendered as well. Both men and women are chosen and trafficked to perform certain jobs. It further explains how immigrants can also fall prey to human traffickers as their social vulnerabilities, unfortunately, makes them an easier target. 

As per the most recent figures[1]  available, about forty-nine thousand people were trafficked[2] . These figures, up till 2018, do not include the cases that went undetected because of the lack of resources for identification and screening at borders. 65% of these people comprised women and girls, while 20% of men and 15% of young boys were trafficked from various regions around the world. Since then, however, the state of the world has drastically changed. Covid-19 has put various communities on the verge of financial decline. This, in turn, has increased the risk of people in those communities and countries, trying to find stability and financial security, and falling prey to human traffickers. 

Similarly, after the US pulled its forces out of Afghanistan deserting an already socially, politically, and economically turbulent country. It created a huge influx of migrants towards western nations as well as its neighboring countries, thus escalating opportunities for the unscrupulous to exploit those desperate enough into forced labor.

The ongoing Russia-Ukraine is another example of a conflict that has also forced people from both countries to evacuate to a safe place. In these types of situations, vulnerable, people and especially children become an easy target.

While the victims are forcefully exploited for work, they continue to live in visually civilized societies. The biasedattitude of people towards the “others” of society renders them unnoticed. These biases are fed to people through electronic and print media. While stereotyped accents and professions make it difficult for immigrants, refugees, and the apparent “aliens” of society to find their place, it also increases the chances of victims of child and human trafficking to continue being under the shadow of their oppressor. 

The trauma of fleeing an area of conflict, or forcefully being removed from one’s home makes it difficult for victims of human trafficking and refugees to play an active role in society. But as proven by Mo Farah, when proper attention and care is given to even those who seem “misfits,” they can become an asset and inspiration to a whole nation.

A boy separated from his mother at a young age, was able to return to her years later as Knight of the Realm and honored by Her Majesty the Queen, and all because of the decency, care, and humanity shown to him by his early education teachers.


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Maybe add the year/s being referred to

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Crime

UN debate human rights in Afghanistan, concern for women especially

Human rights in Afghanistan and more specifically those of women are being discussed at the UN after Taliban takeover of the country.

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human rights in Afghanistan

Since the recapture and overthrow of the Afghan government on August 15th 2021, the Taliban have slowly reverted to strict rulings for women in Afghanistan, raising issues of human rights in Afghanistan. Despite the several reassurances and claims that women’s rights would be protected under the new Taliban regime, the UN (Human Rights Council) believe it is now time to find solutions after many violations on women’s human rights have occurred. 

Various points were discussed during the debate but the general consensus amongst all the countries who participated, was that women in Afghanistan are facing human rights violations on a systemic level. The Taliban have triggered the removal of women from many occupations as well as dismantling previous structures to help girls receive adequate education. 

Many speakers expressed their concerns that the Taliban are slowly removing women from all public spheres of life, which would set up entirely male-dominated social hierarchies. These hierarchies are created from young ages, as girls are not allowed to participate in further education . If this is able to continue for the foreseeable future, although it may look grim for Afghanistan now, it may get worse. The lack of education for all girls may prove to be a bad decision for nature of the Taliban’s rule within the next decade. It was also mentioned that without the equality and participation of women in Afghanistan, the social and economic development of the country can only go so far. 

The UN were also able to debate what they may be able to provide Afghanistan after the removal of US troops from the nation. One solution suggested was more general rather than specific for women but emphasised the importance of continuing humanitarian aid as the country is also facing a poverty crisis. Some in the council blamed this poverty on the previous US occupations in Afghanistan, whilst also requesting that the US restore the damages and assets to the country. 

It was discussed that if these resources are provided by the UN in order to aid the Afghan people, it would still not be sufficient enough to allow the country to prosper because the involvement of women is fundamental both socially and economically. 

Although it may seem like little, council members believed that this debate was a spark in the quest of restoring the human rights of women in Afghanistan. Fawzia Koofi (First Woman Vice President of the Afghan Parliament) stated that the situation for women had previously become “unique and dire” and there are fears amongst society that this may occur again and without debates like this, then our fears may become true. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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