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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

VOX drops controversial UAE-funded ‘The Misfits’ movie from Qatar cinemas


VOX Cinemas has confirmed to Doha News that the film, which was meant to be in cinemas on July 1, will not be shown in Qatar. 

Since Doha News has reported on a controversial ‘anti-Qatar’ film that was scheduled to be shown at cinema in Qatar, VOX Cinemas has confirmed in a statement that the film will no longer be screening in the Gulf country.

Hollywood movie ‘The Misfits’ had come under scrutiny for appearing to frame Qatar as a terrorist state, taking aim at its leadership, people as well as one of the world’s most renowned and respected Muslim scholars who resides in the Gulf nation.

In the movie, filmed and financed by Emirati owned film production company ‘FilmGate Production’, Qatar is referred to as “Jazeeristan,” a nation whose citizens support terrorist organisations and whose leadership finances global terrorism – an accusation used by the former blockading quartet in 2017 to impose sanctions on Doha.

The film deliberately portrays Qatar-based Egyptian Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi as “the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and the sponsor of global terrorism.” In one scene, a red Lekhwiya car is seen – in clear reference to Qatar’s Lekhwiya Internal Security Force.

Read also: OPINION: The Gulf crisis has not been solved but managed

However, despite widespread outrage by prominent figures and community members in Qatar, the movie had been listed to be screened at Vox cinemas from July 1st. Notably, Vox is owned by Majid Al Futtaim holdings, a UAE company based in Dubai.

Doha News has since learnt that the movie will no longer be screening in Qatar, and has been taken off the ‘Coming Soon’ list of movies to be shown in the country.

“The move will not be shown in Qatar,” VOX Cinemas confirmed to Doha News.

As per Qatari regulations, all movies screened in Qatar must be pre-approved by the Ministry of Culture. Doha News has reached out to authorities for a comment but has yet to receive a response.

Qatar,UAE ties

In 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed all ties with Doha and imposed an illegal, air, land and sea blockade. However, the signing of the Al-Ula Declaration on January 5th this year paved the way for the restoration of ties between the quartet and Qatar.

Shortly after the signing of the accord, the UAE reopened its airspace for Qatar’s airlines and reportedly resumed trade activities. Meetings between officials have also been reported with positive feedback.

Despite the progress made in diplomatic relations, the emergence of the film has added to a long list of media hostilities targeting Qatar, generating questions on the status of reconciliation between Abu Dhabi and Doha.

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