Iraqi cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr asks MBC Group to withdraw series on Umayyad caliph
The series is written by Egyptian journalist Khaled Salah and directed by Palestinian-American Tarek Al-Arian.
Moqtada Al-Sadr, an Iraqi cleric, has urged MBC Group to cancel plans to broadcast a TV series about Umayyad caliph Muawiyah bin Abi Sufyan, which is scheduled to run during Ramadan.
Muawiyah, which explores the life of the 7th-century ruler, Umayyad caliph Muawiyah bin Abi Sufyan.
Al-Sadr tweeted: “Broadcasting such series contradicts the new, moderate policies pursued by the brotherly country Saudi Arabia.” “There is no need to hurt the feelings of your Muslim brothers in the east and west of the earth.”
Muawiyah bin Abi Sufyan is played by Syrian actor Loujain Ismail, after Palestinian artist Ali Suleiman withdrew from the role.
Other actors in the production include Asma Jalal, Aisha bin Ahmed, Jamila Chihi and Iyad Nassar, who has been cast as Imam Ali bin Abi Talib.
According to the media reports, the series has reportedly cost about $75m to produce, making it one of the most expensive series in the history of Arab drama.
The show marks the directorial TV debut of Palestinian-Egyptian director Tariq Al Arian and is scripted by journalist Khaled Salah.
Production began in July in the Tunisian city of Hammamet with other scenes filmed in Kairouan, also in Tunisia.
The Umayyad Caliphate ruled a large part of what is now the Middle East from 660 to 750 and was ruled under the first caliph Muawiyah. His son Yazid bin Muawiyah ruled as the second Umayyad caliph — the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson, Imam Hussein, protested against his caliphate.