Fresh protests erupt in London over controversial film The Lady of Heaven

9 June 2022, 08:39

A group of protesters targeted a Vue cinema in east London
A group of protesters targeted a Vue cinema in east London. Picture: Alamy/Twitter

By Asher McShane

More protests have erupted from Muslims who are angry over screenings of a controversial film about the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad.

The latest demonstrations against The Lady of Heaven erupted outside a Vue cinema in east London. Vue is continuing to show the film saying it 'takes seriously the responsibilities that come with providing a platform for a wide variety of content' and believes in showcasing films of interest to diverse communities'. 

Cinema chains Cineworld and Showcase have axed screenings of the film. Cineworld said it took the decision “to ensure the safety of our staff and customers” after protests erupted at venues in Bolton, Bradford, Birmingham and Sheffield.

Fresh footage has now emerged of a group of protesters in the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London, where a group chanted ‘take it down’ and demanded to speak with the manager.

Yesterday on LBC James O’Brien took on a caller who claimed nobody should be able to see the film because it is “filled with historical lies” arguing “Nobody wants to ban Braveheart mate, but it's about as historically accurate as the film you're describing!”

Read more: Film about Prophet Muhammad’s daughter pulled from screens after protests

“If you really believe in an all powerful, divine being, I'm fairly confident that he or she is going to be supremely relaxed about a film,” James said.

He argued that outrage by religious leaders over The Lady of Heaven film shows 'how fragile their belief structures are'.

Cineworld said in a statement earlier this week: “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.”

More than 117,000 people have signed a petition to try to get the film removed from all UK cinemas.

Cinema chain Vue said in a statement: ““Vue takes seriously the responsibilities that come with providing a platform for a wide variety of content and believes in showcasing films of interest to diverse communities across the UK.

“Vue will only show a film once the BBFC (the independent British Board of Film Classification) has assessed and rated a film. The Lady of Heaven has been BBFC accredited and is on show in a number of our cinemas.

“Decisions about how long a film remains on show are taken on a site-by-site basis and based on a variety of commercial and operational factors.”

Claire Fox, who sits in the House of Lords as Baroness Fox of Buckley, tweeted that the decision to cancel the screening showed the “creep of extra-parliamentary blasphemy law” was now censoring film.