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UAE: Sex and the City Movie Banned, Called “Anti-Muslim”

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) National Media Council has decided that the new movie “Sex and the City 2” will be banned from being shown in UAE cinemas.  The movie is scheduled to be released on May 27, 2010.

A senior spokesman for the UAE National Media Council told Time Out Dubai that: “Sex and the City 2 will be banned from being shown in cinemas across the UAE when it is released for various reasons. Among them are that the film’s website stated that filming was done in Abu Dhabi even though they were denied permission to do so and that they continue to attribute the locations shot in Morocco as being in Abu Dhabi, which is false, as the theme of the film does not fit with our cultural values. Also, they persisted in using Abu Dhabi’s name in the movie despite the fact that no official permission was given to them to do so.”

Promotional Still for "Sex and the City 2" (Photo: Warner Bros)

Promotional Still for "Sex and the City 2" (Photo: Warner Bros)

The UAE National Media Council is responsible for judging movies to be shown in the UAE, as well as censoring films.  The UAE National Media Council censorship board has approved showing of films such as “The Da Vinci Code,” however.

While the story in the movie “Sex and the City 2” purportedly takes place in the UAE, it was not filmed in the UAE, as the UAE government also forbid filmmakers from shooting the movie in the UAE.  It was filmed in Morocco instead.  However, despite refusing to allow the film to be made in the UAE, and banning showing of the movie in the UAE, analysts believe that the UAE city of Abu Dhabai will get a tourism boost from the showing of the film.

The writer and director of the movie, Michael Patrick King, told that the reason for choosing UAE and its city Abu Dhabi for the movie setting was because “it’s the new Middle East and the future… I think there’s a very big story in the Middle East and it also is a very advanced, glamorous capital.”

While the movie was being banned in its “setting,” the UAE — in Hollywood, it was being described as an “anti-Muslim” movie, by the Hollywood Reporter. The Hollywood Reporter’s review of the movie stated that “[Carrie] and her friends run up against the puritanical and misogynistic culture of the Middle East… The rather scathing portrayal of Muslim society no doubt will stir controversy, especially in a frothy summer entertainment, but there’s something bracing about the film’s saucy political incorrectness. Or is it politically correct? SATC 2 is at once proudly feminist and blatantly anti-Muslim, which means that it might confound liberal viewers.”

Others reviewers have also been critical of the movie regarding women and Islam.  USA Today’s Claudia Ping states that “director Michael Patrick King is out of his league attempting to comment on the inequitable treatment of Muslim women,” Roger Ebert criticizes the movie for being “oblivious to Arab ideas about women’s modesty,”  and another reviewer states that “‘Sex and the Ctiy 2’ script insults Muslim culture.”

Entertainment Online (E Online)’s Leslie Gornstein’s comments on the movie indicate that she is shocked that the movie is intended to “take place in a Muslim country,” adding that “at least a few Muslims wondering what the filmmakers were thinking.”  E Online also quotes the Council of American Islam Relations (CAIR)’s Ibrahim Hooper as stating that “I thought the location was a bit odd for that kind of movie.”  (The CAIR organization has been listed as one of the unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial.)

The movie is being released as yet another high-profile UAE prosecution of a woman for alleged sexual “crimes” is in the news.  The latest in a long series of UAE oppressive criminal prosecutions is the arrest of an 18 year old girl, who stated that she was a gang rape victim. The Muslim girl “LH” was then charged with the crime of “consensual sex,” which carries a sentence of lashes and up to life imprisonment for a Muslim girl.   “LH” has since retracted her rape charges and the UAE government prosecution is considering whether to continue to prosecute her for the crime of “consensual sex,” or reduce the criminal charge to “deception” which carries a prison sentence of 6 months to two years.

In March 2010, the UAE government convicted an Australian woman who was a rape victim of “adultery,” and sentenced her to 12 months in prison.   In January 2010, the UAE government arrested and jailed a 23 year old British woman who was a victim of rape, and charged her with “illegal sex.”

In April 2010, a British woman, Charlotte Adams, was put in jail for one month for alleged giving someone a kiss on the cheek in public for the crime of “indecency.”



Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) stands for women’s rights without borders, and in unequivocal support of women’s universal human rights and dignity.  We challenge those who would oppress and attack women to realize that when half of the world is denied basic human rights, such an outrage is an attack on human rights for all people everywhere.

We urge all people to be responsible for equality and liberty.