Turkish group launches Prophet Muhammad film contest
An Istanbul-based foundation has launched an international short film competition on the Prophet Muhammad -- a sensitive issue given the Islamic belief that any visual depiction of the Prophet is offensive.

The competition organizers’ say this year will be the first time the contest will run internationally.

"The films will be evaluated very carefully to ensure that they comply with the criteria of Islamic ethics," said Muhammed Emin Yildirim, an executive of the Al-Sira Foundation (Siyer Vakfi in Turkish).

He pointed out that they aim to show "how pure and clear the messages of our Prophet [are], despite some groups today which are slandering Islam".

The ‘Mercy to Universe International Short Film Competition’ was launched Monday at a news conference in Istanbul.

The competition says it wants to give accurate information on the personality and life of the Prophet Muhammad as well as his religious mission and teachings.

This is the third such competition organized by the Al-Sira Foundation, which carries out educational works on the life of the Prophet Muhammad.

In 2014, 50 filmmakers participated in the competition. In 2015, this number more than doubled, reaching 103 entrants. In total, 50,000 Turkish liras ($17,000) has been shared among the winners across the two years.

However, this year the event has an international aspect, appealing for 500 participants from 50 countries with a total of 65,000 Turkish liras to be awarded to successful films.

There are concerns that filmmakers may depict the Prophet -- an issue that has so far sparked global protests after magazines published cartoons of him.

A jury of eight members will have three basic criteria when evaluating the films: Islamic ethics, esthetics and content.

"All films sent from any part of the world will be accepted," Yildirim said, "but with special caution over those which have denominational imposition instead of Islamic values."

Pointing to this year's theme of ‘Perfect Faith, Perfect Human,’ he added: "It is the faith that makes people perfect human beings."

He stressed that the international message of Islam "can be very well practiced in today's world, in the 21st century".

President of the foundation, Mehmet Kaya, said with the competition, "the exemplary life of our Prophet will be told through cinema, which is a significant mass media".

"There should be more Muslim screenwriters and directors," he added.

Productions will be accepted until Oct. 28 and a scheduled award ceremony will be held on Dec. 18.

Further information can be found at http://alemlererahmetfilm.com or on social media with ‘mercytouniverse’.

Last Modified: 2016-03-09 15:22:55
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