The author Ṭāriq al-Shinnāwī, an Egyptian critic, discusses the issue of presenting religion in artistic works, believing that the Egyptian society is becoming more sensitive regarding showing Muslim-Christian relations in media.
al-Shinnāwī refers to a documentary film presented two years ago in Egypt that was entitled, ‘A Place called Homeland.’ The documentary tackled the thorny issue of a Muslim man falling in love with a Christian girl. The story ends with the victory of religious affiliation over emotion as the Christian girl refused to continue the relationship as a result of her family’s anger.
He believes that the documentary did not receive noticeable repercussions as it was not presented in theaters and most people did not hear about it.
The author believes that although such stories of love relationships between Muslims and Christians do exist in Egyptian society, the society in general does not accept showing them in artistic works; media has also thus far been unsuccessful in presenting them in an acceptable fashion for people. He refers to the angry reactions of Copts after the showing of the series of ‘Awān al-Ward’ [Time of Roses] as it showed similar Muslim-Christian love story.
Moreover, al-Shinnāwī points to the rejection of the Coptic society to the movie ‘Bahib al-Sīmā’ [I love the Cinema] because its story focused on social problems of a Christian family in which the wife was Protestant and the husband was Orthodox.
Finally, Ṭāriq al-Shinnāwī believes that media could be the solution for social problems and not a source of problems if such sensitive issues were presented in a balanced way and people started to accept religion being presented in media.