New Netflix Show ‘Messiah’ Draws Backlash For “Anti-Islamic Propaganda”
Netflix continues on its never-ending quest to insult every person of faith, but this time it’s not the Christian community coming for the streaming service.
According to AFP, “Messiah,” out January 1, imagines how modern society would react if such a figure appeared, spreading his message rapidly via social media in a world grappling with “fake news” and breathless 24-hour bulletins.
Before the show has even aired, a petition was made on change.org calling for the streaming service to take the show down.
“Starring Mission: Impossible — Fallout‘s Michelle Monaghan as CIA agent Eve Geller, she’s assigned the case of a mysterious man called Al Massih ad-Dajjal, who is is played by London Has Fallen‘s Mehdi Dehbi,” the petition reads. “The big hook is that Dajjal claims he’s the son of God.”
“You may say it is a non-issue, it’s just a series,” the petition goes on to say. “But this slow exposure of evil and anti-Islamic propaganda will slowly turn hearts. Muslims are not just the only ones that believe in the Antichrist. This topic is rather sensitive and making a production like this will only have viewers forgetting the fact that this matter is not a joke.”
According to the show’s creator, the intent of the show was not to insult anyone (as opposed to the show depicting a gay version of Jesus, which solely exists to offend), but rather spark a conversation.
“Yes it’s provocative — the show is provocative,” creator Michael Petroni told AFP. “But provocative isn’t offensive.”
“It was such an audacious concept, you know?” he said. “You read the pilot, this guy is going to march 2,000 Palestinian Syrians across the border of Israel.”
That concept included building, at considerable expense, a scale replica of part of Temple Mount including the sacred Dome of the Rock, from where Muslims believe the prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven, AFP writes.
“It’s not like I’m welcoming backlash,” Petroni added. “We expect that there’s going to be a lot of noise around the show, and a lot of debate. I’m hoping for debate.”
Watch the trailer:
In the trailer, the main character – played by Belgian actor Mehdi Dehbi – is seen performing miracles and building a huge international following.
A CIA officer investigates the elusive figure, whom she suspects of being a major global con artist. During an interrogation, the man says he was sent “by his father” to help people.
Netflix tweeted the trailer with the question: “Who do you think he is?”
Dehbi’s character isn’t named in the trailer, but he is named on Netflix’s website as Al-Masih – Arabic for “the messiah”. It is the name used for Jesus Christ in Islam, but is also the name with which Dajjal is said to announce himself.
One thing is certain, Netflix definitely isn’t afraid of courting controversy.