World

Iranian filmmaker behind new Mohammed biopic also worked on 2008 film with Warren’s son-in-law

Photo of Patrick Howley
Patrick Howley
Political Reporter

An Iranian filmmaker who has worked with Elizabeth Warren’s producer son-in-law is currently making a pro-Mohammed biopic that will portray the Muslim prophet, but not show his face.

The filmmaker, Majid Majidi, has been working since October on the $30 million film about the life of the prophet Mohammed, whom he has long praised. Majidi’s public statements hyping the film have included strong criticisms of Western nations and the state of Israel, and comparisons between the American media and the Nazi propaganda machine.

In a speech at the Istanbul World Forum last October, for example, Majidi condemned Israel’s nuclear arsenal and decried the Western media’s treatment of Iran.

“Many years have passed since the downfall of the bloodthirsty regime of ‘[Adolf] Hitler’ and ‘Nazi Germany,’ but methods used by the Nazi minister of propaganda [Paul] Joseph Goebbels still hold water, and principles of his propaganda style are followed all through the world in an almost uniform manner,” Majidi said.

“An example: You are well aware who forged the Taliban and al-Qaida and supported them. [You know] which Western states and their regional allies showered them with money and other means and helped them to dominate the lives and property of millions of innocent Afghans; what massacres and crimes were carried out at the hands of the followers of Bin Laden and Mullah Omar,” he continued. “Here is a little truth: Taliban had a Muslim façade. “The ‘big lie’, however, is when they want to equate Islam with the Taliban and al-Qaida, and make films to promote Islamophobia across the world.”

Majidi then implicated the U.S. movie “300″ in his Nazi comparison, making clear that the American media was a subject of his remarks.

“For example, as an Iranian, I have to mournfully make a reference to the movie ’300,’ in which Iranians had been depicted as a barbarian, plundering and uncultured nation to the opposite of the Greeks, who were shown as sacrificing and heroic people,” Majidi said.

He also wondered, “If Iran should not have nuclear energy, why [can] the Israeli regime stockpile up to 300 nuclear warheads hidden in its arsenal without being forced to allow international organizations to inspect them?”

“The justice that I saw in the conduct of the Prophet of Islam I have never seen in the manners of any worldly ruler,” he added.

Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s son-in-law Sushil Tyagi produced a 2008 film by Majidi, entitled “The Song of Sparrows,” during Tyagi’s tenure as president of Algorithmic Productions. That film, which was set in Tehran, was nominated for an American Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It did not contain anti-Western sentiments, and Majidi had not publicly voiced any intense disdain for Israel or the West during or before its production.

Prior to 2008, however, Majidi had expressed opposition to critical depictions of Mohammed.