‘Persecution’ movie mired in controversy
A Facebook advert for a planned movie about the persecution of Christians has reportedly been rejected by Facebook because it broke policy guidelines.
According to Christian Today, the text of the advert said:
Are you a Christian? We challenge you to change your profile picture to this ‘I Am A Christian’ photo for one week! Change your picture now, and challenge your friends to do the same. Stand up and declare, ‘Yes, I Am A Christian!!!’
CT said that when the ad was submitted to Facebook’s ad team a response was received saying:
Your ad wasn’t approved because it doesn’t follow Facebook’s Advertising Guidelines for language that is profane, vulgar, threatening or generates high negative feedback. Ads can’t use language that insults, harasses or demeans people, or addresses their age, gender, name, race, physical condition or sexual preference.
When the film’s promoters queried the response they were told:
Your ad wasn’t approved because it doesn’t follow our language policies. We’ve found that people dislike ads that directly address them or their personal characteristics such as religion. Ads should not single out individuals or degrade people.
We don’t accept language like ‘Are you fat?’ ‘Wanna join me?’ and the like. Instead, text must present realistic and accurate information in a neutral or positive way and should not have any direct attribution to people.
Facebook’s advertising guidelines say that ads “may not assert or imply, directly or indirectly, within the ad content or by targeting, a user’s personal characteristics within the following categories” which include “religion or philosophical belief”.
The curious thing about this report is that the “Are you a Christian?” wording that CT says was rejected in fact features prominently on the movie’s Facebook page. Did Facebook have a change of heart?
The second curious thing is that CT reports that the movie is about Meriam Ibrahim, who was sentenced to death for apostasy in Sudan. After international outrage was expressed, she was allowed to leave the country and settle in the US.
CT also claims that:
Meriam and her husband Daniel Wani have expressed strong opposition to the film, which is being made without their involvement or consent.
Meriam’s husband, Daniel, told CT that they had been contacted last year by the film’s promoters but had rejected their approach because they had accepted another from a different film company. Christian Lives Matter, the company behind I am a Christian was “taking advantage of them”, he said.
Ibrahim’s name is not mentioned in an appeal for $500,000 needed to make the movie. On the Indigogo site the appeal says:
If you were forced to choose between your faith or your life, what would you do? That is the very choice that some are forced to make.
Every day NGOs, citizen lead [sic] non government organizations, fight to end religious persecution around the world. We want to tell their story.
This is an amazing Christian story that must be told, truthfully and the Christian way! We know that if Hollywood makes this story will be made completely politically correct, Christianity will be watered down, and Sharia Law will be protected.
In today’s world, where Christians are openly mocked by the main stream media, you now have a chance to stand and bravely declare ‘I Am A Christian!’
However, on March 16 it posted on Facebook that I am A Christian is:
The true story of a women [sic] sentenced to death for her faith.
The funding appeal was launched on March 15, and has so far attracted funding of $3,563.