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Jordan film commission asks Netflix not to stream 'Messiah'

By Wade Sheridan

Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The Royal Film Commission of Jordan has asked Netflix not to stream the new religious drama series Messiah there.

The RFC made the announcement on Monday during a press briefing held by managing director Mohannad al-Bakri in Amman.

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Messiah, set to be released on Netflix Wednesday, stars Michelle Monaghan as a CIA officer tasked with finding out if a mysterious spiritual leader some have called Al-Massih (Mehdi Dehbi) is truly a deity.

"The story is purely fictional and so are the characters. Yet, the RFC deems that the content of the series could be largely perceived or interpreted as infringing on the sanctity of religion, thus possibly contravening the laws in the country," the organization said in a statement.

The RFC originally allowed scenes from Messiah to be filmed in the predominantly Muslim country with the organization stating that it will be reevaluating its production policies.

"For the last few months, the Board of the RFC has worked to reassess its policies and has reached the conclusion that it will change its policy with regard to productions shooting in Jordan, by making sure the content doesn't breach the laws of the country," the RFC said.

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Messiah is created by Michael Petroni and also stars John Ortiz, Melinda Page Hamilton and Stefania LaVie Owen.

A spokesperson for Netflix released a statement to Deadline on the matter and said that the company has not received a formal legal request to remove Messiah from Netflix's Jordan platform.

"Messiah is work of fiction," the spokesperson said. "It is not based on any one character, figure or religion. All Netflix shows feature ratings and information to help members make their own decisions about what's right for them and their families."

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