France banned anti-Islamic play in 1890 after opposition from the Ottoman Caliphate

Henri de Bornier, a French poet and dramatist wrote an anti-Islamic play called Mahomet in 1889. The French Prime Minister Charles de Freycinet banned the play in 1890 after opposition from the Ottoman Caliphate.

“Bornier himself was the victim of blind and unreasoning Muslim prejudice in regard to his Mahomet. The play was being rehearsed in 1889 when a Turkish newspaper reproduced from a French journal the news of its forthcoming production. The French Foreign Ministry assured the Turkish ambassador in Paris, Es’at Pasha, that the play did not constitute an attack on the Prophet and on the cherished beliefs of the Muslims. Bornier pointed out that the Persian ta’ziyas or passion plays regularly depicted the death of Muhammad as well as those of the Shi’ite martyrs, and he offered to accept prohibition of his work’s being played in Algeria and Tunisia. These arguments still failed to satisfy the Turkish authorities, and in 1890 the head of the government, Freycinet, banned the production of Mahomet in France, a prohibition which, it was reported, gave much pleasure to the Sultan Abd al-Hamid II. It must be admitted that Muslims would undeniably find offensive a play in which their Prophet killed himself because of a woman and because of inferiority feelings vis-a-vis Christianity, but there is no evidence that either the Turkish ambassador or the Sultan had seen the play, much less read it, when they first objected to it. The French government’s surrender to this Turkish pressure was plausibly attributed by Martino to the contemporary political situation, for in 1889 the German Emperor William II was beginning his journey to Istanbul and the Near East, and France feared to do anything which might drive Turkey further into Germany’s arms; the susceptibilities of France’s numerous Muslim subjects in North Africa must also have been a consideration. Not till 1896 were excerpts from Mahomet presented to the public in a special arrangement for theatrical declamation. Since Bornier’s time, no major European dramatist seems to have essayed a play on the life of the Prophet.”

Source: C. E. Bosworth, ‘A Dramatisation of the Prophet Muhammad’s Life: Henri de Bornier’s “Mahomet”,’ Numen, Vol. 17, Fasc. 2 (Aug., 1970), p. 116

A future Caliphate will use all its political, economic and military resources to protect the honour of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) and all the other Prophets including Adam, Noah (Nuh), Moses (Musa) and Jesus son of Mary (Isa ibn Maryam), peace be upon them all.

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