The Nation: What Sparked It

If the terrorists had not called violent attention to it, Mohammad, Messenger of God might have slipped into movie history as a footnote, proving that the capacity to make stupefying religious epics is not exclusively Judeo-Christian.

Producer-Director Moustapha Akkad was confronted by a unique problem: the strict Muslim prohibition against representing the Prophet's face or form, or even his voice—in any medium. A wiser or less determined man might have bailed out right there, but Akkad, 43, a Syrian-born American who studied film making at U.C.L.A., pressed on, raising $17 million from Arab...

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