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Kuwait should lift a ban on Mel Gibson's controversial film The Passion of the Christ as it exposes the role of Jews in his death, a top Shi'ite Muslim cleric said in remarks published on Saturday.

"We demand the Information Ministry to allow the film The Passion of the Christ, peace be upon Him, to expose the role of the Jews, the killers of prophets," said Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Mohri.

Jewish groups say the epic of the last 12 hours of Christ's life could foment anti-Semitism with its graphic depiction of the torture and crucifixion of Jesus. They say the film unjustly portrays Jews as his killers. The Kuwaiti Information Ministry has banned the film from local cinemas, citing a blanket ban on all films that depict prophets. Muslims believe Jesus was a prophet.

The Friday sermon remarks by Mohri, who is a close aide to Iraq's most revered Shi'ite cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, were published by Kuwaiti newspapers on Saturday. Mohri said top Shi'ite scholars in the past have allowed their followers to watch films that depict Prophet Mohammed. He said Sistani himself has allowed actors to depict one of Shi'i'te Muslims' most revered figures, Imam Hussein. Reuters

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