Russell Crowe's new Biblical epic Noah has been banned throughout the Middle East. Film officials in Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have informed Paramount executives they will not release the Darren Aronofsky film, in which Crowe portrays the Bible's ark-building hero. They claim the movie contradicts Islamic law by portraying a prophet. Similar rulings are expected Jordan and Kuwait, according to Paramount insiders, and leading Muslims in Egypt have urged censors to ban the film there. A statement released by officials at the Sunni Muslim institute Al-Azhar reads: "Al-Azhar renews its rejection to the screening of any production that characterizes Allah’s prophets and messengers and the companions of the Prophet (Mohammed). Therefore, Al-Azhar announces the prohibition of the upcoming film about the Allah’s messenger Noah - peace be upon him.” Noah is still tentatively scheduled to open in Egypt on 26 March (14), two days before the film's launch in the U.S.