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When a Qatari company recently announced that it would launch into the movie business with a $150mn feature about the Prophet Mohammed, it reignited the debate about the portrayal of Islam and Muslims in the media.

It also brought back memories of the protests that surrounded the 1976 release of The Message, a historical film about Islam's earliest days.

The portrayal of the prophet or his voice is forbidden in Islam, and even though the movie found ways around that, it was still the subject of intense debate.

So how can Islam become more accessible to Western audiences without adapting to the silver screen?

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And how can mainstream audiences learn more about Muslims if they are not willing to dramatise their narratives?

This is the challenge facing Muslim actors, writers, producers, directors and other artistic professionals today.

On Thursday Riz speaks with Raja Sharif, the vice-president of the Doha-based Alnoor Holdings, which is producing the film on the Prophet Mohammed, Kamran Pasha, the author of, Mother of the Believers: A Novel of the Birth of Islam, about the life of Aisha, the prophet's wife, and Shahed Amanullah, the editor of altmuslim.com, a US-based website focused on the Muslim community.

This episode of the Riz Khan show aired on Thursday, April 15, 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera