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Censorship authorities have banned the screening of a movie that features a love story between a Coptic woman and a Muslim man, a group of intellectuals said in a statement Sunday.
Cross-religion love affairs are frequently cited as the reason for sectarian strife in the country.
Hisham Essawy directed the movie, titled "Al-Khoroug min al-Qahira," "The Exit from Cairo," which was first screened in the 2010 Dubai Film Festival. Egyptian actress Marihan plays the Coptic woman and Mohamed Ramadan plays the Muslim man.
The film was scheduled to be screened at the first session of the Luxor African Film Festival but was banned by censorship authorities, the statement said.
"We reject all forms of restrictions on freedoms and feel sorry that such practices remain after the breakout of a revolution that called for freedom and the establishment of a civil state," the statement, signed by various actors, writers and cinema critics, said.
Actors Mahmoud Hemedia and Fathi Abdel Wahhab, film director Mohamed Khan and movie critic Tareq al-Shennawy were among those who signed the statement.
Sayed Khattab, the head of the Censorship on Artistic Works authority, told state-run news agency MENA that the film was not given permission for screening at the festival or in cinemas.
The festival administration did not include the film in question in its list of films submitted to censorship authorities for approval, Khattab said.
Several love affairs between partners of different religions, particularly between Muslim men and alleged female Muslim converts, have caused bloody clashes between the families of the partners in recent months, including an instance in the district of Amreyya, where Christian families were asked to relocate following violence.
Correction: An earlier version of this article mistakenly stated that the film discussed a love story between a veiled Muslim woman and a Coptic man. The article has been revised to reflect the actual storyline.