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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 August, 2003, 08:58 GMT 09:58 UK
Jewish group attacks Gibson film
Mel Gibson
Gibson has said the film is about "love and hope"

A leading Jewish group has condemned Mel Gibson's controversial film about Christ, saying it could fuel anti-Semitism.

The Anti-Defamation League is the latest group to speak out against The Passion, Gibson's depiction of Jesus' crucifixion and events leading up to it, saying it was "dangerous".

In a statement, the group said the film showed Jewish authorities and the Jewish mob as being responsible for the decision to crucify Jesus.

Gibson's spokesman, however, said there was no suggestion of the film being anti-Semitic.

The Anti-Defamation League said the movie had been seen by Rabbi Eugene Korn, its director of inter-faith affairs.

No one associated with this film has any interest in fuelling hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism
Mel Gibson's spokesman
He said it contained "many dangerous teachings" that Christians and Jews had worked to counter.

He hoped that Gibson and his film production company would "consider modifying" the movie.

The group's national director, Abraham Foxman, added: "We are deeply concerned that the film, if released in its present form, will fuel the hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism that many responsible churches have worked hard to repudiate."

But Gibson's publicist Alan Nierob said: "No one associated with this film has any interest in fuelling hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism.

"In fact, Mel's interest is just the opposite as he has stated previously that this film is about love, hope, faith and forgiveness."

Gibson is director of The Passion, which stars The Thin Red Line's Jim Caviezel and Monica Bellucci. It features Latin and Aramaic dialogue and no English subtitles.

Earlier, Gibson himself said he believed the movie would "inspire not offend".

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