June 22, 2007–“A Mighty Heart” caused a stir over a screening designed to promote religious tolerance. Paramount Vantage initiated the Thursday evening event, a screening followed by a panel discussion, soliciting input from Muslim, Christian and Jewish organizations.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Progressive Christians Uniting (PCU) co-sponsored with the specialty label; Plan B co-producer Dede Gardner and Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak were scheduled to appear on the panel along with reps of CAIR and PCU. Caf Intifada, Friends of Pakistan, USA and Muslim Public Affairs Council also lent their support to the event.
However, a Jewish activist decried the leanings of several of the participants, likening CAIR's role to “David Duke co-sponsoring 'Schindler's List.'”
“The only reason they like this film is because it's about a dead Jew,” said Allyson Rowen-Taylor, who has been involved in the American Jewish Congress and Stand With Us. The activist found out about the event from a friend who's a member of the Academy and immediately expressed her outrage to Judea Pearl, father of late journo Daniel Pearl. Pearl was traveling Thursday eve and could not be reached for comment.
In the email, he said he was not consulted by Par Vantage about CAIR's involvement, a fact the studio confirms. The studio also unspooled the picture June 6 at the Museum of Tolerance. The event, attended by stars Angelina Jolie and Dan Futterman, raised $15,000 for the Pearl Foundation.
“A Mighty Heart” has stirred controversy from the moment Anjelina Jolie was cast to play Mariane Pearl, a woman of Afro-Cuban heritage. The production relocated from Pakistan to India amid protests.