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Bahrain latest to ban block-buster Thor

Gulf state Bahrain has joined other Middle Eastern countries in imposing a cinema ban on the fourth instalment of superhero saga Thor, a Hollywood blockbuster featuring gay characters.

“The ministry of information has decided to halt projection of one of the films showing in cinema halls for the sake of preserving and safeguarding society’s moral values,” the ministry said in a brief statement late Thursday.

The ministry did not specify the name of the film banned, but screenings of “Thor: Love and Thunder” have halted. 

The film sees “Valkyrie”, played by Tessa Thompson, express clear romantic feelings towards another female character. 

Kuwait has also banned the film, according to local media which cited its information ministry as ascribing the decision to “scenes involving homosexual characters”. 

In recent months, major film production companies have experienced similar restrictions in the oil-rich but conservative Gulf region. 

The UAE is the only Gulf nation that is still showing Thor, although in June it had banned the animated Disney-Pixar’s “Lightyear”, a film that features two women kissing.

In April, Saudi Arabia requested cuts to “LGBTQ references” in Disney’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”, which was ultimately not screened in the country.

The topic of sexual freedom remains highly taboo in Gulf countries, even as they seek to modernise their images through major communication campaigns.

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