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Iran Bans Streaming of Egypt-Produced Controversial Series “Hashashin”

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The Iranian government has announced a ban on the streaming of the Egypt-produced series “Hashashin,” which aired in many Arabic countries during Ramadan, according to BBC.

Iranian authorities stated that the series is prohibited due to its portrayal of Islamic history, which allegedly distorts facts in favor of Arab narratives. “Hashashin” is based on the life of Hassan-e-Sabah, the Shiite Nizari Ismaili leader who lived in Iran during the Islamic Caliphate of the Fatimid era and ruled Persia in the 11th century.

Hassan-i Sabbah, founder and leader of the Shiite Nizari Ismailis, ruled from 1090 until his death in 1124. His followers maintained power at Alamut and other strongholds until 1256, when Mongol forces under Hulagu Khan destroyed Alamut, ending their reign.

Critics, especially from Ismaili communities, argue the series unfairly depicts Hassan-e-Sabah as a tyrant who sustained power through terrorism. They contend that it falsely labels him as the originator of suicide attacks and terrorism, a portrayal they say is a gross misrepresentation of a leader who advocated for justice and fair rule in Islam.

Hassan-i Sabbah was not only a significant military and Shiiete religious leader but also played a crucial role in promoting Persian culture and identity during his rule. He actively supported the Persian language and endorsed Persian cultural practices over Arabic influences, which was a distinctive choice given the prevailing Arab cultural dominance in the region at the time.

Under his leadership, the Nizari Ismaili state became a center for scholarly activities and cultural preservation. Sabbah himself was a learned man, well-versed in several academic fields including philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy, and he encouraged these studies within his domain​. This scholarly environment helped maintain and enrich Persian cultural traditions.

Moreover, Hassan-i Sabbah’s strategic use of Alamut as a stronghold allowed for a somewhat independent cultural development which was distinct from the Arab-dominated areas. His rule and actions were pivotal in maintaining a Persian identity in the regions under his influence during a period when such a distinction was under considerable pressure from the dominant Seljuk Turks and the broader Arabic influences of the time​.

Thus, Hassan-i Sabbah’s contributions to Persian culture were multifaceted, involving both direct promotion of the Persian language and indirect support through his educational and political policies.

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