New Netflix series Messiah has been subject to backlash from viewers who have taken issue with the religious element of the show. A number of users have threatened to boycott the streaming service if the series is released on the platform.

Messiah is due to launch on January 1, 2020, and tells the story of a man who generates a following by claiming he can perform miracles. The CIA looks into him due to suspicions his claims that he is the son of God is a dangerous con artist act.

The main character is played by Mehdi Dehbi and labelled Al-Massih. There is a figure in Islamic religion called Al-Masih ad-Dajjal, who is subject to comparisons with the Antichrist and seen as an evil being.

There is currently a petition to stop the show from airing, which has amassed over 3500 signatures. Viewers have claimed that the show is disrespectful to their religion and anti-Islamic after seeing the trailer.

Other religious people who have taken offence include Christians and Muslims. They have stated that the show is blasphemous and insults multiple religions, with one petition signer commenting: ‘This is not a subject that can be taken as a joke and shouldn’t be used for entertainment and “thrill”. ‘It is a reality to many and cannot be taken lightly. I will remove my account for Netflix if they continue. It’s horrible that they could ever think this is okay.’

Show creator Michael Petroni has responded to the backlash by saying he ‘didn’t set out to offend anyone’. He added: ‘We expect that there’s going to be a lot of noise around the show, and a lot of debate. I’m hoping for debate.’

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