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History Channel’s ‘The Bible’ draws criticism over actor playing Satan resembling President Obama

Actor Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni as Satan on History Channel's
Actor Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni as Satan on History Channel's "The Bible." The show has drawn criticism, with some saying Ouazanni resembles President Obama.
The HistoryChannel

The History Channel’s “The Bible” has been facing some controversy — even more than you would expect a dramatic interpretation of “The Bible” to face. The show cast Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni to play Satan, and fans were quick to take to social media to point out that Ouazanni bears a striking resemblance to President Obama.

Conservative commentator Glenn Beck pointed out the resemblance before the show even aired, then posted a picture Sunday night to remind everyone.

Still, Beck told the media to take a chill pill and said that even he just thought it was an interesting coincidence.

Is there much of a resemblance? Or does Satan have more of a Star Wars Emperor Palpatine thing going on?

The show also used several Southern Californian religious experts to vet the biblical accuracy of their dramatization, including Los Angeles pastor Erwin McManus of Mosaic and Orange County’s Rick Warren of Saddleback Church. Other Californians who contributed to the project include Pepperdine president Andrew K. Benton and Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

The History Channel thought the criticism warranted a response, issuing a joint statement with the show’s executive producers.

“History channel has the highest respect for President Obama,” the channel said. “It’s unfortunate that anyone made this false connection. History’s The Bible is meant to enlighten people on its rich stories and deep history.”

“This is utter nonsense,” executive producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey added. “[Ouazanni] has previously played parts in several Biblical epics – including Satanic characters long before Barack Obama was elected as our President.”

“Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love our President, who is a fellow Christian,” Downey said.

Those other appearances by Ouazanni as Satanic characters include a 2006 version of “The Ten Commandments,” “In The Beginning,” “David” and “Jeremiah.”

Twitter users were quick to cry out against the depiction — #ObamaIsNotSatan was trending on Twitter on Monday.

If you want to take a gander for yourself, the series continues through Easter. And Satan makes another appearance on the March 31 episode.