Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" breaks UAE box office records: report

Mel Gibson's controversial film "The Passion of the Christ" has broken box office records in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a report said.

In the three days since it opened here, 66,321 tickets were purchased to see the film, shattering the mark set by the "Matrix Reloaded" of 59,000, the Gulf News daily said.

While the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have agreed to let the film be screened in public, neighbouring Bahrain has banned it on the grounds that is against Islam.

Kuwait has still not decided whether to give the film the green light amid concerns it could stoke religious tensions between the emirate's Sunni Muslims, who oppose its showing, and Shiite Muslims, who are in favour.

The movie, which depicts the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus Christ in often graphic and brutal detail, has drawn a storm of criticism as it reaches cinemas worldwide after debuting in the United States.

Gibson's film, shot in Latin and Aramaic and using little-known actors, has been a huge box office hit in North America.