'Passion' Will Get French Run

A Paris court Monday rejected a request by three Jewish brothers to ban Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" on the grounds it would foment anti-Semitism in France.

The court ruled that the film, which is scheduled for release in this country Wednesday, would not threaten public order.

"To make the death of Jesus into the major motivation of anti-Semitism that leads to secular persecutions against Jews would stem from a narrow view of Mel Gibson's film," judge Florence Lagemi wrote in his decision.

The Benlolo brothers — Patrick, Gerard and Jean-Marc — presented their case Friday before going to a screening of the film with a lawyer for the movie's French distributor. They plan to appeal.

The film, which opened in the United States on Feb. 25, has divided religious communities. Some Jewish leaders fear it will revive the notion that Jews were responsible for death of Jesus Christ, while some Christians have praised the movie for its portrayal of Christ.

The film has earned more than $315 million in the United States so far.

The Benlolo complaint argued the film has a "false and erroneous vision of certain religious events" and would "stir anti-Jewish hatred."

France has battled anti-Semitic violence for more than two years. In the worst case, a synagogue in the Mediterranean coastal city of Marseille was burned to the ground in March 2002.