He was quoted by newspapers this week as saying that Aslan, the Christlike character he voices in the film versions of the books, could be Mohammed or Buddha.
“Aslan symbolises a Christlike figure, but he also symbolises for me Mohammed, Buddha and all the great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries,” says Neeson, a practising Roman Catholic.
“That’s who Aslan stands for as well as a mentor figure for kids – that’s what he means for me.”
Neeson’s comments came ahead of the cinema release today of The Voyage of the Dawntreader, the film version of the third book in the series.
Walter Hooper, former secretary to Lewis and a trustee of his estate, refuted the idea that Aslan could represent anybody other than Christ.
He suggested Neeson’s comments stemmed from political correctness.
He was quoted by The Telegraph as saying: “It is nothing whatever to do with Islam. Lewis would have simply denied that. He wrote that ‘the whole Narnian story is about Christ’. Lewis could not have been clearer.”
Aslan appears in all seven Narnia books, often to guide the Pevensie children when they are facing challenges or difficult choices.
In the first book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Aslan dies to save Edmund, only to resurrect later.