Gender extremists have whinged about a video for the French fashion house Louis Vuitton advertising the label's autumn/winter collection.
In the video models including Georgia Jagger and Cara Delevingne wander through the dark streets of Paris
wearing lingerie-inspired clothes, stopping to lean into car doors.
The French newspaper Liberation published a letter signed by various high-profile lawyers and intellectuals accusing the fashion company of:
Assimilating luxury with the world's second most profitable criminal activity after drug trafficking. Do creators from the universe of luxury realise that they are promoting violence, pornography and sexual slavery?
One signatory, Dominique Attias, a lawyer who is outspoken about gender issues in France, claimed it to be:
An extremely shocking representation of women. This is very damaging, because we are
trying to fight the idea, to which some young women in France subscribe, that prostitution is banal and just a way of getting money to buy clothes.
A group of Arab youths have reportedly attacked an Israeli film director, Yariv Horowitz.
Horowitz, who directed the film Rock the Casbah was participating at the Aubagne Film Festival in France when he was attacked by a group of Arab
youths just before the film won the best film award.
He is reported to have lost consciousness and has been subsequently treated. Horowitz is said to have returned immediately to the festival after treatment. Authorities are estimating that the
attack was racially motivated. Horowitz was attacked immediately after the screening of the film by a group of Arab youths. The director lost consciousness and was treated at the festival. After recovering from the blows he received, he returned to the
festival area in good condition .
After the violent incident, Horowitz's film won the Special Prize of the Jury for Best Picture.
The film Rock the Casbah, starring Yon Tumarkin, follows the story of young soldiers in the first
intifada in Gaza. The soliders are located on the roof of a Palestinian family whose son is involved in the murder of one of their battalion.
Two of the leading British blogs taking issue with religious extremism have been taken offline for an entire week by a large-scale cyber attack. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks, but by the very nature of their targeting, the
sources are thought to be religious extremists.
Both Harry's Place and Student Rights suffered
massive denial of service (DDOS) attacks over the past week - a cyber attack which blasts servers with traffic in order to overload them and effectively knock the websites out.
A statement posted on the Harry's Place website said:
We were taken down by another very nasty DDOS attack. The ferocity of this one was actually quite staggering, so clearly we're doing something that is getting under someone's skin, someone with a very a fair amount of
resources behind them. That a humble blog like ours -- written by a few amateur pundits in their spare time, and relying entirely on donations from readers for its expenses -- seems to threaten forces with this sort of virtual fire-power at their
disposal is as flattering as it is baffling.
Student Rights, the leading pressure group in the UK for tackling extremism on university campuses said in a statement:
Our website has been the target
of a malicious and illegal attack for a prolonged period of time. Our work, as many know, is to challenge extremism including Islamist activity and the far-right. We can only imagine that the attack must have emanated from one of these two groups.
Authorities are currently investigating the attacks.
A Vancouver schoolteacher is sounding the alarm after stumbling upon another medium that she thinks may corrupt young and impressionable minds: 19th-century whale bone porn.
Ann Pimentel raised the concern after visiting the Vancouver Maritime
Museum (VMM), a modest institution on the city's west side. That's where a small collection of etchings and engravings on whale teeth and bone is on display, part of a larger show that also features example of maritime tattoo art.
Nine of the
etched pieces on display show images of a sexual nature, some of them quite explicit. A Whaler's Hope of the First Night Ashore is etched across a tooth that's eight inches long, extracted two centuries ago from an unfortunate sperm whale.
Underneath the title is etched a saucy scene. A man and a woman, flesh exposed. Mouths open, limbs entwined.
To date, Ms. Pimentel is the only person to complain. She has mounted a minor jihad, writing missives on various tourist-oriented websites
and approaching local media outlets. I am disturbed and troubled after a morning at the Vancouver Maritime Museum, she spouted on Tripadvisor.com:
The Museum has a new exhibit called Scrimshaw which features
numerous images of inappropriate nature (oral sex, sex, nudity, male anatomy etc.) on tusks. ... As a mother and a teacher I was extremely disturbed and believe these pieces of 'art' should be removed.
Tattoo and Scrimshaw: The Art of
the Sailor opened last week and runs to mid-October.
A TV advertisement promoting condom use in Kenya has been withdrawn after an outcry by religious leaders, health official Peter Cherutich has said. He told the BBC the advert had been launched because up to 30% of married couples had other partners.
In a BBC Focus on Africa interview, Dr Cherutich said that while the advert had been withdrawn, he was unapologetic about its message - that it was essential for people to use condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/Aids.
government-sponsored advert, a woman in an extra-marital affair is advised to use condoms. Two women are walking to the market. One woman asked about her lover glances at a man selling fruit nearby, implying he is her lover. She says she is happy with
him, even though she does not spend much time with him. When asked if she uses a condom she looks embarrassed. The advert ends with the other woman advising her that it is important to use a condom to protect herself and her loved ones including the
school girl that runs towards the woman and hugs her.
Christian and Muslim clerics claimed the advert encouraged infidelity, rather than safe sex to curb HIV/Aids.
The Kenyan Anglican Church's Bishop Julius Kalu claimed the advert, shown on
free-to-air TV stations at peak audience times, had promoted extra-marital affairs and sex among school pupils:
It openly propagates immorality, especially when all family members are gathered before television sets,
waiting to watch news,
Kenya's Muslim religious body, the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK), also condemned TV stations for showing the one-minute-long advert. Sheikh Mohammed Khalifa, CIPK's organising secretary, told
Kenya's Business Daily newspaper:
The advertisement depicts this nation as Sodom and Gomorra and not one that values the institution of marriage and family.
Christian and moralist groups are uniting behind a boycott of TopTV as the company seeks permission to broadcast three porn channels. Family Policy Institute director Errol Naidoo said:
[The] Family Policy Institute
(FPI), in partnership with several major Christian denominations in South Africa, has launched a nation-wide boycott of TopTV, its advertisers, and sponsors.
The Christian church is deeply concerned that the introduction of three
pornographic channels in South Africa will exacerbate the current crisis of rape and violence against vulnerable women and children.
Research overwhelmingly indicates the widespread and easy availability of pornography is harmful
For some reason Naidoo neglected to point out the scale of child abuse initiated by Christian clerics, and the resulting harm to society.
Christian churches that have joined the boycott are the Apostolic Faith
Mission of SA, Assemblies of God of SA, the Baptist Union of SA, the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, and Church of England in SA.
The Dutch Reformed Church, the Full Gospel Church of SA, the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, the
Evangelical Alliance of South Africa, and the Association of Vineyard Churches in SA have also committed to the boycott.
On Thursday, the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) heard an application by TopTV to broadcast the channels.
There are controversial subjects, and then there is Mohamed. Yet the fear of controversy appears not to have deterred film-makers in Iran and Qatar, who are producing a pair of rival biopics of the seventh-century religious character Mohamed.
As a protagonist, Mohamed poses a unique challenge: much of the Muslim world forbids his depiction on screen.
The Iranian director Majid Majidi, whose $30m (£19.8m) biopic began shooting last October, reportedly intends to show parts of Mohamed's body, though not his face. While Iran's Shia population may be flexible about such imagery, Sunni Muslims
elsewhere are not. Cairo's Sunni-led al-Azhar University has already demanded the unfinished film be banned.
Meanwhile in Sunni-majority Qatar, Alnoor Holdings announced plans to spend $1bn on its own series of epic movies about the life of
Mohamed. The team has hired the Islamic theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Lord of the Rings producer Barrie Osborne as technical advisers. They are being understandably very cautious, Osborne told The Hollywood Reporter.
The display of supposedly obscene film posters in public places in Kerala is a serious offence. However the Kerala Women's Commission (KWC), who launched a campaign against sexy poster in 2009, is convinced that there are still posters that are claimed
to be 'obscene'.
The group seems to find sexy pictures of women as 'obscene'. For a while the group was happy that theatre owners painted over women portrayed sexily in the posters, but they soon gave it up. KWC member Dr Rohini said:
Theatre owners did paint over obscene posters for a short while after our campaign, but now such posters are seen even on roadsides and at crowded junctions.
KWC secretary, Komlavally Amma, claimed
without providing any evidence:
Obscene advertisements and film songs send a wrong message to youngsters and many parents lose control of their children as a result.
If the commission gets any
petition on posters portraying women in a vulgar manner, it will take action.
James Franco is the producer of pornographic documentary Kink, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. The title Kink refers to a BDSM porn website, where extreme violence against women and torture are the norm. Common acts include
non-simulated actual footage of rope, metal and wood bondage, underwater suffocation torture, electric shocks, sex with machinery, gang rape, slave training and public humiliation.
Promotional material for the website:
In our videos you will watch as some of the best riggers in the business bind, torture and fuck gorgeous women.
paddled, caned and flogged until their bodies are marked and red.
Pushing the very limits of their endurance and pain tolerance.
Porn star Aurora Snow
shared her traumatic experience making a Kink film.
"They are a company that looks for the moment when a girl has been mentally and at times physically pushed too far; the borderline of tears and pain. Sometimes talent leaves with giant bruises that take weeks to disappear."
"The scenes will push a girl over the edge. It's standard practice on set to take breaks in between filming and during these breaks the talent is fawned, told how amazing they are, catered to, etc. It makes for a very
confusing experience when trying to evaluate one's own feelings about what's really happening."
Egyptian Arabic Booker prize winner Youssef Zeidan, the author of Azazil , is facing charges of blasphemy and contempt of Islam, Christianity and Judaism for his 2010 book: Arab Theology and the Origins of Religious Violence.
In the non-fiction work, Zeidan tracks the relationship between man and God within the three monotheistic religions. Zeidan said the three religions sprang from one substance even though their differences are plain.
Zeidan was summoned to
appear in front of the High State Security Prosecutor last week.
The case was brought by the Islamic Research Institute (IRI) and 11 Coptic organisations, claiming Zeidan had scorned Christianity and mocked the doctrine of the trinity, which is at
the core of Christian belief. The IRI also accused Zeidan of sparking sectarian strife and encouraging religious extremism.
Zeidan went to State Security Prosecution headquarters in New Cairo and was released shortly afterwards. He was granted one
month to respond to the complaints.
EL James' Fifty Shades of Grey has spawned the inevitable spinoff merchandising. Everything from thigh highs with handcuff charms to handcuff and key earrings to suggestive messages that say Unleash your inner goddess can be found at
Icing -- a well-known Australian mall jewelry store that many teen girls shop at.
Brook Berg with the nutter organisation, Family Resource Center, claimed parents need to pay attention:
When we expose our
children, especially young children to this kind of thing, not only is it confusing but often times they don't really know all about it so that leads to Googling it and asking friends and sometimes not necessarily getting the true story.
The store Icing is part of the Claire's retail chain and on its Facebook page, it says their target demographic for the Icing store is young women 18 and older.
An employee of the Icing said the merchandise has had positive feedback as
well, especially from fans of the book series.
Thai nutters have been whining at a bikini calendar for the Thai budget airline, Nok Air.
Nok Air announced on its Facebook page that people who participated in its online campaign would receive the airline's 2013 calendar. Models from Maxim
magazine were hired for the calendar photo shoot. This was set around Nok Air planes.
A complaint was filed with the Ministry of Miserable Culture by Natee Theerarojanapong, leader of Chiang Mai Araya, who ludicrously claimed that the calendar
should be banned because it tarnishes Thailand's image:
The campaign focuses on the country's bad reputation regarding sex services, and an image that other organisations have been trying to change.
The message being sent out by the airline could also be misinterpreted as encouraging passengers to sexually harass air hostesses, he spewed without the slightest shred of credibility.
Nok Air CEO Patee Sarasin said:
It was supposed to be a gift to our customers, and so far the campaign has received positive feedback, increasing the number of passengers. There were so many viewers that the webpage crashed.
permanent secretary Prisana Pongtatpitakkul claimed the photos in the calendar were inappropriate. Being an airline, the pictures were not only viewed by local people but also by foreigners, she spouted. However, she admitted the ministry could not take
any action against Nok Air because it had not broken any law by producing and distributing the calendar. The incident just reflects that modern society is full of businesses that lack integrity and social responsibility, she added.
Update: Calendar is a big hit thanks to the publicity
Nok Air is unperturbed by criticism that it exploited women's bodies as a marketing tool in its 2013 calendar featuring bikini-clad Maxim models.
The budget airline is already promising that the 2014 calendar will be at least as daring.
We will surprise many people again,
said chief executive Patee Sarasin, who is known for his unorthodox marketing tactics.
Nok Air's calendar, with women posing in front of jets in bikinis and skimpy clothing, was taken to task by miserablists including the Ministry of Culture,
which accused the airline of lacking a sense of social and cultural responsibility .
Patee shrugged off criticism that the calendar tarnished Thailand's image:
These pictures of ours are no more exotic
than what is already on the magazine stands. Everybody has the right to express his opinion. If they don't like it, they don't have to look at it.
Interest in Nok Air's calendar, which was Patee's own idea, has been overwhelming since
its debut. Nok Air produced 3,000 calendars and 300 will be offered as part of an online promotion to its Facebook members through a random selection to be announced on Friday.
I reckon at least 100,000 people want one of the calendars, even
well-respected types, said Patee, though the airline does not plan to have more calendars printed.
Buddha images have joined Barbie dolls and characters from The Simpsons TV cartoon as banned items in Iran.
Authorities are currently confiscating statues and other images of the Buddha from shops in the Iranian capital to stop the
promotion of Buddhism in the country , according to a report in the independent Arman daily. This appears to be the first time that Iranian authorities are showing an opposition to symbols from the East.
Saeed Jaberi Ansari, a censorship
official for the 'protection of Iran's cultural heritage', called the Buddha images symbols of cultural invasion. He said authorities will not permit a specific belief to be promoted through such items.
As I understand, none of customers
cared about Buddhism, they only bought it for decoration, said Reza Sanaei, a shopkeeper who sells the statues.
Indian movie maker Kamal Hassan has reached a settlement with Muslim organizations in southern India and agreed to delete seven scenes from his latest spy thriller Vishwaroopam.
The Tamil Nadu government had banned Hassan's film in the
state following protests from several islamic groups objecting to the film's portrayal of muslim baddies.
Hassan and Muslim leaders reached an agreement after more than five hours of talks. Islamic groups have promised to call off their protests
against the film and withdraw legal cases that they have filed against the filmmaker.
The first all-girl rock band to come out of Kashmir has been forced to cancel their live shows after receiving rape and death threats on Facebook.
Award-winning Pragaash , which means light, have been targetted since December when they won
a prize at their first public performance. Following the concert, comments appeared on Facebook from extremists who said the teenage girls should be raped and then drowned.
The threats seem to be a follow up to a fatwa issued by the Grand Mufti
Bashir-u-Din. The mufti said that music is not good for the society and the girls should focus on inculcating better values. He further said that all the bad things happening in today's society is due to music.
The band members, Farah Deeba,
guitarist Aneeka Khalid and vocalist-guitarist Noma Nazir, refused to talk on the issue but were reportedly shaken by the threats.
Omar Abdullah, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, is one of the most high profile people to speak out in support of
the band. Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah has come out in support of the band He said:
Shame on those who claim freedom of speech via the social media and then use that freedom to threaten girls who have
the right to choose to sing.
He added that police would look into whether any of the people found making threats can be charged.
Director Bejoy Nambiar has decided to remove Lucky Ali's song Ya Hussain from his new film David after some groups objected to
A section of the Muslim community had urged Nambiar to remove the song as they felt it does not befit their definition of propriety. The song accompanied a sequence in the film, which showed a Moharram procession. Nambiar
They (Muslim groups) objected to the song. But they were kind enough to accept my invitation to discuss the matter. After a lengthy discussion, it was decided that it would be better if I didn't hurt
anyone's sentiments. So I've decided to remove the song.
There is also a Hindi Version featuring 3 Davids as opposed to 2 Davids in the Tamil Version
The release of bi-lingual Bollywood action thriller David was banned in Pakistan by the film censor board in Islamabad.
Certain groups within the Indian community recently protested against the film and challenged a sequence in the film
which showed a Moharram procession during a song. Director Bejoy Nambiar invited some of the protesters to view a private screening of the offensive content so that an agreement could be reached. However, after the song titled Ya Hussain was viewed by
the section of the audience in question, Nambiar himself decided to cut it from the film, based on their reactions.
The Chairman of Pakistan's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Rai Akbar told The Express Tribune that the film had been
screened and the board felt that it failed to pass the criteria due to its controversial nature. He waffled:
It was very clear that the film could not be screened in Pakistan, because it failed to pass the basic
criteria given by the censor board. There were several issues with the film, but our main point was that the film was not suitable for viewing in Pakistan.
Local distributor Amjad Rasheed, head of International Multi-Group of
Companies, agrees that there are several moments in the film which portray religion in a negative light:
The CBFC has stopped it because of some covert religious references in the film and I as a distributor completely
stand by their decision.
Vishwaroopam is a 2013 India crime action thriller by Kamal Hassan. With Kamal Hassan, Pooja Kumar and Andrea Jeremiah.
Muslims protesting against Kamal Haasan's film Vishwaroopam hurled
petrol bombs at two theatres in Tamil Nadu where the movie was scheduled to be screened on Wednesday following the High Court staying the ban imposed by the State Government. There are no reports of injuries. Glass panes at the theatres were shattered.
Meanwhile, Kamal Haasan met with representatives of the Muslim community and later told newspersons that he had come to an amicable settlement over the dispute that rose from his using verses from the Quran in Vishwaroopam:
This film is not against Indian Muslims. It is in support of Indian Muslims. There seems to be some confusion over the use of Quranic verses and I am willing to edit out these references.
Meanwhile Madras High Court re-instates ban
The problems for Vishwaroopam increased after the Madras High Court Wednesday set aside the single judge's interim order that allowed screening of the film in the state. Hearing the appeal made by the Tamil Nadu government against the
single judge's order, a two-member high court bench set aside the former's order.
The high court bench chaired by Justice Dharma Rao has nullified the revocation of the ban on the film by Justice K. Venkataraman Tuesday. Rao said:
The film stays banned as of now and it can't be screened across Tamil Nadu.
Meanwhile the Vishwaroopam ban is unacceptable, says chief censor
Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)
chairperson Leela Samson says that the ban on Vishwaroopam is unacceptable:
This is hounding of an artist, a man who is an icon of Tamil Nadu. We are sensitive to issues. The group objecting to 'Vishwaroopam'
have the freedom not to view it. We will object to the language used by the lawyer representing the Tamil Nadu government against the censor board.
It is absolutely unacceptable. We have certified hundreds and thousands of films
but only with 'Vishwaroopam', people find, it has not been done with due diligence? This is an infringement on freedom of expression.
The religious group, United Sikhs, has been 'offended' by an article titled Turban Legend in Australian lads' mag, The Picture .
The article uses an image of a Nihang Sikh, a centuries-old warrior with hands clasped in prayer, as a
back drop for a display of nude models. United Sikhs commented:
The entire magazine displays raunchy nudity and is replete with foul, irreverent and inappropriate language and the tone ridicules the dumalla (turban)
and Nihang Sikhs.
United Sikhs is of the view that the publishers have breached both Federal and State criminal, civil and human rights laws. We are lodging a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission.
United Sikhs is activating its Legal Team to issue formal legal notices to the publishers, printers and distributors and to launch the necessary legal action under Federal, States/Territories laws including the Australian Human Rights
United Sikhs supports and advocates for the democratic right of all Australians to free speech... [BUT] ...Such a right comes tempered with responsibilities to fellow ethnic and culturally diverse
United Sikhs calls on all Australian MPs to stand up and publicly condemn irresponsible and morally offensive publications such as this article and to call on the publishers to exercise common decency, restraint and
responsibility towards fellow ethnic and culturally diverse Australians.
United Sikhs calls on all Australian Governments to review, revise and refine legislation and processes in response to, and to curtail the conduct displayed
in, publications such as this.
Vishwaroopam is a 2013 India crime action thriller by Kamal Hassan. With Kamal Hassan, Pooja Kumar and Andrea Jeremiah.
Kamal Haasan's controversial film Vishwaroopam has been banned from
local cinemas in Malaysia a day after its release following a directive from the Home Ministry, much to the disappointment ethnic Indians in Kuala Lumpur.
Film distribution company Lotus Fivestar AV's director R Ramalingam said the ministry told
him to stop screening the movie on Friday. The film, which opened in Malaysia on Thursday, had played to full cinemas before being removed from the theatres.
Vishwaroopam has been passed by the Central Board of Film Censors but has been
temporarily banned in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu for two weeks amid allegations by the Muslim community that they have been depicted negatively in the movie. Haasan has taken the matter to the Madras High Court and a decision is pending.
film is playing in the state of Kerala but cinema goers are having to brave muslim protests.
Sri Lanka has ordered a delay in the release in favour of a review by censors.
In the UK the film has been passed 12A for cinema release after 11s
of category cuts. The BBFC commented:
Company chose to remove two moments of bloody violence in order to obtain a 12A rating. An uncut 15 rating was available.
VISHWAROOPAM is a thriller in the
Hindi and Tamil languages about a woman unsuspectingly married to one of India's top secret agents. It is rated 12A for moderate violence.
There are a number of fast-paced fights and shoot-outs. Although there are some
heavy blows and bullet impacts, little is shown in terms of injury detail, with the focus instead placed on the spectacular and generally unrealistic fight choreography. For example, in one scene the hero uses a Japanese sword to defeat his attackers,
cutting off one of their hands. There is no detail of this but the hand is briefly seen flying through the air.
VISHWAROOPAM also contains infrequent mild bad language and mild sex references. There is also some sight of hard
drugs, but this occurs within a clear anti drug context.
Presumably the baddies are muslim terrorists and hence the complaints about negative depictions from the muslim community.
In a major relief to film makers, the Madras High Court has lifted the ban imposed on the movie Vishwaroopam by the Tamil Nadu government after it courted controversy over its supposedly anti-Muslim content.
The judgement paves the way for
the screening of the movie however there are indications that the state government may prefer an appeal.
The court reviewed and accepted the film censorship procedures resulting in the UA certificate (PG) issued after 1:08s of censor cuts.
The state's case seemed to be that the decision was taken by an examining committee rather than the full board.
The Tamil Nadu government had banned the screening of the film in the face of opposition by some Muslim outfits, who claimed that the
movie portrayed their community in a negative light. It seems that this claim is due to the spy thriller baddies being fictional muslim terrorists.
Angry Muslims staged a protest against a supposedly Islamophobic film outside Milton Keynes' Cineworld cinema.
The group were protesting the UK release of the controversial Indian film Vishwaroopam , which is currently showing in British
cinemas. Campaigner Mustapha Zamaan felt the film fuelled negative views against Muslim people and should be banned from British cinemas. He said:
We know there's a number of American films against Muslims but it's a
lot different in Indian culture, where they trust film actors like gods. This worship leads to films like this creating racial tension and that's why it's been banned in India. Ideally we want it pulled here too, but we might be a bit late.
We respect freedom of expression... BUT ...this film is hate speech that portrays Muslims negatively.
The Malaysian Authorities on 19 February 2013 lifted the ban imposed on the screening of the Tamil movie Vishwaroopam , directed and produced by Kamal
Haasan for public screening.
Earlier on 24 January 2013 the authorities approved the screening of the movie in Malaysia but following the directives released by the Home Ministry that the content of the movie portrayed Islam in a negative light,
the approval was withdrawn.
The movie received a go-ahead in Malaysia after the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) and the National Censorship Board studied the movie from all aspects including religious and security fronts and gave
a green signal to its screening.
A Cairo tribunal has upheld death sentences passed on seven Egyptian Coptic Christians in absentia for their involvement in the anti-Islam film, The Innocence of Muslims, a judicial source said.
The muslim world descended into violence at protests
against the film when it made the news last September.
All of those sentenced to death are film makers who are currently living in the United States. Terry Jones, an American pastor based in Florida who is said to have promoted the film and who
had also been sentenced to death in absentia, had his sentence reduced to five years in jail by the tribunal.