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2013: Oct-Dec

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Update: Miserable Life in India...

Taslima Nasreen's writing has again been banned over fears of violent protest

Link Here20th December 2013
Full story: Blasphemy in India...Hurting religious sentiments
T he planned launch of an Indian television serial scripted by a Bangladeshi-feminist author Taslima Nasreen has been scrapped after several Muslim groups demanded that her writings be banned.

Dussahobas (Miserable Life Together) , a Bengali serial written by Taslima Nasreen, was to go on air on Thursday, but the TV channel behind the programme was forced to defer its plan after local police said the serial could stir unrest.

Syed Mohammad Noorur Rahman Barkati, an Imam of a Kolkata mosque, told Al Jazeera.

In her writings, she routinely seeks to ridicule Islam and vilify our revered Prophet Mohammed. In this serial, she might come up with something to show Islam in bad light again.

Nasreen's writing became well known after she was forced to flee Bangladesh in 1994 after her novel Lajja (Shame) was banned. She allegedly called for changes in the Quran, antagonizing sections of the country's population that prompted death threats against her.

Ishita Surana, spokesperson of Channel Aat, the Kolkata-based channel that commissioned the serial, said the serial did not have anything that hurts the religious sentiments of Muslims.

Nasreen insists her script talks only of women who became victims of dowry, forced marriage, rape, prostitution and other social evils. she explained to Indian news-agency PTI:

Unlike other TV serials which glorify women as being submissive or relegate them to the role of housewives, this serial portrays them as strong individuals...and how they keep fighting for their rights,



Update: Low Cost Court Action...

Spanish judge bans the 2013 Ryanair bikini calendar

Link Here13th December 2013
Full story: Ryanair Adverts...Ryanair wind up advert censors
A Spanish judge has belatedly banned adverts for the 2013 Ryanair calendar featuring female flight attendants in bikinis.

The judge claimed that the calendar, released each year by the low-cost airline in support of charitable causes, was sexist. Ryanair said it would appeal the decision.

Adverts for the calendar prompted an appeal by a gender extremist group, and this week a court in the southern city of Malaga ruled that the adverts treated the women as objects and were discriminatory, Spanish media reported.

The judge reportedly banned the airline from using the pictures and ordered it to publish the judgement at its own expense.

The calendar raised over 100,000 euros for a Polish charity, the TVN Foundation, to help sick children in Poland.



Sticking Their Noses Into Other People's Business...

Catholics have a whinge at traditional statuettes featuring defecating celebrities

Link Here3rd December 2013
  The northeastern region of Catalonia has a tradition of producing caganer statuettes, which depict bare-bottomed celebrities defecating.

The ceramic figurines have been sold in Catalonia since the 18th century to be placed in Christmas nativity scenes for good luck.

But some Roman Catholics were outraged by one of this year's subjects: the Virgin of Montserrat, a black statue of the Virgin Mary and infant Christ. Believed to date back at least to the Middle Ages, the Madonna stands in the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey, near Barcelona.  The abbey's prior, Ignassi Fossas, wrote in a letter:

Using the image of the Virgin of Montserrat for this grotesque figurine seems to us a sign of insensitivity and lack of respect to many people who could feel their beliefs are hurt.

A Roman Catholic association, e-Cristianos , said it planned to sue the manufacturer for attacking the respect and dignity of religious symbols.



Update: Banned Words...

UN official tells Malaysia to stop monopolising the religious character name, Allah

Link Here26th November 2013
Full story: Oh My God...Only muslims can use the word Allah in Malaysia
Malaysia should reverse a ban on a Christian newspaper using the word Allah to refer to the christian religious character called God, a UN official said about a decision that fanned religious tension in the mainly Muslim country.

The UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, said in statement:

Freedom of religion or belief is a right of human beings, not a right of the state. It cannot be the business of the state to shape or reshape religious traditions, nor can the state claim any binding authority in the interpretation of religious sources or in the definition of the tenets of faith.



Religious Censor...

Sikhs call for representation on India's film censorship board

Link Here25th November 2013
The Sikh religious body, Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandhak Committee, has demanded inclusion in India's Film Censorship Board for vetting any scenes relating to the Sikh community.

The group claims that such a step would prevent religious 'outrage' by being able to censor scenes that hurt the sentiments of Sikhs.

SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar said he had written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this regard:

Since the Prime Minister is a Sikh, he can understand the sentiments of the community better. ]



Updated: Family First New Zealand Recommends...

Lady Gaga advert on the back of buses

Link Here11th November 2013
Full story: Lady GaGa...Winding up the nutters with sex and religion
Moralist campaigners at Family First NZ have written to the Howick and Eastern Bus Company asking them to remove a supposedly objectionable billboard on the back of their buses. The image advertising Lady Gaga's latest album features the partly-covered naked singer in a provocative pose. Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ spouted:

We expect this raunch culture from shock artists like Lady Gaga, but to display it on a public bus often used as a school bus is unacceptable. The image simply objectifies women as sex objects and is part of the agenda of a pornified music world.

These images should not be 'broadcast' on street billboards and school buses. It is offensive and inappropriate and many parents will not want their children being exposed to larger-than-life porn images. It's difficult to have 'parental controls' over the images on a bus driving in front of you.

The music industry wants to sexualise and objectify women. But advertisers, and the Advertising Standards Authority, should be doing everything it can to reject this.

We are asking the Howick and Eastern Bus Company to show social responsibility.

Update: Advert to be withdrawn

11th November 2013. See  article from

An Auckland bus company has asked its advertising agency to remove a racy Lady Gaga billboard from the back of its buses.

Family First NZ said it has received notification from the Howick and Eastern Bus Company that they have asked their advertising agency to remove a billboard advertising the popstar's latest album from the back of its buses.

We're stoked that Howick and Eastern Bus Company have responded to the concerns of families and have shown social responsibility, Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ, said.



Approved Politically Correct...

Swedish cinemas introduce a kite mark for gender equality in movies

Link Here7th November 2013
Four Swedish cinemas: Rio Cinema (Stockholm), Roy (Gothenburg), mirror (Malmo ), Red Mill (Helsingborg) that are run by the National Organisation People's Houses and Parks have introduced a politically correct approval symbol for movies.

The launch of the scheme is in partnership with WIFT (Women in Film and Television) and Fair Service.

An A-labeled film is a small indication that in this film, there are two women with names, talking to each other about something other than men.

The so-called Bechdel test has its origins in a 1985 storyline in Alison Bechdel's comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. It may sound like a low bar. But several big name films have not been 'approved'.

Ellen Tejle , who runs Stockholm's Rio, one of  the participating cinemas said:

The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, all Star Wars movies, The Social Network, Pulp Fiction and all but one of the Harry Potter movies fail this test.

The Guardian adds a number of current releases and Oscar contenders that fail the test: Alfonso Cuaro'n's Gravity , despite its starring role for Sandra Bullock; Lee Daniels' The Butler, about a presidential servant and the civil rights movement; and Captain Phillips , Paul Greengrass's piracy drama, which involves an all-male gang of pirates attacking an all-male shipping crew.

But of course a seal of political correct approval may be a mixed blessing. It may be that some cinema goers use it to identify films best avoided.



Successfully Ridiculed...

Hindus complain about an drawing of Ganesha used in a newspaper cartoon about cricket administration

Link Here30th October 2013
South African Hindu organisations are 'outraged' about a cartoon by Jonathan Zapiro Shapiro depicting their religious character, the god of success, Lord Ganesha.

The Star reported that the organisations described the cartoon as a flagrant disrespect and denigration of our glorious Hindu faith .

The cartoon, carried on Shapiro's website on Sunday and in the Sunday Times, alludes to shenanigans amongst cricket administrators.

The Hindu Dharma Sabha has announced that he will officially complain to the grandly titled, Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities.

Dharma Sabha president Ram Maharaj told The Star he had been 'inundated' with calls from angry Hindus.

Update: Zed Grade Whinge

5th November 2013. From

President of Universal Society of Hinduism, the perennial whinger, Rajan Zed, said in a statement from the US that Zapiro's cartoon of Ganesha was hurtful and a trivialisation of a highly revered deity.

Zed urged Sunday Times editor, Phylicia Oppelt, as well as cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro to issue a formal apology immediately and remove the cartoon from their websites. He also urged the Hindus on the Times Media Group board to resign if no apology was offered.

 The Sunday Times and Zapiro said they would not apologise for the cartoon.



Update: Tit for Tat...

Afghan clerics refuse to condemn suicide bombing unless TV is censored more

Link Here27th October 2013
Full story: TV Censorship in Afghanistan...Afghanistan TV, an unsuprising target for censors
Afghanistan's muslim Ulema Council claims that  immoral shows on television pose a greater danger to the country than do suicide bombers.

The spokesman of the council, Faroq Husseini, warned that if immoral shows were not prevented the clerics would not denounce suicide attacks any more.



I Ham Outraged...

A few trivial tweets about a poster for ham in Capri

Link Here25th October 2013
An advertisement billboard is causing 'outrage' on the Italian island of Capri. It shows a couple of slices of the famous Parma ham placed strategically on the rump of a naked woman.

Above the image on the advertising poster for the company Onesto Ghirardi is the slogan, I Ham.

A few trivial postings on social networks claimed that the advert is degrading women and pointing out the a woman's body is not a piece of meat.

A local councilor in Capri, Anita de Pascale, reportedly asked the mayor to immediately ban the billboard. She told La Repubblica newspaper: The image is detrimental to the dignity of women .

However the authorities in Parma have not so far intervened.



Update: Love your neighbour...unless he does something you don't like...

Philippines police arrests adult magazine editors after whinges from baptist preachers

Link Here 25th October 2013
Several men's magazines including Playboy have been busted for supposed obscenity in the Philippines.

Editors for Playboy, Maxim, FHM, and others were dragged into the Manila Regional Trial Court for printing supposedly lewd photos. They were later released on bail.

The action stemmed from joint complaints filed by pastors and preachers of Bible Baptist Churches in Metro Manila, led by Manila District Representative Bienvenido Abante, and a senior pastor of the Metropolitan Bible Baptist Church.

According to the complaint, the publications contained pornographic, erotic or indecent pictures that exhibited nude or semi-nude bodies, sexual acts and private parts of male and female bodies with no educational, artistic, cultural or scientific value from September 2007 to July 2008.

The complainants reportedly said that the magazines' photos were clearly and purely intended or calculated to draw lust, stimulate sexual drive, excite impure imagination or arouse prurient interest .

Playboy and FHM, disputed the charges and said the complainants made a sweeping statement of culpability based only portions of publications without directly pointing to the acts of each of those charged. Playhouse also argued and said it has never published nudity, private parts of men and women, and cannot be considered obscene. Maxim futher stated that scantily clad photos of actresses were tastefully done and did not depict any sexual act or nudity.



Update: Even in a Burkha...

Rihanna Manages to Offend

Link Here21st October 2013
Full story: Rihanna...Winding up the moralists

Even dressed head-to-toe in a hooded black jumpsuit Rihanna has managed to provoke 'outrage'.

She posted images on her Instagram account showing her posing at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in UAE, where she is currently on tour.

Despite a very conscious effort to tone down her usual attention-grabbing-garb, she is seen sporting crimson lipstick and wearing dark red fingernails while adopting a series of trademark sultry, pouting poses that some have deemed disrespectful for a place of worship.

Her picture prompted a few trivial outraged tweets such as the whatever she does is wrong tweet:

Rihanna may look gorgeous and all but she's covering her head out of fashion not out of respect for the mosque, wrote one user.



Highly Offensive Attempt to Censor Newspapers...

Muslim group attempts to get South African press ombudsman to ban terms such as 'islamist militants'

Link Here18th October 2013

South Africa's press ombudsman has declined a request to ban the use of the words Islamist militants and militant Islam from newspaper reports.

An organisation called United Muslim Nations International claimed that the use of terms like Islamist militants and militant Islam was defamatory and highly offensive.

Ombudsman Johan Retief replied in a letter that he could not instruct publications on editorial content or policy as that amounted to censorship. Retief did not feel the terms in question crossed ethical borders .

Sheik Faarooq al Mohammedi of the Muslim group said it would appeal against the decision.

According to the independent news website WND, Al Mohammedi is the author of a 23-page booklet containing a plan to wipe Christianity from the face of the earth .



Update: Judgement Day...

Malaysia bans christian newspaper from using the religious character name, Allah

Link Here14th October 2013
Full story: Oh My God...Only muslims can use the word Allah in Malaysia
Catholic weekly The Herald will not be allowed to use the word Allah to refer to the Christian God, ruled the Court of Appeal.

The panel, chaired by Justice Mohamed Apandi Ali, overturned a High Court decision and unanimously ruled in favour of the Government's appeal, saying that the minister had not acted in any way that required a judicial review.

The court also found that there had been sufficient material considered by the minister in taking action under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984. The Judgement reads:

Our common finding is that the usage of Allah is not an integral part of the Christian faith. We cannot find why the parties are so adamant on the usage of the word.

The court claimed that such usage of the word would cause confusion and that in the interest of supposed public safety, chose to grant the Government's appeal.

The welfare of an individual or group must yield to the interest of society at large, said Justice Mohamed Apandi, adding that this should be read alongside the constitutional freedom of religion.

The weekly, published in four languages, has been using the word Allah as a translation for God in its Malay-language section, but the Government argued that Allah should be used exclusively only by Muslims.



Family First New Zealand Recommends...

Into the River by Ted Dawe

Link Here6th October 2013
The New Zealand children's book of the year, Into The River by Ted Dawe, will carry a warning that it is only suitable for readers aged 16 years and older.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification said in its findings on the novel, saying people might be offended but the book would remain unrestricted. It recommends, however, that the book be read by a mature audience.

Information and policy manager Kate Ward said there were already young-adult books with similar sexual descriptions, and to place a restriction on Dawe's novel would be unfair.

Dawe welcomed the decision, saying it was based on a thorough and expansive analysi

Into The River includes detailed descriptions of sex acts, strong language and scenes of drug-taking. It claimed top prize at this year's New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards. The award organisers had sent explicit content stickers to all booksellers after the book won the supreme award.

However some morality campaigners are not happy with the over 16 warning. and have been lobbying the government for the book to be age restricted. Now New Zealand's Secretary for Internal Affairs has approved Family First NZ's application for leave to apply to the Film and Literature Board of Review to review the classification of the book.

Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ, whinged:

The Office of Film and Literature Classification originally reviewed the book, which contains explicit sexual content, highly offensive language and other adult themes, after Family First NZ laid an official complaint. The OFLC acknowledged that it's suitable for mature audiences 16 years of age and over, but they have made no requirement to warn parents about the content. They say it is up to marketers and booksellers to take the responsibility of warning parents and caregivers -- something the OFLC won't do.

The OFLC bases their judgment extensively on those with a vested interest in the book or its award -- for example, the author, the chief judge of the Awards, and a blogger who just happened to have 'worked on in its initial assessment and editing phase'.

They also argue that a low number of calls to the Classification Office suggests there's little objection. They fail to mention the widespread condemnation by many in the media including the NZ Herald editorial, and they also fail to acknowledge the massive protest to NZ Post calling on them to withdraw the Award given to the book, and that some bookstores refused to sell the book.

Family First have kindly counted occurrences of strong language in the book and took exception to OFLC report:

The word 'fuck' and its derivatives are used occasionally and the word 'cunt' is seen once. The language is not likely to cause harm. These are words and terms that have relatively common usage amongst teenage boys.

However Family First contend that 'cunt' is used nine times and  'fuck' is used 17 times, 'shit' 16 times, and 'cock' 10 times.

Family First is seeking clear warning labels for parents to be displayed on the cover of the book and for the book to be banned from school and public libraries. They have also asked NZ Post to withdraw the Award given to the book.

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