The book recently banned (pending appeal) by New Zealand book censors has secured distribution in the United States and Canada as a result of the censorship fracas.
American publishing house Polis Books plan to publish Into the River , by Ted Dawe, in hardcover and as an e-book after founder Jason Pinter heard about the New Zealand ban. He told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report :
Any time a book is banned, all it serves to do is get the book more readers. This is how I heard about the book, to begin with - I was actually on holiday with my family, and it made me want to read the book.
I don't think the book deserves to be banned. It's a fantastic book - I wouldn't be publishing it if [I didn't think that].
There are no plans to restrict the age of American readers, although Pinter said Polis would recommend that readers be over 13, as parents tended to buy for their children and might want to be aware of its more sensitive themes.
Into the River won Book of the Year at the 2013 New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards, but was not been picked up for publication outside of New Zealand before its ban.
After a challenge from Christian morality campaign, Family First, the Film and Literature Board of Review placed an interim restriction order on the book last month, meaning no-one in New Zealand could distribute or exhibit the novel. It was pulled off
library and bookshop shelves.
A potential age restriction is being considered and the Film and Literature Board of Review meets this week to discuss the matter.
Two members of the protest group Femen have been arrested after disrupting a controversial Muslim conference in Paris.
The topless women, with the words Nobody makes me submit , painted on their chests -- stormed the stage at the event in Pontoise.
The stunt saw the women, themselves of muslim origin, shout feminist slogans in Arabic and French as two Imams addressed the audience, before they were physically removed from the stage by a number of men, who were seen to be giving the girls a good
The women burst onto the stage as two Imams addressed the audience. Femen leader Inna Shevchenko says the activists received death threats from the audience. Shevchenko told Huffington Post UK the protesters were from Muslim families and had raised their
voices in disgust at this public hate speech. She said:
The Imams were very careful in their speech this time as the public outrage by the event was loud. The Imam was addressing the question of whether women should be beaten or not and said that as Mohammed didn't beat women, the men shouldn't do it as well.
Just a minute later, Femen activists were brutally beaten up by the organisers of the event on the same stage.
The conference, which reportedly addressed the role of women in Islam, was subject to a Change.org petition calling for it to be cancelled. The petition states guests included: Fundamentalist preachers such as Abu Anas Nader, known for having
legitimised marital rape and the wider submission of women.
According to the Telegraph the women were released after being questioned by prosecutors who will continue to investigate the incident. It reports the conference organisers say they will press charges against them. However there is no mention of charges
against the men who assaulted the girls.
New Zealand's book censorship review board has arisen from the dead and slapped an interim ban on a book for the first time since the current law was passed 22 years ago.
The president of the Film and Literature Board of Review, Don Mathieson has issued the Interim Restriction Order banning the sale or distribution of Auckland author Ted Dawe's award-winning novel for teenagers Into the River until the full board can
consider whether the book should be restricted.
The moralist campaigner, Family First director Bob McCoskrie, who requested the review, said the interim order - the first affecting a book under the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993 - showed people could still use the censorship
system. He spouted:
Hopefully we have set a precedent and people start bringing other books to the fore that they are concerned about.
Where a book is targeted at teenagers it needed to be language and theme appropriate.
The order is the latest twist in an extraordinary saga for Into the River , which won the top prize in the 2013 Children's Book Awards. The censor's office first classified it as unrestricted with a note about explicit sex, drugs and offensive language.
The review board later imposed an R14 restriction, but this was overturned last month when deputy chief censor Nic McCully ruled that the book should be unrestricted.
Pro-censorship Mathieson, who argued a minority case for an R18 restriction in 2013, said in the new interim order it was debatable, and a matter of independent public interest, whether the chief censor acted lawfully in overturning the board's
It is now illegal to supply the book to anyone until the full board made a final decision.
The head of the Christian morality campaign, Family First, said he never demanded the book Into the River be banned. Bob
McCoskrie told Radio NZ Family First had wanted censors to reinstate the book's R14 rating, which had been removed last month, and require that the book carry a warning sticker. McCoskrie spouted:
We're not calling for it to be banned and we never have. We'd just like an age restriction in the same way that a movie has an R16 or R18. If you want to blame anyone for the book being banned, blame the censor's office because they went against due
It has sexually explicit material and it's a book that's got the c-word nine times, the f-word 17 times and s-h-i-t 16 times.
A young person's book that has been restricted to people aged 14 and over for two years has been cleared for unrestricted release after an unusual appeal by librarians.
Deputy chief censor Nic McCully ruled the R14 restriction on Into The River, byTed Dawe, was an arbitrary and unfair breach of the right to freedom of expression.
But Bob McCoskrie, director of the morality campaign group Family First director, who originally complained about the book to the Film and Literature Board of Review, has appealed to the board again, claiming it is laced with detailed descriptions of
sex acts, coarse language and scenes of drug-taking .
Dawe explained that he wrote the book for teenage boys who don't read books, who come from working-class and possibly Maori backgrounds and who don't have books that speak to them. It's told in quite a confronting language and I don't mince words in
terms of what kids do.
Dawe praised librarians at Auckland City Libraries who applied for the R14 restriction to be reconsidered. He said:
Librarians - they really are the warriors for books I had not given up hope, but I didn't really believe they would succeed.
Auckland Libraries collections manager Louise LaHatte said:
The decision of the Board of Review was based on the fact that it dealt with bullying and racism, and we considered that children should be able to read about topics like that because it will help them understand and make sense of their own experiences.
The chronology of the book censorship is as follows:
June: Into The River wins top prize in NZ Post Children's Book Awards.
July: Internal Affairs Department submits it to the censor after complaints from the public.
September: Censor classifies it M (unrestricted) with a descriptive note contains sex scenes, offensive language and drug use .
December: Review Board partially upholds Family First appeal and imposes R14 restriction.
March: Auckland Libraries ask the censor to reconsider the classification.
August 14: Censor reclassifies the book unrestricted with no descriptive note.
August 18: Family First appeals to Review Board again.
The United Arab Emirates has passed an anti-hatred law which outlaws insulting religion.
Gulf News reports that the legislation makes illegal any acts that stoke religious hatred and any form of expression that insults religion.
The law, passed by decree at the end of July, prohibits any act that would be considered as insulting God, His prophets or apostles or holy books or houses of worship or graveyards.
Punishments include 10 year jail terms and substantial fines. Provisions in the legislation include a prohibition on expressing doubt about the existence of God.
The UK's National Secular Society president Terry Sanderson commented:
The UAE are using anti-discrimination legislation as a cover to criminalise all manner of dissent- including blasphemy. It is dispiriting, and sadly unsurprising to see yet another crackdown on religious freedom and freedom of speech in the Islamic
As with the recent comments from the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Islamic Affairs , the language of human rights, freedom and tolerance are subverted in order to further an Islamist agenda, in this case under the guise of an anti-discrimination statute. In
fact, this legislation insults the concept of equality by creating discrimination against non-believers.
It's important that attention is drawn to laws like these, particularly given that so many Islamist regimes are intent on enacting global laws against the 'defamation of religion'.
These attempts often cynically hijack the vocabulary of human rights, something which we also see from many groups and activists in the West who lobby for de facto blasphemy legislation.
Abulkasim al-Jaberi was arrested in November when television cameras showed him spouting a stream of profanity aimed at the king, Queen
Maxima and the royal house. Bizarrely he had been protesting about what he perceived was an insult. In particularly he felt that the Dutch Black Pete historical children's figure, was a racist insult.
Al-Jaberi, a long time critic of the black-faced sidekick that appears at the traditional gift-giving festival of Saint Nicholas, was handed a 500-euro fine which he refused to pay.
Prosecutors then said that he would face trial based on a lese-majeste or injured monarch law harking back to 1881, which makes deliberately insulting the king or royal house punishable with a prison sentence of up to five years or a
This decision to prosecute him for insulting King Willem-Alexander has sparked 'outrage' in liberal-minded Netherlands and prompted prosecutors to re-evaluate the case based on a century-old law.
An unknown person spray-painted Al-Jaberi's words on the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, while Twitter saw a stream of similar expletives being tweeted. Online, in newspapers and even in parliament many denounced the lese-majeste law as archaic and hardly in
tune with modern-day rights.
Prosecutors announced this week that they were withdrawing the summons for Al-Jaberi's appearance in an Amsterdam court on May 27 for further investigation , but the charge itself has not been dropped. Prosecutors pulled the summons after
Al-Jaberi's lawyer filed an objection amid an public avalanche of outrage.
Amsterdam Prosecutor's Office representative Willem Nijkerk explained: I was surprised by the emotional reaction. We didn't see this coming.
Islamic authorities have set new censorship rules for stage shows and music concerts by foreign personalities.
The new rules set out what kind of personality is required, what kind of artistes may perform, the kind of jokes to be allowed, and forbids extreme laughter or being facetious about serious and mournful matters.
An artiste should have a noble personality and be of good morals, and be dressed decently, covering their aurat. Men and women are now not allowed to interact on stage.
Performances, songs, events and music videos must not insult religious sensitivities, the country and any racial group. Symbolism that went against Islamic teachings and faith was forbidden. Jokes should be sparing, and "toe the line".
Only virtues such as "goodness and pure values , and repentance should be promoted in song lyrics, with music that was positive, bringing peace, and not evoking negative emotions that contradict Islamic teachings.
The rules were relased by Jakim, the federal Islamic affairs department, which has religious authority in the Federal Territories. The new rules were approved by a national fatwa convention in February.
They are not binding in law but federal Islamic affairs minister Jamil Khir Baharom had previously said that approving authorities were advised to ask event organisers to abide by Jakim's rules.
Two Turkish journalists have been charged with inciting public hatred and insulting people's religious
values , after publishing the cover of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that depicted the religious character Mohammed.
The two columnists, Ceyda Karan and Hikmet Cetinkaya, work for the pro-secular Cumhuriyet newspaper which published a selection of Hebdo's images shortly after the magazine was attacked by muslim terrorists.
Although Cumhuriyet did not publish the image of Mohammed, Karan and Cetinkaya included pictures of the magazineit in their columns, prompting prosecutors to launch an investigation after Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his government would not allow
insults to our Prophet .
Karan told Reuters:
We are being threatened with prison for defending free speech. To threaten a journalist because he or she printed a drawing that does not include an insult can only come from a religious, authoritarian government. Neither of us will abandon our defence
of free speech.
The French channel TV5Monde which is internationally broadcast has been hacked by the muslim terrorists of Islamic State.
TV broadcasts were halted for 3 hours and simultaneously the channel's website and Facebook page were hacked.
The hackers posted documents on TV5Monde's Facebook page purporting to be the identity cards and CVs of relatives of French soldiers involved in anti-Isis operations, along with threats against the troops.
Soldiers of France, stay away from the Islamic State! You have the chance to save your families, take advantage of it. The CyberCaliphate continues its cyberjihad against the enemies of Islamic State.
The hackers had accused the French president, Francois Hollande, of having committed an unforgivable mistake by getting involved in a war that serves no purpose . That's why the French received the gifts of Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher
The regional government of German state of Baden-Württemberg said it is considering relaxing the state's ban on dancing during Easter and other Christian
The holiday law, often called the Tanzverbot, or dance ban, is present in some form in all German states. It forces nightclubs to close and in some cases bans live music in rooms where food and drink is served. Punishments vary, but violators can risk
fines of up to 1,500 Euros.
Party-central city states such as Berlin have relaxed the law in recent years, but even it doesn't allow dance events to start before 9pm on Good Friday. Baden-Württemberg, a state with a higher Catholic population than most, is among the strictest
states, and bans dancing throughout Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Saturday, until 3am on Easter Sunday. It also imposes the ban from Christmas Eve until 3am on 26 December.
The church is not impressed at the state's moves to relax the law. A spokesman for the Rottenburg-Stuttgart diocese told the Stuttgarter Zeitung:
As far as the Catholic church is concerned, Good Friday is not open to debate,
Bavaria has already announced that it would not be changing its rules. Currently the dance ban there lasts four whole days at Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday, and is also imposed on other Christian holy days.
Russia's government has fired the head of a theater in Siberia over an opera production that wound up the Russian Orthodox Church and religious activists.
Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky dismissed Boris Mezdrich as director of the Novosibirsk State Opera and Ballet Theater over an updated staging of Richard Wagner's 19th-century opera Tannhauser . The production portrayed the title character as a
director making a film about Jesus visiting Venus's erotic grotto.
Mezdrich's dismissal was announced as thousands of people demonstrated outside the theater in the center of Novosibirsk, saying the production was offensive to Christians and reflected the values of a decadent West.
The protests reflected what liberals say is an oppressive atmosphere in Russia, where President Vladimir Putin has portrayed his country as a bulwark against an immoral West and allowed the Russian Orthodox Church increasing sway over everyday life
despite the legal separation of church and state.
A local Russian Orthodox cleric filed a lawsuit last month against Mezdrich and the director of the Tannhauser production, Timofei Kulyabin, accusing them of desecrating Christ's image and offending believers. A court in Novosibirsk cleared Mezdrich and
Kulyabin on March 10, saying there was no evidence they violated the law.
An outdoor cinema in Adelaide has cancelled a planned screening of Fifty Shades of Grey after whinges from the Australian
Australian Christian Lobby claimed that it was concerned the film about a sadomasochistic relationship may be seen by children who are outside the cinema.
Australian Christian Lobby managing director Lyle Shelton claimed to the Advertiser that the movie tended to glorify sexual violence as being acceptable:
The message of the film is bad enough, let alone the potential for children or young people to walk past and be exposed to sexual violence against women.
The cinema said that it recognised concerns children may hear or see parts of the film from outside the confines of the cinema, but said it was built to avoid that issue, including the use of 2m high fencing and additional fencing panels to block views.
A number of movies rated MA15 have been shown at the cinema already this year, without complaints.
Twitter employees and co-founder Jack Dorsey are being threatened by supporters of Islamic State.
In an online post jihadists around the world are called upon to attack and kill Twitter staff over the company's efforts to block and ban Islamic State messages. The post says:
You started this failed war. We told you from the beginning it's not your war, but you didn't get it and kept closing our accounts on Twitter, but we always come back. But when our lions [brave men] come and take your breath, you will never come back to
Although it is not possible to identify who wrote the post, Twitter seems to be taking it seriously.
Twitter has been clamping down on IS activity on its social network, in an attempt to stop the group using it as a tool for recruitment and promotion.
A prominent American blogger of Bangladeshi origin was hacked to death with machetes by unidentified assailants in Dhaka with the atheist writer's
family saying he had received numerous threats from muslim extemists.
The body of Avijit Roy, founder of Mukto-Mona (Free-mind) blog site which champions liberal secular writing, was found covered in blood after the attack which also left his wife critically wounded.
Roy is the second Bangladeshi blogger to have been murdered in two years and the fourth writer to have been attacked since 2004.
Muslim extremist groups have long demanded the public execution of atheist bloggers and sought new laws to combat writing critical of Islam.
Roy's father said the writer, a US citizen, had received a number of threatening emails and messages on social media from hardliners unhappy with his writing. Ajoy Roy told AFP that his son was a secular humanist and has written about ten books
including his most famous, Biswasher Virus (Virus of Faith).
Roy's killing also triggered strong condemnation from his fellow writers and publishers, who lamented the growing religious conservatism and intolerance in Bangladesh.
The French Catholic Church has declined to sign a declaration by the group Reporters without Borders (RSF) challenging faith groups to
pledge unreserved support for free speech or face public pressure to do so.
RSF president Christophe Deloire proposed the declaration after religious leaders, reacting to last month's terrorist attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, backed free speech ...BUT... said it had to be exercised responsibly.
Nobody can impose his concept of the sacred on others, says the declaration, which says some people might be offended by free speech ...BUT... this cannot justify limiting any opinion, even an irreverent one. church-state separation.
This declaration seems to suspect religions of being not very active in supporting free speech, if not actually opposed to it, said Marseille Archbishop Georges Pontier, president of the bishops' conference.
The Church, which reiterated its support for the principle of free speech after the attack, [...BUT...] does not sign declarations it has not helped draft, he said, adding it was regrettable the text was addressed only to religious leaders
and not other civil society personalities.
The heads of France's main Muslim, Protestant and Buddhist groups signed the declaration. Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia said he agreed in principle to it ...BUT... did not sign without all the other religious leaders.
The Director of Canterbury Museum in New Zealand has made the news for displaying the iconic Cradle of Fifth t-shirt bearing the slogan: Jesus is a cunt. The front of the t-shirt is titled Vestal Masturbation , which aptly describes the
The t-shirt is displayed in an adults only area of the T-shirts Unfolding exhibition at the museum.
Director Anthony Wright says they're trying to tell the story of T-shirts within street art culture, without unduly censoring the content.
We've got to balance that up against anyone that might be offended, and we've bent over backwards to make sure that anyone who might be offended won't come into contact with anything offensive. It's a tiny part of the overall exhibition.
Auckland University's senior lecturer Dr Geoff Kemp says though he doesn't like the t-shirt, the way it's presented is acceptable.
Because it's now appearing in an exhibition context, it's trying to tell a story in a more reflective, educational way. It seems a different context to the idea of it just being worn out on the street.
The Anglican Church has inevitably condemned the exhibition. Bishop Victoria Matthews says this should be about common decency. She makes a few leaps of credibility and spouts:
What's the line between art and pornography, and what is the line between communication and inciting violence.
The christian moralist group, Family First said through National director Bob McCoskrie that whether its on display in a museum or worn by a member of the public, it's offensive and shouldn't be allowed.
The public has access to it, and they shouldn't be confronted by this kind of offensive and unnecessary material.
Police in Copenhagen have killed a muslim terrorist suspected of attacks that left two dead and five injured in a terrorist attack in the Danish capital.
The first attack took place at a free speech event where a Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks who depicted the religious character Mohammed as a dog was speaking. Vilks, who has been threatened several times before , hid in a cold room during the
shooting with Helle Merete Brix, one of the event organisers. There is nobody that thinks it is pleasant when somebody tries to attack you. We sat in the cold room holding hands and telling jokes. For what else can you do in such a situation? she
The second attack was at a synagogue.
Each attack left one person dead, with three police officers injured at the Art, Blasphemy and Free Speech debate and two at the synagogue.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark's prime minister Tweeted:
This is not a battle between Muslims and non-Muslims. This is a fight between freedom and a dark ideology
The man suspected of killing two people in shootings in Copenhagen was on Sunday identified in several Danish media outlets as Omar El-Hussein. Ekstra-Bladet, a Danish tabloid, reported that the 22-year-old was released from jail only two weeks ago after
serving a term for aggravated assault.
Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship, said:
The use of violence on a gathering exploring the intersection of religious and artistic freedom should send shivers down our spines.
The Charlie Hebdo murders inspired intensified public debate about free speech and its value. Many people who had previously given little thought to free speech were drawn for the first time into online discussions or attended events to help them get a
better understanding of the issues. It would be terrible if violent acts such as that in Copenhagen shut down free speech even further.
The ability to express ourselves freely, to attend meetings and debates without fear of violence, is fundamental to a free society. Free speech must be protected.
This is not just about cartoons or offence. If violence is allowed to win, free speech -- and all of our ability to be who we are, practice what religion we like, have relationships with whomever we want -- dies.
Comment: Copenhagen: the bloody, murderous 'No Platforming' of blasphemers
Reporters Without Borders is asking French religious leaders to sign a statement declaring that:
Everyone is free to express criticism of any system of political, philosophical or religious thought.
No one's concept of what is sacred may be imposed on others.
The Declaration on Freedom of Expression is part of the Freedom of expression has no religion campaign.
The push comes amid widespread fears about de facto Islamic blasphemy laws in Europe, and after the Pope made clear his view that freedom of expression has limits where matters of faith and religion are concerned.
The campaign is asking leaders of many different faiths to sign the statement, including Muslims, Christians and Jews. Reporters Without Borders state that they have sought the support of representatives of France's leading religious organizations
and that several senior figures have already signed the statement, including Dalil Boubakeur, head of the Paris Mosque and the French Council of Muslim Worship; Francois Clavairoly, who leads the Protestant Federation and Marie-Stella Boussemart,
president of the French Buddhist Union.
Grand Rabbi Haam Korsia is said to support the declaration in principle, and is calling for a collective response from all members of the French Conference of Religious Leaders , including the French Conference of Bishops and the French
Assembly of Orthodox Bishops.
Reporters Without Borders explain that their goal is:
To draw attention to the close relationship between freedom of expression and religious freedom and to combat the temptation to restrict freedom of expression.
Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director for Morality in Media, spouts some gloriously ludicrous piffle about the MPAA R rating for Fifty Shades of Grey:
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) gave the film, Fifty Shades of Grey , an R rating, which severely undermines the violent themes in the film and does not adequately inform parents and patrons of the film's content. The MPAA warns that
there is strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity. What the term unusual does not account for is the coercion, sexual violence, female inequality, and BDSM themes from which the entire Fifty Shades
plot is based. Such a vague evaluation puts viewers at risk, sending the message that humiliation is pleasurable and that torture should be sexually gratifying.
The new extended trailer for the film calls it a fairy tale which just further misleads the public into thinking this is simply a love story. The MPAA ratings and fairy tale label mask the true themes of humiliation, manipulation, abuse,
and degradation of women.
Sexual violence and sexual exploitation are at an all time high, permeating our culture by way of hardcore pornography and now praised by films like Fifty Shades of Grey .
We'd like to change the MPAA rating for Fifty Shades of Grey to read:
Promotes torture as sexually gratifying, graphic nudity, encourages stalking and abuse of power, promotes female inequality, glamorizes and legitimizes violence against women.
Is this the description of a movie you'd promote to your son or daughter? What about yourself?
Speaking about his local cinema in Fremont, Michigan showing Fifty Shades of Grey, the president
of the American Decency Association spouted:
It's far more than so-called entertainment. This is not entertainment. This is not about entertainment. This is about pornography. The movie flows out of a very degrading, damaging book.
Bill Johnson said he hasn't read any of the books but he believes the sexually explicit content has no place in a Fremont theater:
We are merely doing what parents, and grandparents have historically done for many, many years, over the course of time. And that it's try to defend, try to protect, try to uphold that which builds up and to stand against that which degrades and
But of course Johnson ludicrously claimed that his group isn't trying to stop freedom of speech:
I'm not saying [the theater's owner] doesn't have the freedom to show this movie. He does ...BUT... with freedom characteristically in this country, historically with freedom is also responsibility.
With the controversial movie Fifty Shades of Grey set to be released in theaters this week, a national medical association
says the film is yet another example of the increasingly dangerous glorification of violence and sex in the media.
Dr. Michelle Cretella, vice president of the American College of Pediatricians, tells OneNewsNow, Not only is the movie normalizing sadomasochism, but it's even romanticizing it or making it look like something exciting, erotic, and desirable. So it's
almost even beyond normalization. Read his medical warning here .
Both movie theaters and moviegoers can stand up to this kind of disgusting content and choose not to show or pay to see the film. 1MM and AFA are publicizing a social media movement that urges the public to donate $50 or more to a domestic abuse shelter
that helps women rather than spending $50 to see Fifty Shades of Grey which glamorizes the abuse of women. The money you would spend on a night out to see the movie will go towards serving victims of abusive relationships. Hollywood doesn't need
your money, but abused women do. Read more here . The twitter hash tag is #50dollarsnot50shades.
For couples who still want to have a date night this weekend, 1MM highly recommends you consider seeing Old Fashioned, which also hits box offices this weekend. Even though this film isn't intended for children, it is a refreshing option for couples this
Valentine's weekend. Old Fashioned highlights courtship and authentic romance that is born out of respect and admiration, not focused on sexual pleasure that causes humiliation and pain for another person. Read the movie review for this romantic film
here . It is obvious which film glorifies God and which one does not.
An artwork depicting high-heeled shoes on Islamic prayer mats has been removed from an exhibition
after warnings of possible muslim violence in the wake of the Paris attacks.
The French-Algerian artist, Zoulikha Bouabdellah, withdrew the work from an exhibition in a northern Paris suburb with a large Muslim population after an Islamic group told local authorities it could provoke uncontrollable, irresponsible incidents
Ms Bouabdellah has replaced the artwork, Silence , previously exhibited in Paris, New York, Berlin and Madrid, with a video installation showing belly-dancing to the French national anthem, with swirling red, white and blue shawls symbolising the
The French artist Orlan, who also has a work on display in the all-female exhibition in Clichy La Garenne, commented on Facebook:
I protest against all pressures and/or threats that would result in a peaceful art work being pulled from an exhibition, be it due to a Christian group, a Muslim group, or a group of other beliefs.
Orlan said the removal of the artwork made a mockery of the principle of freedom of expression only weeks after the Charlie Hebdo attack and a huge solidarity march in Paris in which David Cameron and some 50 other world leaders took part.
Iran has launched a cartoon competition centred on the theme of Holocaust denial in reaction to the cartoons of Mohammed that were published in Charlie Hebdo.
The competition, organised by Iran's House of Cartoon and the Sarcheshmeh Cultural Complex, is offering a cash prize of $12,000 to the overall winner, $8,000 for second place, and $5,000 for third place, according to the Tehran Times.
The winning artworks will be displayed at the Palestine Museum of Contemporary art in the Iranian capital of Tehran, as well as several other locations across the city.