Religious Watch

 2018

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Idyll Idols...

Religious vandalism as the Maldives authorities dismantle coral reef artwork


Link Here 7th October 2018
A new sculptural work, Coralarium, created by artist and environmentalist Jason deCaires Taylor, was demolished last week after it was deemed anti-Islamic. The semi-submerged artwork was criticised by religious leaders and scholars in the Maldives, where Islam is the official religion. The depiction of human figures in art is discouraged under Islamic law.

The government ordered the destruction of the artwork, after a court ruled it to be a threat to Islamic unity and the peace and interests of the Maldivian state, despite the authorities previously granting permission.

The project by DeCaires Taylor features a large steel frame with cutouts aiming to mimic the marine world was intended to allow sea life to explore freely within, acting as a new habitat for coral and other species. Thirty human figures were positioned on top and inside the frame at tidal level, with others submerged beneath. The sculptures were based on life-casts of people, around half of them Maldivian, with some reimagined as hybrid forms including coral or root-like elements.

Nine months in the making, its creation involved a large team of marine engineers, steel fabricators, divers and mould-makers. However, on 21 September the work was destroyed under court order with pickaxes, saws and ropes. The Coralarium structure and underwater trees remains intact but the human figures have been hacked out.

 

 

Jewish groups outraged by Thai Hitler themed hotel room...

But of course Thailand has just about zero interest in European history and simply doesn't know who Hitler was, nor what Nazi symbols stand for


Link Here 4th October 2018
A Thai sex hotel has sparked 'outrage' with Nazi-themed rooms decorated with swastikas and huge murals of hitler overlooking bed

The Communist room is one of the largest at Villa Love Hotel near Bangkok, Thailand, and is said to be extremely popular with swingers and randy groups looking for sordid orgies. The Communist room at Love Villa Hotel has been condemned by Jewish communities

Efraim Zuroff from the Simon Wiesenthal Center - an international campaign group in Los Angeles - said:

This is truly awful. It's horrendous, absolutely disgusting. It shows a complete lack of knowledge and education about Hitler, the harm he cause and the horrifying crimes that he committed in World War Two.

This is a problem throughout Asia and unfortunately I'm not at all surprised by it. Frankly, the Thai government needs to be a lot more active in preventing this kind of thing and there's no reason why they shouldn't be.

And from my knowledge of Thailand I can confirm that Thais indeed have a complete lack of knowledge and education about Hitler, the harm he cause and the horrifying crimes that he committed in World War Two. So are certainly not guilty of knowingly setting out to outrage anybody.

Abraham Cooper, a Rabbi from California whinged:

There's no excuse in the age of Wikipedia for someone to not know that Hitler was one of the worst monsters of history.

This hotel is outrageous and beyond the pale. The rooms needs to be painted over immediately and the Thai government needs to take instant action if the country wants to be taken seriously as a tourist destination.

I rather suspect that Europeans are equally unknowledgeable and unsympathetic about some of the monsters that have massacred people in Asia over the years.

 

 

Having faith in the people...

Ireland's referendum on repealing its blasphemy laws is set for 26th October


Link Here 20th September 2018
Full story: Blasphemy in Ireland...Irish politicians enact blasphemy law

The National Secular Society has said Ireland's impending referendum on its blasphemy law should prompt global action in defence of free speech on religion.

On Tuesday evening the Dail, the lower house of the Oireachtas (Ireland's parliament), ratified a proposal to hold a referendum on the issue on Friday 26 October. The decision passed through the house unopposed.

The upper house, the Seanad, is expected to pass the legislation on Thursday.

Currently Ireland's constitution says:

The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law. The referendum will propose removing the word blasphemous from that article.

The minister for justice Charlie Flanagan said while the offence remained in the constitution, Ireland would be seen as keeping company with those who do not share the fundamental values we cherish such as belief in freedom of conscience and expression.

NSS chief executive Stephen Evans urged Ireland to take a stand for free speech when the referendum takes place:

Repealing the reference to blasphemy from Ireland's constitution would be a welcome declaration of Ireland's changing attitude to religious privilege and a statement of support with free thinkers globally.

Ireland's referendum should prompt global action in defence of free speech on religion. It should send a message to the rest of the world: offending religious sensibilities is not a crime, and the world will not tolerate those who persecute people for their thoughts and words.

 

 

Updated: A warning to all cinema owners...

Manmarziyaan hurts religious sentiments in India and is banned in Pakistan


Link Here 20th September 2018
Manmarziyaan is a 2018 India romance by Anurag Kashyap.
Starring Abhishek Bachchan, Vicky Kaushal and Tapsee Pannu. BBFC link IMDb

The film is a love story set in Punjab where Abhishek Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, and Vicky Kaushal will be seen in prominent roles.

The Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DGMC) is staging a protest on Sunday against this week's movie release, Manmarziyaan (Husband Material) , demanding a nationwide ban on the film.

The committee claims that the filml has a few anti-Sikh scenes which have the potential to hurt the sentiments of the community.

DSGMC president Manjeet Singh GK said:

I believe that this movie should not be screened till makers remove the objectionable scenes from the movie.

Since ages we have been demanding that the censor board should recruit a representative of the Sikh community in their team but they haven't.

We will not tolerate this at any cost and will strongly protest against this movie.

The Delhi police have stepped up the security outside the movie theatre to prevent violence.

Meanwhile in Pakistan, Manmarziyan, has not been cleared by the Central Board of Film Censors for release in Pakistan. According to CBFC Chairman Danyal Gilani, all board members found the content inappropriate and agreed that the film violated its censorship code.

However, the film was given an adults only 'A' Certificate by the Censor Boards of Sindh and Punjab.

Manmarziyan released in India, USA and Australia on September 14, after a world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8.

Update: The producers decide to cut the film for national reease

See  article from devdiscourse.com

A court in the city of Jammu ordered 4 cuts in the film on grounds of 'hurting religious sentiment'. However the producers had already decided to cut 3 scenes on the same grounds for national release.

The producers submitted the version to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). The three deleted scenes are:

  • a 29-second smoking sequence of Abhishek,
  • a minute long scene featuring Taapsee Pannu and Abhishek entering a gurudwara and
  • an 11-second scene where Taapsee is shown smoking.

The film cuts will be applied to all prints in circulation in India within the next couple of days.

 

 

Cultural censorship...

Iran imprisons theatre manager and the director of Midsummer Night's Dream


Link Here 16th September 2018
Theatre director Maryam Kazemi and theatre manager Saeed Assadi were detained by Iranian authorities over a video trailer for a production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream on 9 September 2018.

The trailer features men and women dancing together, which is illegal in Iran.

Cultural censorship official Shahram Karami said the issue was with the type of music played and the actors' movements used in the trailer.

Both men were later bailed on surety of about $23,000 each.

 

 

A shitty court case...

Spanish film star fights in court against the country's archaic blasphemy laws


Link Here 14th September 2018
Full story: Blasphemy in Spain...Cooking up injustice
The National Secular Society has called for Spain to abolish its blasphemy laws following the detainment of an actor accused of offending religious sentiment.

Willy Toledo, a cinema and television actor, was detained under a Madrid court order after he ignored summons for questioning, arguing he had not committed any offence and so there is no need to appear before a judge.

Toledo was summoned twice over a Facebook post he wrote in July 2017, in which he defended three women who were prosecuted under blasphemy laws because they simulated a religious procession with a giant plastic vagina as part of a feminist protest. In his post Toledo said:

 I shit on God, and I have enough shit left over to shit on the dogma of the sanctity and virginity of the Virgin Mary. This country is unbearably shameful.

In response, the Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers filed a complaint against Toledo for shitting on the dogma, and because his words were an offense against religious sentiment.

Following his release form the court Toledo told reporters:

I am doing what I have to do, which is to draw attention to this, because it is shameful that there are still five articles in the criminal code related to religious sentiments.

Dozens of Spanish citizens applauded and shouted Me cago en Dios (I shit on God) as he left the courthouse. Some Twitter users have started using the hashtag #MeCagoEnDios to express their support. Oscar-winner Javier Bardem has also spoken out in defence of Toledo.

Stephen Evans, Executive Director at the National Secular Society, joined in the criticism of Spain's blasphemy laws saying:

The existence of a law that outlaws offending or derision of religious feelings, dogmas, beliefs or rituals shames Spain. Blasphemy laws are an affront to free expression and should be consigned to history. Let's hope the arrest of Willy Toledo precipitates the demise of Spain's arbitrary restrictions on speech.

Note that the expression shit on God (cagarse en Dios) is commonplace in everyday Spanish discourse.

Article 525 of the Spanish Penal Code forbids the defamation of any individual's or group's religious sentiments, beliefs, or practices, setting out monetary fines for those who offend religious people. The law tends to be used to defend Catholic sentiments.

 

 

Trouble averted...

Geert Wilders cancels his Mohammed cartoon contest


Link Here 1st September 2018
Dutch right-wing leader Geert Wilders has cancelled his Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest after receiving credible death threats. He said in a statement:

I have decided to cancel the competition to avoid the risk of making people victims of Islamist violence. I don't want Muslims to use the cartoon competition as an excuse for Islamist violence.

He added that those against the cartoon event see not only me, but the entire Netherlands as a target.

It is surely a retreat for the western ideals of free speech but generally most are happy that a trigger point for violence has been voided. Tom Rogan commented in the Washington Examiner:

Unfortunately, this ideal is increasingly under threat in the West. And while it's true that Islamic extremists continue to deter and intimidate contravening voices in the name of tolerance, the major threat to Western free speech takes root in an alignment of leftist and centrist voices. These voices and their lobbying efforts in government and in the private sector put forward the notion that emotion is more important than ideas. And the ideal that some ears are more equal than others. Here, I speak of the politicians who censor speech on the great commons of social media, of the leftist celebrities who assert that it is good to punch Nazis, and of the academics who believe historic wrongs are resolved by histrionic censorship.

It is these Western authoritarians veiled in liberal cloaks that Wilders has yielded to. But it is not just these. By now presenting himself as a martyr for free expression, Wilders will be able to attract more moderate Dutch voters to his political cause. And considering that Wilders controls the second-largest political party in the Dutch parliament, his political potential here is obvious. We should not wish for that outcome. Wilders, after all, is a prejudiced man who seeks his own aggrandisement before all else.

 

 

Promoting repression...

Malaysian government censors potraits of LGBT activists at an art exhibition


Link Here 10th August 2018
Full story: Gay Rights in Malaysia...Campaigning for gay rights
Malaysia's religious affairs minister has ordered portraits of LGBT activists to be removed from an arts festival in Penang.

Portraits of activists Nisha Ayub and Pang Khee Teik, who champion the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, were taken down on the orders of Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa, a minister in the Prime Minister's Department. Dr Mujahid said promoting LGBT activities was not in line with the new Pakatan Harapan administration's policies. He told reporters at the Parliament lobby: I was informed of the exhibition that showcased their pictures, along with the rainbow pride flag, in a public gallery.

I contacted the state government to check if the claim is true, and I have consistently repeated in Parliament that we do not support the promotion of LGBT culture in Malaysia.

Ms Nisha and Mr Pang's portraits were removed from the month-long Stripes and Strokes exhibition at the George Town Festival in Penang. They were portrayed holding the Jalur Gemilang, Malaysia's flag, in prints captured by photographer Mooreyameen Mohamad.

The exhibition sponsor, Datuk Vinod Sekhar, criticised the decision:

How could this happen in Penang? I expected more from the Penang government. We should be enlightening people, changing their mindsets - not reacting to people who are close-minded.

 

 

What does religion contribute to modern life?...

Catholic scientists develop AI based software to cover nude female images with bikinis


Link Here 25th July 2018

An AI system developed by a Catholic institute in Brazil seeks out lewd pictures and digitally adds swimwear to censor the images images.

Researchers warned that while the AI was designed to be used for good, cyber criminals could one day reverse the process to erase bikinis from people's photos.

The AI was trained by software engineers at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul using 2,000 images of women. It is a type of AI known as a generative adversarial network, which that learn to perform tasks by recognising patterns commonly found in a set of images.

Project scientist Dr Rodrigo Barros told the Register :

When we train the network, it attempts to learn how to map data from one domain - nude pictures - to another domain - swimsuit pictures. Researchers warned that while the system was designed to be used for good, cyber criminals could one day reverse the process to erase bikinis from people's photos (stock image) Researchers warned that while the system was designed to be used for good, cyber criminals could one day reverse the process to erase bikinis from people's photos.

He added that the AI was developed to test out a novel way of censoring images on the internet.

 

 

Having faith in the alternative laws available to prosecute blasphemy...

Ireland published legislation to repeal its blasphemy law


Link Here 23rd July 2018
Full story: Blasphemy in Ireland...Irish politicians enact blasphemy law

Ireland's Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has published legislation to repeal the country's constitutional blasphemy law

The Thirty-seventh Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2018 will be debated in the Oireachtas in September and it is intended that the referendum will take place in October.

Its removal will bring Ireland into line with internationally accepted norms. (ie where 'blasphemy' can be prosecuted under different laws)

The minister also said he hoped that debate around the referendum will be conducted in a calm and inclusive manner and that he does not believe that this matter is especially controversial.

 

 

Karenjit XXXX...

Sikhs threaten to protest against a Sunny Leone bio pic because of her real name


Link Here 19th July 2018
Sikh leaders in India have threatened to protest over the title of a biopic because it uses the name Kaur.

Sunny Leone is a former porn star turned Bollywood actress who plays herself in web series Karenjit Kaur: The Untold Story of Sunny Leone . Kaur - Leone's real name - is used by Sikh women as a surname or middle name and symbolises gender equality.

The web series depicts her life and premiered on 16 July for Zee5, a streaming platform in India.

In a letter to Subhash Chandra, the chairman of Essel Group which owns Zee5, Indian politician Manjinder Singh Sirsa called for the show to be pulled from the network or have the name Kaur removed from the title. But Chandra responded simply by explaining that her name can't be changed.

Other Sikh groups and leaders have expressed similar sentiments and have threatened to protest outside the network's offices if their demands aren't met.

 

 

Silence the people from talking about problems and the problems will magically go away...

Germany's cultural elites suggest that TV talk shows about refugees and islam should be banned


Link Here 14th June 2018
The German Culture Council  (Deutscher Kulturrat) is the umbrella organization of the German cultural associations such as groups representing art galleries and TV companies. It is a political and lobbying association and is funded by taxpayers.

Olaf Zimmermann, the head of the powerful cultural body has called for the banning of the nation's multitude of political talkshows for a year, claiming that they have helped fuel the rise of the far right.

Zimmermann said that public broadcasters needed to step back and rethink a format that has helped cement gloom-ridden public attitudes towards refugees and Islam, and propelled the Alternative f3cr Deutschland party into parliament at last September's election. He said:

I'd suggest for them, take a break for a year ... though the length of the intermission isn't the decisive factor. What is crucial is that they return with new talkshow concepts and try to come up with more suitable contents with regards to social cohesion in our society.

He particularly singled out public broadcasters ARD and ZDF as being obsessed with refugee-related issues, often framing them negatively.

Last week, ARD's main talkshow Hart Aber Fair - Hard But Fair - led with the question: To what extent is it possible to integrate young men who have fled from war and archaic societies? How unsafe is Germany as a result of them? The programme was triggered by the murder of a 14-year-old German girl whose body was discovered in Wiesbaden last week. An Iraqi man is set to face trial.

 

 

Audience calls for sacking...

More appropriate for a Kuwaiti TV presenter than a pretty white dress


Link Here 14th June 2018
A female TV game show host in Kuwait has been fired after viewers reportedly complained about her supposedly inappropriate outfit.

Amal Al-Awadhi was shocked when controllers of the government-owned channel ordered a live broadcast to stop immediately.

Viewers had allegedly complained that her white knee-length dress with sleeves was inappropriate, saying she should have been more modestly dressed for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The 29-year-old presenter reportedly took to Snapchat to complain about the decision:

I heard someone saying, Take Amal Al Awadhi off air now, or I'll shut down the channel.

She said she's still unsure as to why she was fired from her job.

 

 

Offsite Article: Whatever happened to...


Link Here 2nd June 2018
the editor of Indonesian Playboy

See article from sea-globe.com

 

 

Religious censors...

Indian sikhs form a film censor board and claim that films that feature the religion should get approval


Link Here 24th May 2018

The Akal Takht, the highest seat of authority of Sikhism in India, has formed a 21-member film censor board and claimed that its clearance will have to be taken before making any movie on the Sikh religion and culture. Giani Gurbachan Singh, the Akal Takht head claimed:

The decision was taken because of controversies over films on Sikh gurus and distortion of Sikh history in movies. Any film that plans to portray any sequence related to Sikh gurus, their kin and Sikh history will have to seek clearance from the Sikh Film Censor Board.

Over the past few years, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has been demanding that at least two of its members be included in the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), India's official film censor.

Unlike the CBFC, which comes into play after a film is complete and before its release, the Sikh board has said its approval will have to be taken for the script of any feature film, documentary, animation and play based on the Sikh religion.

 

 

Hurt feelings in Hyderabad...

Journalist's cartoon winds up online vigilantes


Link Here 21st April 2018
The Hyderabad police have registered a case against Swathi Vadlamudi, a journalist working for an English daily, for a cartoon she created in response to high profile rape cases in India.

A right wing online vigilante group called Hindu Sanghatan reported the cartoon to police after Vadlamudi posted it on her Facebook page.

Hindu Sanghatan describes itself on its website:

The intent of the Sanghatan is to find public posts, which ridicule and demean Hindus and take legal action against them.

There is a rise of pseudo-seculars and pseudo-liberals who are maligning Hindu religion in all protests. Hence we wanted to take legal action against those tainting Hindu religion.

Police registered a case against her under Section 295 (a) of the Indian Penal Code (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs).

The president of Hindu Sanghatan  commented:

There is nothing wrong in expressing her anger at Kathua incident and in fact, we, too, share her feelings. But where is the need draw Hindu gods into the incident?

 

 

Cinema returns to Saudi Arabia after 37 years of being banned...

And of course the first film was cut by the censors


Link Here 20th April 2018
The first film screened in Saudi Arabia for 37 years was Black Panther albeit a little shorter than the version playing in the rest of the world due to the censorship of a kiss at the end of the film.

Unsurprisingly movies screened in Saudi cinemas will be subject to approval by government censors. Still, it's a distinct improvement over a total cinema ban. Many Saudi clerics still view Western movies and even Arabic films made in Egypt and Lebanon as sinful.

US-based AMC, one of the world's biggest movie theater operators, only two weeks earlier signed a deal with Prince Mohammed to operate the first cinema in the kingdom. AMC and its local partner hurriedly transformed a concert hall in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, into a cinema complex for Wednesday's screening.The new movie theater also came equipped with prayer rooms to accommodate the daily Muslim prayer times.

Screenings are gender segregated in a manner customary at restaurants and cafes. Screenings will generally have a seating area for women who may be accompanied by male relatives, and another area for men only. Some screenings could be designated as solely for woman+families or for men only.

The cinema won't open to the public for a few days as the first screenings are private, invitation-only events.

 

 

Rotting Christ...

Heavy metal band jailed as they enter Georgia for gig


Link Here 18th April 2018
Two members of veteran Greek extreme metal band Rotting Christ were detained on terrorism charges ahead of show in Georgia last Thursday, after authorities accused them of practising satanism, their record label has said.

According to a statement from Season of Mist, frontman Sakis Tolis was detained alongside his brother, drummer Themis, after being arrested on arrival in Tbilisi on charges allegedly relating to their band name. Sakis explains:

After the regular document check at the border, my brother and I were stopped by the police on our way out from the airport. After some minutes, we were ordered to follow police to another area of the airport under the pretence of further questioning before entering the country. Instead, we had our passports and mobile phones taken away and were led into a prison cell.

When we demanded to be told the reason for this arrest, we were simply told this information would be 'confidential'. Our lawyers informed us later that we are on a list of unwanted persons [regarded a threat to] national security that branded us as satanists and therefore suspects of terrorism.

Sakis says the pair were locked in a small and rather dirty cell, and without being permitted any contact to the outside world or legal representation or our embassy for 12 hours, before the promoters of the RedRum event , Sweden's Terror Crew Promotions and Georgia's Locomotive Promotion, intervened and the band were released without charge.

Due to the hard work of the local promoter, who involved legal experts, journalists, and activists in Georgia, we were finally released, he explains. We are extremely grateful to everybody involved in this process. In the end, we were even able to perform our show and it turned out to be a fantastic night.

 

 

Christians licked in Toronto...

Ice cream company winds up the easily offended with its 'Sweet Jesus' name


Link Here 28th March 2018
Toronto-based ice cream chain Sweet Jesus has fun with its marketing alluding to religion and sinfulness. But of course christians don't see the humour.

Petitions began popping up in January, after right-wing blog Activist Mommy posted an article analyzing the blasphemous use of religious imagery in the brand's logo.

A CitizenGo petition calls Sweet Jesus offensive and revolting, and accuses the ice cream parlor of hate speech towards Christians. The petition calls for a name change to eliminate mockery toward our Lord Jesus, as well as a public apology for openly (attacking) the Christian community and God. According to the petition against the ice cream chain, in question are several items:

  • the name of the shop;
  • the upside down cross used in the logo, considered to be a satanic symbol;
  • ice cream flavors such as Red Rapture, Hella Nutella, and Sweet Baby Jesus;
  • imagery in their ads including a picture that shows their ice cream in the place of Jesus in a Nativity Scene and using children with questionable accessories and styles

In a statement to CBC News, the owners of the ice cream chain said they won't be changing the name satying:

Sweet Jesus is an honest reflection of our experiences and that of our customers and how they react when they try our product. In our experience, the majority of people understand that we're not trying to make a statement about religion.

 

 

Klubb Naket...

Stockholm nightclub gives free entrance for customers who get naked


Link Here 28th February 2018
Klubb Naket, a daring new nightclub which encourages its customers to get naked opened up its doors in Stockholm this weekend. While organizers described it as a great success, the neighbouring church claimed it was a breeding ground for broken souls.

Hundreds of people attended the opening night at the venue on the capital's hipster island Södermalm.

The club plays electronic music and targets mainly a fetish and queer audience, and those that undress get free entry.

The club also offers what it describes as hinges, dark corners where clubbers can do what you feel right now and then.

But not everyone is as happy about the club's opening, miserable gits at the local church want to shut Club Naked down. Pastor Lennart Torebring at Södermalmskyrkan whinged:

Many of our youth members come from the suburbs and have been subject to prostitution and abuse, and so they have reacted very strongly. We believe in sexual purity and that sexuality needs to be protected through marriage. But aside from that, we also have to consider that we can't just do whatever we like. What happens on Södermalm now can have serious consequences, the club becomes a breeding ground for depression and broken souls.

 

 

Pulses set racing in Romania...

Christian Orthodox group protests at cinemas showing gay themed films


Link Here 20th February 2018
120 Beats Per Minute (120 battements par minute) is a 2017 France drama by Robin Campillo.
Starring Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Arnaud Valois and Adèle Haenel. IMDb

Early 1990s. With AIDS having already claimed countless lives for nearly ten years, Act up-Paris activists multiply actions to fight general indifference. Nathan, a newcomer to the group, has his world shaken up by Sean, a radical militant, who throws his last bits of strength into the struggle.

Soldiers: A Story from Ferentari (Soldatii. Poveste din Ferentari) is a 2017 Romania / Serbia / Belgium drama by Ivana Mladenovic.
Starring Dan Bursuc, Sorin Cocis and Cezar Grumazescu. IMDb

Adi, a shy and introverted anthropologist, who got recently dumped by his girlfriend, moves to Ferentari, the poorest and most notorious neighborhood of Bucharest. He wants to write a study on manele music, the 'pop music' of the Roma community. Adi meets Alberto, a Roma ex-convict and a bear of a man, who promises Adi to help him. Soon enough, the unlikely pair begins a playful romance in which Adi feeds Alberto with improbable plans of escaping poverty, while Alberto feeds Adi with phrases of love.

Religious protesters in Romania have disrupted the screenings of two movies featuring gay themes, saying they violate traditional values.

In response, a new screening of the Cannes award-winning movie 120 Beats Per Minute is going to be held Tuesday in Bucharest.

The dispute illustrates Romania's divided views about homosexuality, which remains a difficult topic in a state where more than 85% of its people belong to Christian Orthodox churches. Homosexuality was only decriminalized when Romania prepared to join the EU in 2002.

Protesters calling themselves Christian Orthodox burst into a movie theatre on Feb. 4 during a screening of 120 Beats Per Minute. Protesters objected to the film being shown at the Romanian Peasant Museum because the Romanian peasant is a Christian Orthodox. They sang the national anthem and religious songs while others held religious icons and banners saying: Romania isn't Sodom and Hey Soros, leave them kids alone , referring to Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros.

Days later, protesters disrupted another movie featuring a relationship with a Romanian man and an ex-convict from the nation's Roma, or Gypsy, minority titled Soldiers: A Story from Ferentari. Protesters played Gypsy rock music to drown out the movie. Police were called in to break up the protest.

Filmmaker Cristian Mungiu, the distributor of 120 Beats Per Minute in Romania, has urged the culture minister and Bucharest mayor to publicly support the movie but so far they have remained silent. It will be re-screened Tuesday at the same museum.

 

 

Perhaps a holiday in Bali is not such a good idea...

Indonesia is set to criminalise unmarried sex, gay sex, and paying for sex


Link Here 2nd February 2018
Indonesia's religious extremists are on a roll at the moment and seem set on criminalising all sex outside of marriage.

Revisions to Indonesia's criminal code currently being considered by Parliament would allow prison sentences of up to five years for sex between unmarried people, including of course, all gay sex as gay marriage is simply out of the question.

Rights groups note that this will be a profound setback to human rights and privacy in Indonesia. Religious vigilantism is already rife in the country, and with the force of law behind them, it will be a nightmare.

Opposition seems somewhat muted with a newly launched online petition receiving a rather paltry 20,000 signatures out of a country of 250 million.

Asrul Sani, a lawmaker from the Islamic-based United Development Party, has told reporters that a 25-member parliamentary working committee has agreed on nearly all the articles in the revised code. It and another Islamic party are seeking longer prison sentences for gay sex in circumstances that involve force, public acts or pornography and that is still being argued.

Indonesia's constitution nominally guarantees human rights, but this clearly doesn't count for much given the latest parliamentary moves.

 

 

To Muslim zealots' dismay, Indonesians love raunchy dangdut music...

The law against performances of people dancing or moving in an erotic fashion is not universally observed


Link Here 2nd February 2018

 

 

Updated: Opening show...

Padmavat is cleared for national release by India's Supreme Court and by the BBFC


Link Here 27th January 2018
Padmavat is a 2017 India historical romance by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor. BBFC link IMDb

Rani Padmavati (aka Padmini) is said to be one of the most beautiful women to ever exist. This real life story is epitome of Love and sacrifice between Rajput Queen Padmavati and Rana Rawal Ratan Singh, the Rajput ruler of Mewar. Their perfect life took unfortunate turn when Allauddin Khilji's lustful eyes gazed upon Queen Padmavati. Alauddin Khilji is known as one of the most brutal rulers of the Khilji dynasty, who ascended the throne by killing his father-in-law, his brother-in-laws and their uncles. He was known for attacking states, only for their land and women. And, the motive behind the attack on Mewar was none other than royal Rani Padmavati. Chittorgarh fort, today, stands as an epitome of the true Rajputana spirit, loyalty, fidelity and bravery and a symbol of women power.

Court cases abound whenever there's a controversy about an Indian that should be banned or not banned. There are often several people who are willing to spend their cash on advocating for banning or not banning, often in different courts in different states.

However, in the case of Padmavat these cases have rapidly moved to India's Supreme Court which has just passed two judgements about the film. Firstly the Court found that individual states should not be able to overrode the national film censor and so bans in the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana have been overturned.

The film's producers had approached the Supreme Court to challenge the states' ban, and Chief Justice Dipak Misra concurred with the producers. He stated:

Cinemas are an inseparable part of right to free speech and expression. States... cannot issue notifications prohibiting the screening of a film.

The second judgement refused the case made by an advocate who wanted the court to overturn the CBFC decision and ban the film. The same judge refused to entertain a plea to cancel the Censor Board certificate given to the movie Padmaavat. Advocate M.L. Sharma had contended that exhibiting the movie in certain States would be an open invitation for violence.

And of course that violence could yet overrule the Supreme Court and force cinemas to not show the film.

Cut version resubmitted to the BBFC

20th January 2018. See article from bbfc.co.uk

UK: A version cut by the Indian film censors was passed 12A for moderate violence, injury detail without BBFC cuts for:

  • 2018 cinema release

The film is 5s shorter than the uncut version submitted a few weeks earlier. There is no change to the rating or consumer advice.

There were 5 CBFC cuts adding up to 5s to downplay the historical accuracy of the film:

  • The title was changed from Padmavati, an historical character, to the fictional name Padmavat.
  • Disclaimers were added with one regarding not glorifying the practice of Sati, and another noting that the film is fictional.
  • There were cuts to the Ghoomar song to 'befit' the character portrayed.

Update: 125 cinemas decide not to screen the movie

21st January 2018. See  article from dailypioneer.com

Even after the Supreme Court asking four States including Gujarat to allow screening of controversial Hindi movie Padmaavat, nearly 125 multiplexes across Gujarat will not show the movie which is set to release on the eve of Republic Day.

Gujarat Multiplex Owners Association, the apex body of multiplexes in the state has voluntarily decided not to show the movie. Core committee member of the association Rakesh Patel said that multiplex owners in Gujarat didn't want to take any risk as there was no guarantee pertaining to safety of the properties.

Update: Inevitably banned by violent religious mobs

23rd January 2018. See  article from bbc.com

Protesters in India's Gujarat have blocked roads and caused local bus services to be suspended, after the Supreme Court cleared the release of controversial Bollywood film Padmavat.

Extremist Hindu groups torched buses and vandalised a theatre in the western state of Gujarat on Sunday.

Despite the court ruling and tightened security, theatre owners in the state have decided against screening the film as they fear further violence.

Update: Worldwide release today

25th January 2018. See  article from metro.co.uk

Padmavat has been released for worldwide screenings, including the UK, today on 25th January. Early reports suggest that cinemas in religious hotspots have decided not to screen the film rather than face violent protest.

Update: Opening show

27th January 2018. See  article from livemint.com

Padmaavat opened in 3,100 screens across the country with an estimated occupancy of 50-55%. It's a very good number given the situation. It clearly shows audiences have come out and supported the film despite all odds, said Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema .

Under normal circumstances, a big-ticket film like Padmaavat would have been screened in more than 4,000 screens. States like Rajasthan, Gujarat and parts of Madhya Pradesh and Haryana refrained from screening the period saga. Protests by the Rajput Karni Sena and consequent violence in parts of the country led to several theatres refusing to showcase the movie..

The film was also pirated and streamed online on a Facebook page, showing interest but not revenue for the filmmakers.

Update: Rajputs who saw Padmaavat angry for opposing it earlier

28th January 2018. See  article from citytoday.news

 

 

Offsite Article: Indonesian TV censorship...


Link Here 3rd January 2018
Cartoons cut, athletes blurred as conservative Islam asserts itself and broadcasters fear sanctions

See article from scmp.com

 

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