One of Germany's most popular television series drew loud protests from a Muslim group over what they consider an unfavourable portrayal in the show's most recent episode.
The Alevi Muslim Community AABF called on its members to hold peaceful protests against the "slander and disparagement" contained in the Dec. 23 broadcast of Tatort , the German word for crime scene.
A criminal complaint has been filed by the group against NDR, the network that produced the program, accusing it of incitement to racial hatred.
It is appalling to us that a public and legitimate broadcaster would revive these centuries' old prejudices, said Ali Ertan Toprak, the secretary general of the Alevi community in Germany.
Members of the Alevi community in Berlin tried to stop the broadcast of the episode but were unsuccessful.
To answer the complaints, the network reiterated in the opening credits that the program was a work of fiction and in no way intended to harm religious feelings or rekindle prejudices against the Alevi community.
About 300 people protested outside the studios of Germany's public broadcaster ARD on Thursday, Dec. 27.
The episode in question is entitled To Whom Honor is Due and dealt with incest and murder within an Alevi family living in Germany.
During the course of the program, investigators discover that a young Alevi girl was murdered by her father after she confronted him about impregnating her sister.
The Iranian Embassy in Bucharest criticized the translation into Romanian of the book Satanic Verses , by Salman Rushdie. The Iranian diplomats condemned the publishing as a 'blasphemy' and even demanded the banning of the volume in
Romanian Patriarchy earlier criticized the publishing of the volume, considering that it wrongs the spiritual values and religious symbols, regardless the official religion that uses it.
A group of nutter MPs has tabled an amendment designed to ensure that homophobic Christians can continue to express their views on gay people.
Devout Roman Catholics Ann Widdecombe and Jim Dobbin are among the MPs attempting to amend the government's proposal to make incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation a criminal offence.
Christian Concern for our Nation, a pressure group which attempts to stand up against a tide of unChristian legal and political changes in the United Kingdom, is urging its supporters to pressure MPs into supporting the new amendment.
Stonewall, the gay equality organisation, have been giving evidence to parliament's scrutinising committee about the sort of incitement to homophobic murder and hatred that goes unchallenged. Chief executive Ben Summerskill quoted
extensively from the homophobic lyrics of dancehall star Beenie Man and others to demonstrate the nature of their comments about gay men and lesbians.
Summerskill rejected concerns that a law banning incitement to religious hatred would be used to silence the voices of religious people who regard homosexuality as a sin: We are crystal clear that people are perfectly entitled to express their
religious views. We are also crystal clear that the temperate expression of religious views should not be covered by the legislation. One might also want to look at the context in which any expression is made that people should be killed or put
to death because they are homosexual.
The homophobic incitement provisions were later passed by the whole committee, and none of the Tory MPs voted against them.
The new amendment from Christian MPs reads:
Nothing in this part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion of, criticism of or expressions of antipathy towards, conduct relating to a particular sexual orientation, or urging persons
of a particular sexual orientation to refrain from or modify conduct relating to that orientation.
Among the MPs asking for the right to show antipathy towards their gay constituents are: Lib Dems Colin Breed (South East Cornwall) and Alan Beith (Berwick Upon Tweed); Conservatives Philip Hollobone (Kettering) and Ann Widdecombe (Maidstone and
the Weald); and Labour MPs David Taylor (North West Leicestershire) and Jim Dobbin (Heywood and Middleton).
Dutch government firework safety ads featuring a spoof Islamist terrorist group have been criticised as insensitive and depicting a negative stereotype of the Muslim community.
The online ads, made for the Dutch government's consumer safety institute, have been made to look like a video message filmed by an Islamist military organisation called the Liberation Army Against Freedom.
Featuring a group led by an Osama bin Laden lookalike figure at their camp, the viral ads are dubbed into Iraqi-accented Arabic and have versions with subtitles in Dutch and English.
The tone is intended to be humorous, with the terrorist group seen receiving a shipment of fireworks like an arms cache, wearing suicide vests made of firecrackers, and bungling efforts to demonstrate to you our true power by blowing
However, the light treatment of such a serious issue has angered some industry insiders.
What is the campaign hoping to achieve by depicting a negative stereotype of the Muslim community in a fireworks advert? said Saad Saraf, the chief executive of multicultural marketing specialists Media Reach Advertising.
Saraf, an Iraqi, was particularly offended by images in one ad that show one person strap fireworks around him in a style similar to a suicide belt, which later explodes.
This is insensitive to society as a whole. Suicide bombings have destroyed many thousands of lives - using them in a humorous way is totally inappropriate. Are these adverts then for people who have not been affected by terrorism, suicide
bombings and the invasion of Iraq in some way? said Saraf.
However, Inayat Bunglawala, the assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, did not think the ads were particularly offensive: I thought they were very humorous public safety films, he responded by email after being sent
several links to the ads: Obviously there will always be some who find it to be in bad taste, but I thought it was done light-heartedly and funny and with clear educational value.
Australian nutters have branded a television commercial depicting the baby Jesus tossing gifts back at the three wise men as tacky and offensive.
The ad for electronic goods retailers Betta Electrical recreates the Christian nativity scene, showing three wise men offering gifts to baby Jesus as he lies in the manger.
The commercial, which has angered Anglican and Catholic leaders, shows Jesus throwing gifts out of the manger as the words Give a better gift flash on the TV screen.
Christian leaders criticised the ad, calling it a tacky and offensive exploitation of religious imagery which perverts the true meaning of Christmas.
This ad comes within the orbit of tacky Christmas things , senior Sydney Anglican bishop Glenn Davies told The Daily Telegraph: The gifts that the wise men were giving were appropriate for a king, so the notion that Jesus would reject
them is absurd.
A spokesman for Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell said the use of Christ was inappropriate: The advertisement is interesting because it shows how commercialised Christmas has become .
But Julieanne Worchurst, marketing manager at BSR Group which operates more than 170 Betta Electrical stores, said the ad was intended to be a tongue-in-cheek and humorous approach to the gift giving season. We accept that this could have been
seen as offensive, but that was not the intention at all. The ad was never intended to upset or disrupt people's Christmas.
Worchurst said while the company had received just two complaints from viewers.
The religious comments don't sound particularly 'offended' to me
From the Times
The BBC has provoked controversy over a Christmas Day Doctor Who special that uses religious imagery to depict the Time Lord as a “messiah”. Voyage of the Damned , starring Kylie Minogue, is expected to be the holiday viewing
However, Christian groups expressed concern that the imagery employed was inappropriate for a BBC One Christmas evening show.
The Doctor (David Tennant) must save a group of passengers after the Titanic, now a futuristic space vessel, is holed by a meteorite storm.
He convinces the despairing survivors to believe in his powers after ascending through the ship’s decks, carried by a pair of robotic angels. Russell T. Davies, the writer and executive producer of the revived series, said: The series lends
itself to religious iconography because the Doctor is a proper saviour. He saves the world through the power of his mind and his passion.
Stephen Green, of the evangelical group Christian Voice, said: The Doctor would have to do a lot more than the usual prancing around to be a messiah. He has to save people from their sins.
But Malcolm Brown, director of mission and public affairs for the Church of England, said: Science fiction at its best helps to illuminate eternal themes, and that’s something the Church can happily work with.
The Vatican has condemned the film The Golden Compass , which some have called anti-Christian, saying it promotes a cold and hopeless world without God.
In a long editorial, the Vatican newspaper l'Osservatore Romano, also slammed Philip Pullman, the bestselling author of the book on which the family fantasy movie is based.
It was the Vatican's most stinging broadside against an author and a film since it roundly condemned The Da Vinci Code in 2005 and 2006.
In Pullman's world, hope simply does not exist, because there is no salvation but only personal, individualistic capacity to control the situation and dominate events, the editorial said.
In the fantasy world created by Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials , the Church and its governing body the Magisterium, are linked to cruel experiments on children aimed at discovering the nature of sin and attempts to suppress facts
that would undermine the Church's legitimacy and power.
In the film version all references to the Church have been stripped out, with director Chris Weitz keen to avoid offending religious cinema goers.
Still, some Catholic groups in the United States have called for a boycott, fearing even a diluted version of the book might draw people to read the bestselling trilogy.
Prosecutors in Russia say they are studying a complaint accusing Coca-Cola of insulting Orthodox Christian beliefs in an advertising campaign.
They say the complaint was lodged by 440 residents of the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod earlier this month.
It accuses Coca-Cola of blasphemy through using adverts with images of Orthodox churches and crosses, some of which were even put upside down.
" Coca-Cola uses all these Orthodox symbols in a blasphemous way by placing images of Coca-Cola bottles inside the pictures," the complaint said: Some images are deliberately turned upside down, including the crosses .
Coca-Cola officials have defended the company's marketing approach, saying it was promoting Russia's cultural heritage.