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17th May

  Playwrights for a Lost Cause...

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Anti-Censorship stage show in New York cancelled over fear of religious offence
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playwrights for a cause A June anti-censorship event featuring four short plays addressing the critical and growing incursion of censorship into arts and culture has been cancelled by the venue, the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture in Greewich Village, New York

The event was a benefit for the National Coalition Against Censorship and the controversy was ignited by the segment, Mohammed Gets A Boner, a monologue that Neil LaBute contributed to the quartet of plays, called Playwrights For A Cause .

William Spencer Reilly, executive director of the Sheen Center, told the New York Times that when the the contract for the event was signed in February, he wasn't aware of the title of the play, which the Times deemed unfit to print. After reading the script, Reilly said, he cancelled the show because of the play's clear offense to Muslims. He said:

When an artistic project maligns any faith group, that project clearly falls outside of our mission to highlight the good, the true, and the beautiful as they have been expressed throughout the ages. The center will not be a forum that mocks or satirizes another faith group.

LaBute said the Sheen Center was was absolutely within their right to cancel the contract but added that he's saddened by the decision:

This event was meant to shine another light on censorship and it was unexpected to have the plug pulled, quite literally, by an organization that touts the phrase 'for thought and culture' on their very Web site. Both in life and in the arts, this is not a time to hide or be afraid; recent events have begged for artists and citizens to stand and be counted.

LaBute earlier praised the Coalition Against Censorship for:

Doing really important work at a time when people are actively striving to take away some of our most basic freedoms. I, for one, feel that these are the front lines for an artist--when you are asked to write/fight for what you've said you believe in. It is no longer enough to pay lip service to these ideas--it's time to stand up and be counted.

 

14th May

 Update: Dangerous Disbeliefs...

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Third atheist blogger murdered in Bangladesh
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Bangladesh...Penalising disbelief
Bangladesh flag An atheist blogger has been hacked to death in north-eastern Bangladesh by religious intolerants, the third such deadly murderous this year. Police told AFP:

Attackers wearing masks hacked Ananta Bijoy Das with machetes in Sylhet city at around 8.30 this morning. We have learned that he was a writer

Imran Sarker, head of a Bangladeshi bloggers' association, told AFP Das was an atheist who wrote blogs for Mukto-Mona, a website formerly moderated by Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-born US citizen who was stabbed to death in the capital, Dhaka, in February.

Das's friend, Debasish Debu, said, referring to an alleged hitlist of atheist bloggers prepared by muslim intolerants:

In recent months he received threats from extremists for his writings. He was on their hitlist,

 

9th May

  An insult to free speech...

A Dutchman protests about racial insult by insulting the royal family. Dutch people then take it as an insult to free speech when the protester is prosecuted
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black pete 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 20,000-euro fine.

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.

 

5th May

  Murderous attempt at censorship fails...

Terrorists shot dead by police after they opened fire on US free speech event
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afdi logo Two muslim terrorists  were shot dead after they opened fire with assault rifles at a heavily guarded Texas free speech event featuring caricatures of the religious character Mohammad.

One terrorist was identified as Elton Simpson, under surveillance since 2006 and convicted in 2010 of lying to FBI agents over his desire to join violent jihad in Somalia. The second shooter was identified as Nadir Soofi, a roommate of Simpson.

Police and federal agents had planned security for months ahead of the event organized by American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), a free-speech organization that is also described as a hate group, and that paid $10,000 for extra protection.

The AFDI event in Garland was called Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest and offered a $10,000 prize for the best artwork or cartoon depicting the Prophet. The event featured speakers including Geert Wilders, a polarizing Dutch politician and anti-Islamic campaigner.

Offsite Comment: A robust leader from the Guardian about a violent threat to free speech

5th May 2015.  See  Te Guardian view on free speech after the Dallas shootings. The award to Charlie Hebdo is justified from  theguardian.com

The Guardian