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27th January

 Update: Quality Nonsense...

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Rajan Zed professionally offended by ginger beer label
Link Here  full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
brookvale union ginger beer A religious activist group says it plans to complain to Australia's advertising watchdog about a brewer that is using images of Hindu gods on its ginger beer bottle labels.

Aussie firm Brookvale Union, which uses the slogan Quality nonsense , apologised to Hindus offended by the labelling after receiving complaints in 2013, but the Universal Society of Hinduism has issued a new public complaint that the offending bottles are still on sale.

The bottles, which feature Hindu deities Ganesh and Lakshmi, carry the slogan Spicy yet mild, dry but wet, smooth yet sharp, tight but loose .

The group also says that the company has not removed the supposedly objectionable images from its website, which it had said it would when the issue was first raised two years ago.

The Universal Society of Hinduism's president Rajan Zed called on Brookvale Union to recall all the soft drink bottles carrying the images from the market, and show some responsibility, respect and maturity and understand the hurt feelings of Hindu community by saying sorry again. The free speech hating Zed spouted:

Hindus are for free expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more ...BUT... faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing it tormented the devotees.

Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda is not okay as it hurts the devotees. Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi are highly revered in Hinduism and they are meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling beer for mercantile greed.

 

25th January

 Updated: Supporting Violent Censorship...

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International events to support the censorship of Charlie hebdo
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists

Niger flag Niger

18th January 2015. See  article from  theguardian.com

At least five people died when rioters burned churches and cars and attacked French-linked businesses across Niger on Saturday, in violent protests against the publication of a cartoon of Muhammad on the cover of Charlie Hebdo magazine.

President Mahamadou Issoufou said all five of the dead were civilians, with four of them killed inside burned churches or bars.

Ten people have died in two days of violence across the west African nation. Five died and 45 were injured in clashes on Friday in Niger's second largest city, Zinder, where a French cultural centre and cafe were also hit.

mardom-e-emrooz george clooney Iran

18th January 2015. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

An Iranian newspaper has been shut down after the country's authorities accused its front page headline of supporting the Charlie Hebdo magazine.

The article's headline quoted Hollywood actor, George Clooney, saying: I am Charlie Hebdo.

But the accompanying article did not actually express support for Clooney's statement, nor for the magazine itself.

The editor of Mardom-e-Emrooz - or Today's People - confirmed his paper was ordered to close for publishing the story.

Clooney was one of many actors to arrive at the Golden Globe awards to wear Je Suis Charlie pins.

France flag France

18th January 2015. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Numerous French media websites have been momentarily taken down by hackers.

The sites of Le Parisien, Marianne and 20 Minutes were among those affected, although most were soon restored. The French government said some 20,000 sites had been targeted.

On Thursday, the head of cyber security for the French military, Vice Admiral Arnaud Coustilliere, said that structured groups and well known Islamist hackers were behind the attacks against the 20,000 sites, but did not elaborate.

cumhuriyet Turkey

18th January 2015. See  article from  ft.com

Turkey's prime minister has accused Turkish newspapers of sedition for publishing a controversial cartoon of Mohammed.

Ahmet Davutoglu made his comments a day after Cumhuriyet, a secularist newspaper, republished the cartoon and other extracts from Charlie Hebdo. Davutoglu  said:

The freedom of the press does not mean the freedom to insult, above all if this is against our Prophet. Printing the cartoon is heavy sedition.

Later in the day Turkish prosecutors opened an investigation into Cumhuriyet's publishing excerpts from Charlie Hebdo, in response to complaints that the paper had incited hatred.

Russia flag Update: Russia

19th January 2015. See  article from  uk.reuters.com

Russian Muslims rally against depiction's of Mohammad. Authorities say some 15 to 20 thousand people gathered at the rally in the city of Mahgas in the North Caucasus. The rally concluded peacefully but nevertheless it was still an implcit show of support for murderers.

 

Update: Australia

25th January 2015. See  article from  independent.co.uk and  article from  theguardian.com

Australia flag About 800 muslims rallied in Sydney to protest against the justifiably negative media coverage of Islam and French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo's depictions of Mohammed.

Police said 14 people were told to move on from the rally for breaching the peace. But no one was charged and the event was calm with a huge group of demonstrators praying on the street.

Some of the 800-strong demonstrators in the Lakemba suburb -- which has a large population of Lebanese Australians -- held up placards with the slogan Je suis Muslim. Other protesters held up signs saying insult to one prophet is an insult to all prophets.

Earlier Australia's prime minister, Tony Abbott, had told the protestors to lighten up . Abbott said on radio that  he hoped there would be only a few protesters:

Frankly I don't think any of us really want to be in the business of insulting anyone, but on the other hand we all believe in free speech, and I have to say some people are a bit thin-skinned about free speech.

I just hope the organisers of this protest lighten up a bit, and accept that in our robust democracy, a lot of people say a lot of things, and sometimes it's right, sometimes it's wrong, and we just have to accept the rough and the smooth together.

Update: Palestine and Senegal

25th January 2015.

'Thousands' of Palestinians rallied in the occupied West Bankto protest against the publication of cartoons depicting Mohammad. Simultaneous demonstrations were held in the cities of Ramallah and Hebron.

Around 1,500 people including the prime minister marchedin Senegal against caricatures of Mohammed. Premier Mohammed Dionne was joined at the demonstration in Dakar by cabinet colleagues, civil society activists, lawmakers, religious leaders and hundreds of members of the public. I'm not Charlie -- I am a Muslim , Freedom of expression is not the freedom to insult , Do not touch my prophet read placards brandished by demonstrators.

 

17th January

 Update: N'est pas Charlie...

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Hateful and violent protests held around the world
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists

hebdo protests French President Francois Hollande has affirmed the French right to free speech, saying that anti-Charlie Hebdo protesters in other countries do not understand France's attachment to freedom of speech.

His remarks come a day after throngs of Muslims around the world held protests against the depiction of Muhammad by the French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo, with some of the demonstrations inevitably turning violent.

In Niger, at least four people were killed in the southern town of Zinder, where protesters set fire to a French cultural center and several churches and attacked Christian shops with clubs and Molotov cocktails, while police responded with tear gas. Three civilians died, including two who were shot by police during an attack on their station. A police officer was run over and killed, while 45 other people were injured. It was reported that the chanting mob threatened in local Hausa language:

Charlie is Satan, let hell engulf those supporting Charlie.

Violent demonstrations also occurred in Karachi, Pakistan, where several hundred protesters clashed with police. A photographer with the French news agency AFP was reported to be among three people wounded. Around 300 people from a little known Pakistani religious group rallied, carrying placards that read Down with Charlie Hebdo and a banner demanding that those drawing the caricatures be hanged. Protests also took place in other major Pakistani cities, including Islamabad and Lahore.

A Charlie Hebdo poster was burned in the Philippines on Monday as 1,500 people staged a protest march against themagazine.

In Algiers, Algeria, police clashed with demonstrators who threw rocks and bottles around the waterfront area of the capital. Hundreds of people had earlier marched peacefully through the capital, waving placards saying: I am Muhammad. In Sudan, protesters took to the streets of Khartoum to protest against France and Charlie Hebdo. Some carried large banners bearing such slogans as Death for French and Charlie Hebdo offends the Prophet.

Largely peaceful marches took place in the capitals of West African countries Mali, Senegal and Mauritania.

In Amman, Jordanians gathered to protest against satirical French cartoons, after Friday prayers. In Yemen, protesters gathered Saturday in front of the French Embassy in Sanaa, chanting slogans.

And in the UK a protest will be held in Bradford on Saturday evening. Bradford West MP George Galloway is scheduled to be among the speakers at the event.

 

16th January

 Update: The Pope Ain't Charlie...

The Pope seems argues that a punch is in order for those that insult religion
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
Sermon on the mount

  ...Turn the other cheek...

...unless of course he insults your religion, then thump him
 

Pope Francis as said there are limits to freedom of expression, warning that anyone who hurls insults should expect retaliation. The Pope's provocative statement was in reference to last week's terror attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. He threatened:

One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people's faith, one cannot make fun of faith. There is a limit. Every religion has its dignity ... in freedom of expression, there are limits.

If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. It's normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.

However he got into a bit of moral tangle by adding

Each person not only has the freedom but also the obligation to say what he thinks in the name of the common good.

But what happens if he criticises religion in the name of the common good, and that the religion considers this criticism to be an insult. Then it seems that a punch is in order.

However the pope draws the line at a punch. He added:

No one can kill in the name of God. This is an aberration.

 

15th January

 Update: More Spiritual Grief...

Indian film censors look set to ban MSG after pressure from religious groups and the government
Link Here  full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence
msg MSG: The Messenger of God is a 2015 India action comedy drama by Jeetu Arora and Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan.
Starring Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, Daniel Kaleb and Fllora Saini. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

India's film censor board has refused to clear MSG: The Messenger of God featuring self-styled guru Ram Rahim Singh.

The Censor Board (CBFC) has decided to refer the decision to the Film Certification Apellate Tribunal (FCAT). Officials said a review committee of the Board took the decision unanimously. CBFC chairperson Leela Samson told PTI:

It has been unanimously decided to refer the film to the tribunal FCAT.

Whilst waiting for the results of the appeal the movie will miss its opening date previously set for 16th January 2015.

In the movie, Ram Rahim Singh depicts himself as a god. The censors apparently have objections to Ram Rahim being shown to be performing miracles and curing terminal diseases.

Singh is head of a spiritual orginsation called Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS). He said he was not averse to cutting some scenes if the censor board objected to them. He claimed that:

The only aim of the film is to spread messages against social evils like drug addiction, female foeticide. There is nothing wrong in it. If the board finds any portion of the film objectionable, I will happily get them removed.

I have not showed myself as God but as a human. I have not criticised any religion in the film.

The Home Ministry had sent an advisory to states where the movie is set to play which said:

Various Sikh organisations and individuals are opposing the movie on the ground that its release would disturb the communal harmony and law and order. They also opine that glorification of DSS chief, facing serious criminal cases, should not be allowed.

Meanwhile in the UK, the BBFC have passed the film 12A uncut for moderate violence, sex references, drug use, for its upcoming cinema release.

 

15th January

 Update: Morality in Media Recommends...

Fifty Shades of Grey, with some gloriously ludicrous piffle
Link Here
Poster Fifty Shades of Grey 2015 Sam Taylorjohnson 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?

 

15th January

 Update: Turkey Ain't Charlie...

Turkish court orders ISPs to block websites with Charlie Hebdo special edition cover
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
Turkey flag A Turkish court has ordered the telecommunications censor to ban access to websites showing Charlie Hebdo's front cover with the image of the religious character Muhammad, a state-run news agency said.

The Anadolu Agency said the ban, which would block access to the websites in Turkey, was ordered by a court in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, according to the Dogan news agency. The decision came from the court, because a lawyer in Diyarbakir filed a petition saying the websites were a danger to public order.

 

10th January

 Update: France Est Charlie...

Charlie Hebdo to publish a special survivors edition next week with state support
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
charlie hebdo le journal des survivants Charlie Hebdo plans to publish a journal des survivants next week, as pledges of money and other forms of support continue to pour in from media organisations in France and elsewhere.

About 20 surviving Charlie Hebdo staff gathered at the offices of French newspaper Liberation, for their first editorial meeting since the terrorist attack on its Paris headquarters in which 12 people, including eight of the title's journalists and two policemen, were killed.

Those at the table included the cartoonist Luz, who escaped the carnage because he was late on Wednesday, reporter Laurent Leger, columnist Patrick Pelloux and the paper's lawyer, Richard Malka.

The journalists asked for their privacy to be respected while they work on next Wednesday's special survival edition, which will be limited to eight pages instead of the usual 16. A million copies are to be printed, a huge increase on its usual 60,000 print run.

The Liberation building, located close to the Charlie Hebdo premises, is now under armed police guard. Visitors are only allowed in with a specific invitation from a staff member and have to leave via the adjacent car park.

Prime minister, Manuel Valls and culture minister, Fleur Pellerin have promised 1 million euro to the paper to guarantee its survival. The Guardian Media Group has pledged £100,000, while more funding has come from the TV station Canal+ and Le Monde which has supplied the computers.

Asked about the irony of the French state propping up the deliberately provocative Charlie Hebdo, one Liberation staff member said: It's normal. This is a democracy.

 

9th January

 Update: Stand up for free speech...

Publish Charlie Hebdo's cartoons
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists

we must censor hebdo Index on Censorship, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, freeDimensional, PEN America, FreeWord, Reporters Without Borders, Article 19 and English PEN call on all those who believe in the fundamental right to freedom of expression to join in publishing the cartoons or covers of Charlie Hebdo on January 8 at 1400 GMT.

We believe that only through solidarity, in showing that we truly defend all those who exercise their right to speak freely, can we defeat those who would use violence to silence free speech. We ask media organisations, individuals and everyone who supports free speech to join together in this action.

Each publication will select a cartoon, a range of cartoons, or covers that they believe best reflect the right to free expression and publish at the same time globally. The idea is a moment of unity in which we show that together we stand up for journalism and the right to free speech, no matter what, and to show our support and respect for those killed on January 7.

Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship said:

The ability to express ourselves freely is fundamental to a free society. This includes the freedom to publish, to satirise, to joke, to criticise, even when that might cause offence to others. Those who wish to silence free speech must never be allowed to prevail.

Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director, PEN American Center said:

Satire is both a privilege and a necessity in a free society. The freedom to question, to expose, to mock ultimately makes institutions, belief systems, and leaders stronger. The resort to murderous vengeance for the crime of drawing and publishing cartoons represents a terrifying perversion of religious values and an assault on our shared values. No matter how offensive, speech is never a justification for violence.

charlie hebdo decapitated Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Charles Brownstein said:

The attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices is tragic, but it is also proof of just how powerful cartoons and cartoonists can be. Despite threats and prior attacks, the publishers, editors, and cartoonists of Charlie Hedbo never relented in using satire to question the world around them. CBLDF stands with Charlie Hebdo and their dedication to free expression.

Lucie Morillon, Programme Director, Reporters Without Borders said:

This unspeakable act of violence has challenged and assailed the entire press Journalism as whole is in mourning. In the name of all those who have fallen in the defence of these fundamental values, we must continue Charlie Hebdo's fight for the right to freedom of information.

Jo Glanville, Director of English PEN, said:

This is a time for all writers, publishers, editors, artists and free speech groups to stand in solidarity. In the face in one of the most devastating attacks on press freedom and freedom of expression in Europe's recent history, we need to reaffirm our commitment to speaking out and standing up for free speech. This action today is the first step.

Supporters of the call

Some of the publications and organisations joining us at this hour include:

  • The Guardian
  • New Statesman
  • Mail and Guardian
  • Folha de San Paulo
  • City Press
  • Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
  • Pen America
  • Article 19
  • English Pen
  • Reporters Without Borders
  • Conway Hall
  • Atheist NI
  • The Art Newspaper
  • New Humanist
  • Stephen Fry
  • Los Angeles Times

And some were understandably reticent

See  article from  theguardian.com

Publishing Muhammad cartoons would have been too risky, says Amol Rajan Editor of Independent newspaper said he had to balance principle with pragmatism, despite wanting to publish Charlie Hebdo cartoons on the front page

After the Charlie Hebdo Massacre, Support those Fighting the Religious-Right

See statement from freethoughtblogs.com

free thought blogs logo The persistent demand for the extension of blasphemy laws around the world is a real danger for all. France has a long, and now growingly endangered,  tradition of secularism; which allows dissent from religions and the right to express this dissent. It has had a rich tradition to mock and caricature powers that be,  religious or otherwise. Let us keep this hard won right which cost so many lives in history, and, alas, still does, as Charlie Hebdo's twelve dead and numerous wounded demonstrate.

...Read the full statement

Sharia law, apostasy and secularism conference

Paying tribute to Charlie Hebdo and the many persecuted for criticising islam and religion

See details from ex-muslim.org.uk

7th February 2015, One day conference near London Kings Cross 9am registration; 10am-5:30pm

 Speakers at the 7 February conference will include Activist Ahmed Idris, Campaigner for Secular Education Aliyah Saleem, Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain Amal Farah, Activist Atoosa Khatiri, Secular Activist Chris Moos, Director of the Centre for Secular Space Gita Sahgal, Founder of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco Imad Iddine Habib, Spokesperson of One Law for All Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain Nahla Mahmoud, Human Rights Campaigner Peter Tatchell, Southall Black Sisters Director Pragna Patel, Founder of Ex-Muslims of Scotland Ramin Forghani, Nari Diganta's Rumana Hashem, National Secular Society President Terry Sanderson and Women's Rights Campaigner Yasmin Rehman.

And on a lighter note...

See some  fine words and fine cartoons from washingtonpost.com

banksy on hebdo Charlie Hebdo: In their words and works, American cartoonists condemn Wednesday's attack, hail slain satirists as heroes

And on a not so light note: Religion deserves fearless disrespect'

See  article from  freethinker.co.uk

Author Salman Rushdie yesterday made a statement about the attack on the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead. He said:

Religion, a medieval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry, becomes a real threat to our freedoms.

This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today.

I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity.

"Respect for religion'" has become a code phrase meaning "fear of religion".

Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.

 

8th January

 Update: Je suis Charlie!...

The cry of defiance: Vast crowds rally across the world to condemn the censorship massacre
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
je suis charlie Tens of thousands took to the streets in Europe to show their solidarity with those killed by gunmen at the offices of satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo.

The scenes were replicated across France, in London and around the world with crowds holding placards bearing the slogan Je Suis Charlie. Others were seen carrying enlarged versions of the some of the newspaper's anti-Islamist cartoons.

Meanwhile the website of French newspaper Le Monde last night showed an interactive map of vigils being held across the world in Dublin, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Brussels, Madrid, Rome, Berlin, Vienna, Moscow, and as far afield as Tunis, Lima, Rio de Janeiro and Madagascar.

In London, hundreds of people filled Trafalgar Square at a silent vigil for those killed when masked gunmen stormed the newspaper's headquarters. Many held pens, pencils and notebooks in the air to show their support for the journalists, cartoonists and police officers who lost their lives.

The Heart is in defying censorship, but the mind says otherwise

Whilst there is a spirit of defying censorship, practicality, and fear of being killed, has rather dictated that self censorship has increased across the world.

The HuffingtonPost post reports :

Following a deadly terror attack Wednesday morning on the offices of Charlie Hebdo , a satirical French newspaper known for lampooning religion with caricature-based cartoons, many outlets have censored their coverage of the publication's depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.

The New York Daily News opted to obscure the front page of a Charlie Hebdo publication in its coverage of the attack. It blurred a cartoon from a 2011 Getty photo of Charlie Hebdo Editor Stéphane "Charb" Charbonnier , who was among those killed in Wednesday's attack. The Daily News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Telegraph took a similar approach and blurred the cover of a Charlie Hebdo paper in its live blog, then ultimately removed the image entirely , reports Politico.

And a bizarre response from Associated Press, the agency censored images of Christ over some politically correction notion of fairness after censoring images of Mohammed. An article at Gawker.com explains:

Politico's Dylan Byers reports that the Associated Press removed an image of Andres Serrano's 1987 photo Piss Christ from its photo library in the wake of today's deadly attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Removing images of the artwork seems preposterous. I searched AP's library for Piss Christ before this post went up found at least one photo of Serrano posing in front of his most well-known work , which depicts a crucifix submerged in the artist's own urine. But a few minutes later, it was gone. What gives?

In fact the AP pulled the photos after the conservative Washington Examiner noted that it pixelated Charlie Hebdo cartoons depicting Mohammad but left images of Piss Christ intact.

Nick Cohen writing in the Spectator suggests that defiance will probably be short lived, and it won't be long before free speech gets re-relegated back to its proper place below the right to not be 'offended'.

Tonight everyone is defiant. I am just back from a Je suis Charlie vigil in Trafalgar Square, and the solidarity was good to see. I fear it won't last. I may be wrong. Perhaps tomorrow's papers and news programmes will prove their commitment to freedom by republishing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

But I doubt they will even have the courage to admit that they are too scared to show them. Instead we will have insidious articles, which condemn freedom of speech as a provocation and make weasel excuses for murder without having the guts to admit it.

The Financial Times was first out of the blocks:

Charlie Hebdo is a bastion of the French tradition of hard-hitting satire. It has a long record of mocking, baiting and needling Muslims.

The writer forgot to add that Charlie Hebdo has a long record of mocking, baiting and needling everyone. It is a satirical magazine in a free country: that is what it does.

 

7th January

 Update: Ultimate Censorship...

Muslim terrorists murder editor and staff in an attack on a satirical French magazine that offended them
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists

je suis charlie Muslim terrorists have shot dead 12 people at the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo .

Four of the magazine's well-known cartoonists, including its editor, were among those killed, as well as two police officers. A major police operation is under way to find three gunmen who fled by car.

President Francois Hollande said there was no doubt it had been a terrorist attack of exceptional barbarity .

The masked attackers opened fire with assault rifles in the office and exchanged shots with police in the street outside before escaping by car. They later abandoned the car in Rue de Meaux, northern Paris, where they hijacked a second car.

Witnesses said they heard the gunmen shouting We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad and God is Great in Arabic ( Allahu Akbar ).

French media have named the three other cartoonists killed in the attack as Cabu, Tignous and Wolinski, as well as Charlie Hebdo contributor and French economist Bernard Maris.

The satirical weekly has courted controversy in the past with its irreverent take on news and current affairs. It was firebombed in November 2011 a day after it carried a caricature of the religious character Muhammad.

 

31st December

  Love, Laughter and Religion...

Religious campaigners in India and Pakistan take offence at a film titled PK
Link Here
pk 2 PK is a 2014 India comedy romance by Rajkumar Hirani.
Starring Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma and Sanjay Dutt. Youtube link IMDb

A stranger in the city asks questions no one has asked before. Known only by his initials, P.K.'s innocent questions and childlike curiosity will take him on a journey of love, laughter and letting-go.

Hindu campaigners have been attacking PK, a recently released Indian film. Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad disrupted the screening of the film at several locations demanding that supposedly objectionable scenes insulting Hindu deities and rituals be censored from the film.

In Ahmedabad, protests went violent as over 50 Bajrang Dal activists stormed and vandalised two theaters, Shiv and City Gold Multiplex. Though the miscreants fled before the police arrived, sources said the activists have been identified through CCTV footage.

Religious campaigners burned posters outside Milan cinema in Surendranagar, where the film was being screened, and forced a shutdown of the movie hall for the day. In Rajkot, saffron activists hit the streets against the film.

In Bhopal, sangh parivar activists raised slogans against Aamir Khan and jostled with cops outside Jyoti Talkies in Bhopal. Bajrang Dal and VHP have given a 24-hour ultimatum to the film's producers for removing anti-Hindu scenes. VHP-Bajrang Dal spokesman for central India Devendra Rawat said:

It has become a habit with Bollywood to hurt the sentiments of Hindus. They insult our gods and show our spiritual gurus as villains. Why don't they make a film based on Imam Bukhari and his anti-national statements?

In Delhi, police said they had stepped up security around several theatres after violent protests at Rivoli cinema in Connaught Place on Sunday when religious campaigners had smashed the theatre's window panes.

All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) member Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali has demanded that the Censor Board remove objectionable scenes so that communal harmony is not disturbed. He said:

If a film has material that hurts religious sentiments, especially when it has a Muslim actor playing a Hindu, it has the propensity to be misread.

The PK issue has also revealed that chief censor Leela Samson seems to be edged out of her job. She explained:

The ministry has not taken up the issue with me or other officials of CBFC. However, they have often chosen to bypass me and speak to officials appointed by them indicating their 'concern' about a particular film, she adds.

Samson minces no words while criticising the government, alleging that the former I&B minister Prakash Javadekar never kept his promise of allowing the board to appoint for its panels professionals who are well informed about sensitive issues. Panel members who view the films have a heavy dose of party people amongst them.

Meanwhile in Pakistan, a Hindu group named Hindu Kranti Dal had filed a complaint against PK before police commissioner of Jalandhar Yurinder Singh Hayer. Police watched PK with leaders and activists of Hindu Kranti Dal and ordered removed of scenes against which the Hindu outfit raised objections.

Hindu Kranti Dal leader Manoj Nanna said that makers of PK have disgraced Hindu god Shiv. He said that HKD want police action against PK director Raj Kumar Hirani and actor Aamir Khan.