Polish activist Elzbieta Podlesna has been arrested for 'offending' religious beliefs for possessing copies of a poster showing the religious characters of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus with rainbow halos.
Amnesty International's Regional Europe Researcher, Barbora Cernusakova, commented:
We are extremely concerned to hear that Elzbieta Podlesna, a Polish human rights activist, was arrested and detained for several hours on spurious charges upon her return to Poland from a trip to Belgium and the Netherlands with Amnesty
The posters had been posted around the town of Plock at the end of April. The posters depicted the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, one of the most highly revered icons in Poland.
Amnesty International said:
Given the lack of evidence of a crime here, we can only see that Elzbieta has been detained for her peaceful activism. Amnesty International calls on the Polish authorities to stop harassing peaceful protesters and activists in Poland, including
by arbitrarily arresting people who stand up for their rights. Restricting activists from freely expressing their views in the country is unlawful and must stop immediately.
The Siege of Tel Aviv by Hesh Kestin, a parody novel, had been pulled by its independent publisher, Dzanc Books after a Twitter lynch mob claimed the book to be Islamophobic and racist.
Kestin explained that the publisher had initially stood its ground against the Twitteridiots who attacked it, but later buckled under pressure.
The book had earlier been endorsed by some big names including Stephen King who said it was scarier than anything he ever wrote, but also that:
An irrepressible sense of humor runs through it ... it's stuff like the cross-dressing pilot (my favorite character) and any number of deliciously absurd situations (the pink jets). It's the inevitable result of an eye that sees the funny side,
even in horror. So few writers have that. This novel will cause talk and controversy. Most of all, it will be read.
The book's promotional material reads:
Iran leads five armies in a brutal victory over Israel, which ceases to exist. Within hours, its leaders are rounded up and murdered, the IDF is routed, and the country's six million Jews concentrated in Tel Aviv, which becomes a starving
ghetto. While the US and the West sit by, Israel's enemies prepare to kill off the entire population.
On the eve of genocide, Tel Aviv makes one last attempt to save itself, as an Israeli businessman, a gangster, and a cross-dressing fighter pilot put together a daring plan to counterattack. Will it succeed?
It seems to have been the promotional material that was the basis for the Twitterstorm. Writer Nathan Goldman Goldman said that as soon as he read the marketing copy of the book -- he says he has not read the book in its entirety-- he knew the
racist rhetoric it was implying.
Emmy Award-winning poet Tariq Luthun, who also engaged in the Twitter conversation, said that he doesn't know the writer's specific ideologies, but what he read in the description and the excerpt available online goes beyond Islamophobia.
Steve Gillis, co-founder of Dzanc Books, apologised.
If an error has been committed, it is not in our intent, but in the failure to consider how readers might perceive the novel. It was my own blindness, and reading the novel as a parody, which has me so troubled now.
Memories of My Body is a 2018 Indonesia drama by Garin Nugroho.
Starring Muhammad Khan, Raditya Evandra and Rianto.
In Center Java Juno, a pre-teen abandoned by his father, joins a Lengger dance centre where men assume feminine appearances but the political and social upheaval in Indonesia forces him on the road, meeting remarkable people on his journey.
Muslim groups in Indonesia are calling for a ban on the film Memories of My Body, a drama from the country's best-known art house director, Garin Nugroho. The groups claim that the film is sexually deviant and promotes LGBT values.
The film depicts the story of a young man from a dance troupe that performs Lengger Lanang, a folk dance from central Java that is usually performed in pairs, and in which men often take both male and female roles.
Memories of My Body premiered in the Venice Film Festival's Horizon section, where it won the prize for best film. The success was repeated at several other festivals.
The film encountered problems in Indonesia following its release on April 18. After being given a 17+ rating by the censorship board (LSF), the film was given a 40-screen release.
In less than a week, the film was banned by local officials in regions including Depok and Palembang. Others called on the powerful assembly of Muslim elders known as the Indonesian Ulema Council to move against the film. Arovah Windiani, a
spokeswoman for the council said that, from a moral perspective, the film should not be out there.
A backlash against the film was further fanned on social media. An online petition calling for Memories of My Body to be banned gained 160,000 signatures.
On Monday, the Muslim elders' council demanded that the censorship board change the film's certification to 21+, and recommended that Nugroho re-edit the film to make its meaning less ambiguous.
Nugroho has refused to revise the film and told Variety that he opposes mob justice.
With screenings banned in five provinces, the film is now playing on just three screens across the country.
In related news a religious mob has attacked dancers at an Indonesian event.
Members of a Malay youth paramilitary organisation, justified the attack by claiming the dance was vulgar. They also said that the wearing of tight shirts by male dancers from Tanjungpura University who were dancing femininely was not compatible
with Indonesian culture.
A university lecturer and three students fell victim to the mob as they were celebrating World Dance Day in the Indonesian city of Pontianak last week.