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.
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
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.
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
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.
Manmarziyaan is a 2018 India romance by Anurag Kashyap.
Starring Abhishek Bachchan, Vicky Kaushal and Tapsee Pannu.
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
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.
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
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
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.