Censoring on behalf of Muslims


by Sunny
29th August, 2006 at 2:11 pm    

A Bangladeshi-British photographer is complaining that her work has been censored by the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. A documentary work made in Bangladesh by Syra Miah and shown as part of the museum’s Art and Islam exhibitions was removed because it contained an image of a semi-naked woman.

The museum said it had been advised some days after the show opened to the public on July 8 that the image could offend a Muslim audience. However, Ms Miah, 29, rejected the suggestion. The image had not been mentioned by visitors in the museum’s comments book, on its website, or indeed by her own family, “who are very conservative”, she said. [The Guardian]

Another example of annoying liberals who censor on our behalf. Tasneem Khalil, who alerted me about this, says:

In a nutshell, it looks like exploring new faces and tendencies of “Muslim art”, what should have been the primary focus of the exhibitors, is trashed, while they are instead fuelling the myth of a Muslim society’s intolerance towards nudity. That, one must confirm, is intolerance and idiotic patronizing, at its worst.


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  1. Sylvie — on 29th August, 2006 at 2:23 pm  

    Weird — this censorship was at the behest of a group of artists, not the usual mob of ‘community leaders’

    What kind of mob of artists censors the work of another artist? Sounds like a bunch of puritans. In which case, what kind of worth can their art have?

    This is what happens if you give religious puritans access to the domain of art and public space. By all accounts, the semi-nude picture depicted a mentally ill lady in Bangladesh who was cared for by local Muslims, and so it showed the humanity and tolerance of Muslims in Bangladesh. How can that be offensive?

    I would like to know who this mob of ‘artists’ who decided to censor the work of Ms Miah are. They should be ashamed of themselves.

  2. Sylvie — on 29th August, 2006 at 2:27 pm  

    The museum acted on a complaint from a member of the Muslim arts group Artists Circle.

    Sound more like a bunch of censorious obscurantists than an artists collective. Have this particular institution now allowed a group of Muslim artists to censor and decide on what can be exhibited by other Muslim artists?

    This kind of attitude and behaviour is explicable and understandable by the usual crowd of culturally conservative religious ‘leaders’ — but by a group of artists themselves? What kind of artists are they? Shame shame shame on them….

  3. Kismet Hardy — on 29th August, 2006 at 2:30 pm  

    I’ve actually changed my mind about cencorship because of Pickled Politics.

    I used to think it’s wrong that the Jim Davidsons of the nation should be allowed to spout racist shite, but after hearing the views of a few posters here, I’ve started to think: actually, it’s a free country. Knock yourself out

    What someone says isn’t important. The important thing is what the reaction is. If a guy in a pub in London talks about, say, Pakis smelling of curry, it’s more likely that he’ll get shut up by very english clientelle and turfed out of said pub, then me fearing for my safety.

    So let people say what they want. As long as I don’t feel afraid that I might get my head kicked in, I’ll win any argument with an ignorant tosser any day of the week

    I’d rather people spoke their minds so I can identify whether they’re worth talking to or taking the piss out of

    Don’t censor anyone. Let fools, if they are fools, reveal themselves as such. Let those who want to express something you don’t like hearing air their grievances. This world is big enough for both of us

  4. Leon — on 29th August, 2006 at 2:37 pm  

    I’d rather people spoke their minds so I can identify whether they’re worth talking to or taking the piss out of

    :D

  5. Sunny — on 29th August, 2006 at 2:58 pm  

    Well, other people are allowed to complain, it’s their right to be muppets. It’s more annoying the museum has become so sensitive and decided to go down the censorship route.

    In a way it’s worse than just censorship. The museum reps probably think they’ll start getting death threats if they don’t give in to censorship, which is even more patronising.

  6. Bert Preast — on 29th August, 2006 at 3:00 pm  

    Every bit of idiotic censorship such as this turns many of my colleagues into racists, and I am sick of trying to explain every time that the danger is white middle class cretinous civil servants who think they know what’s best for everyone. Unless their agenda is actually to manufacture as many racists as they possibly can, I cannot believe that these people are considered educated.

  7. Jackie Brown — on 29th August, 2006 at 3:03 pm  

    Agree with Kismet. We can all ‘get to the point’ quicker that way.

  8. Sylvie — on 29th August, 2006 at 3:12 pm  

    Sunny

    Sure, everyone can complain, and the primary fault is that of the curators who capitulated.

    But I am interested in the artistic side of things as well, I am left wondering how a representative from a collective of Muslim artists can censor the work of another Muslim artist. Think about it. This was not instigated by the usual suspects, the pressure groups and ‘representatives’. It was instigated by an artist (or someone who calls themselves an artist). That is especially peculiar, even sinister. The pressure groups you can handle. When it is a mob of ‘artists’ who begin to censor the work of an individual Muslim artist, things take on an even more insidious aspect.

    The objection was to a picture of a mentally ill woman who was showing more flesh than the complainant seemed to like. It was then removed. This was not a gratuitous picture, but a picture depicting reality, humanity and complexity of a Muslim society. But a literalist puritanicalism seems to have censored this innocuous image.

    The artist, or collective of artists who were instrumental in this, should be ashamed of themselves, as should the curator of the exhibition.

  9. Nosemonkey — on 29th August, 2006 at 3:13 pm  

    “liberals who censor” – by my definition of the word “liberal”, that’s an oxymoron…

  10. Sylvie — on 29th August, 2006 at 3:15 pm  

    You can see profiles of the Muslim Artists Circle here:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/birmingham/faith/2004/05/artists1.shtml

    They seem to be practitioners of crafts inspired by Islam, calligraphy etc etc. Their art appears to privelige a religious message. It may well be that one of the artists profiled above was responsible for censoring the work of Ms Miah because it offended their religious sensibilities.

  11. Yakoub/Julaybib — on 29th August, 2006 at 3:35 pm  

    To the Muslim Artists’ Circle

    I’m a Muslim. I like the photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe. His photographs include pictures of nude men using sexual aids. But anyone with a basic education in art will look at Mapplethorpe and see that his some of his work uses line and form in a way which alludes directly to the European classic style. This clash of erotic imagery and classical style is, in my view, intensely beautiful. And God loves beauty.

    Modesty, in my view, is a relative social norm. I don’t think the nudes in Mapplethorpe’s work walk the streets with nothing on. I’d complain if they did.

    I’m sure many fellow Muslims would find my taste in art shocking. But I’ve no plans to get a book of Mapplethorpes out next time Tablighi call round. At the same time, I get irrate when Muslims claim to speak on my behalf about what kind of art ‘offends Muslims’.

    Portraying Muslims as a monolith of opinion and practice is what Orientalists do. Muslims who repeat the crime merely perpetuate the kind of prejudice that is the consequence of such a perspective. There IS art that offends me as a Muslim – usually because I think it is worthless rubbish, and thus any offence to my Muslim sensibilities is hard to justfy.

    But when I complain about it, I do so on my behalf. I’d appreciate it if other Muslims did likewise.

    Wasalaam

    TMA

  12. Kismet Hardy — on 29th August, 2006 at 3:35 pm  

    “it offended their religious sensibilities”

    That’s the one thing that pisses me off about religious folk.

    If you’re so damn sure that your god is bigger than everyone else’s, that you’re right and everyone else is wrong, at least feel secure enough to be arrogant about it instead of crying: ‘mummy, mummy, that man said something that made me go all descartes about everything I thought I believed in. Make him stop’

  13. Jackie Brown — on 29th August, 2006 at 3:36 pm  

    “the danger is white middle class cretinous civil servants ….who think they know what’s best for everyone”- too true.

    This problem has been around for 600 years or more-(to be fair in the past the middle class was ‘helping’ was the poor- where as we know religion and social class are two *different* things).

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,176-2330023,00.html
    And the middle class can kiss their a***

    “Throughout its 600-year history, the middle class has looked askance at the underclass: the great unwashed, hooligans and now hoodies. Sherlock Holmes always carried a revolver “east of Aldgate” — and the inhabitants of our dingier streets and estates have ever brought forth admonitions from the nanny state.”

  14. Utbah — on 29th August, 2006 at 3:57 pm  

    Zionist Attack on Academic Free Speech – Sunny “no comment”
    Zionist Attack on Comic – Sunny “no comment”
    Zionists Attack on The Independent – Sunny “no comment”
    Zionist Attack on Art – Sunny “no comment”
    Zionist’s Attack on UN High Commissioner for Human Rights – Sunny “no comment”
    Zionism Attack on The Land of The Free – Sunny “no comment”
    When People’s Freedom of Expression is Held Hostage by Israel – Sunny “no comment”
    Freedom of Speech Regarding the Middle East – Sunny “no comment”
    Zionist Attack on Campus Freedom of Speech – Sunny “no comment”

    Have you got the balls to speak out against Zionism then?

  15. Sylvie — on 29th August, 2006 at 4:00 pm  

    Yakoub/Julaybib

    I appreciate your post. But I must point out that Ms Miah’s photograph was not in the school of Mapplethorpe, nor was it in any way gratuitous. It was a picture of a mentally ill woman, cared for by Muslims, who happened to wear clothes more revealing than the individual who complained seemed to like.
    The context that this showed a glimpse of reality in a complex Muslim society seems to have escaped the Artists Circle.

    What we seem to have here is a faultline that has been exposed, between those who define Muslim art as having an evangelical purpose — non figurative, and which has to contain an Islamic message, the kind of thing that the Artists Circle produce (see above link)

    The art gallery is seen as a place in which to exhibit not art per se, but Islam, art as a promoter of the message of Islam, edifying, one-dimensional, and any Muslim artist who does not engage in that kind of one-sided exultation, and depicts some kind of reality that offends puritanical sensibility, is to be censored and dismissed. This is a mob sensibility. The Artists Circle, and the curator of the exhibition, should be ashamed of themselves.

  16. Sylvie — on 29th August, 2006 at 4:05 pm  

    Utbah

    Your post is irrelevant to the issues at hand and an act of ad hoc hysterical trolling.

  17. Leon — on 29th August, 2006 at 4:08 pm  

    Your post is irrelevant to the issues at hand and an act of ad hoc hysterical trolling.

    That’s one way to characterise it, another is that it’s just a lame attempt to stir up a bit of heat to raise traffic to his blog…

  18. Kismet Hardy — on 29th August, 2006 at 4:14 pm  

    Utbah so let me get this straight. I’m no sherlock holmes, so forgive me if I’m way off the mark. But am I right in thinking you have an issue with Zionists?

  19. Leon — on 29th August, 2006 at 4:20 pm  

    I reckon he fancies Sunny (got a pic of him on his blog and everything) and is hurt by Sunnys awful neglect of him…

  20. Kismet Hardy — on 29th August, 2006 at 4:23 pm  

    Surely he should vent his rage towards Bob Marley, what with his Iron, Lion, Zion bigging up of this awful species. I also heard Zionists were lizards or something like that. Maybe Utbah doesn’t like things

  21. Kismet Hardy — on 29th August, 2006 at 4:25 pm  

    Just checked your site utbah. sunny hundal:

    Can’t control his ego

    Needs special attention

    Too many of his girl friends dumped him because he has no life

    I haven’t laughed this hard in flipping ages. You can come to my housewarming orgy utbah

  22. Sylvie — on 29th August, 2006 at 4:26 pm  

    LoL @ Kismet Hardy

    Yes, maybe Utbah hates Rastafarians and is actually Rastaphobic.

  23. Leon — on 29th August, 2006 at 4:29 pm  

    Surely he should vent his rage towards Bob Marley, what with his Iron, Lion, Zion bigging up of this awful species. I also heard Zionists were lizards or something like that. Maybe Utbah doesn’t like things

    Thinking about it, shouldn’t he go mental at the creators of the Matrix Trilogy for daring to have the last surving human city called Zion?!

  24. Kismet Hardy — on 29th August, 2006 at 4:33 pm  

    My god you’re right. I always thought it was strange there wasn’t a single Muslim in the entire Matrix trilogy

    I blame sunny

  25. raz — on 29th August, 2006 at 4:41 pm  

    How long is it before we get a http://www.hundalwatch.com ? :)

  26. Sunny — on 29th August, 2006 at 4:44 pm  

    Utbah – you poor thing. Clearly you missed out my comments on the recent John Ware documentary on Interpal.

    Yakoub – good post.

  27. Utbah — on 29th August, 2006 at 5:06 pm  

    “Utbah – you poor thing. Clearly you missed out my comments on the recent John Ware documentary on Interpal.”

    Nice try to avoid the questions which I have put forward.

    Why have you not condemn any of those parties who have and are trying to censor, especially the Zionists? No Balls? You poor thing.

  28. Utbah — on 29th August, 2006 at 5:12 pm  

    “Utbah so let me get this straight. I’m no sherlock holmes, so forgive me if I’m way off the mark. But am I right in thinking you have an issue with Zionists?”

    You tell me, Zionists can get away with censorship while Muslims can’t?

    Why does Sunny propagate double standards? If Sunny has a problem with Muslim censorship surely he should have a problem with the same censorship of other parties?

    I can see the cavalry has arrived to protect Sunny hehe, I’ll a wait for his response to all those censorships stories.

  29. Kismet Hardy — on 29th August, 2006 at 5:19 pm  

    Utbah, the fact that sunny doesn’t censor morons has always been good news for me

    And now you

    Dude, if someone’s being a prick (muslim ‘leaders’ crying havoc over a burger king advert or the israeli army bombing the fuck out of lebanon) this site condemns them. And by and large, it’s been pretty cool on muslim issues at a time when islamapohobia is blazing everywhere else.

    Just accept and go to bed happier admitting that you hate jews and probably a bit gay for sunny. it’s okay. there there. I’m a misguided freak also

  30. Angry Vikrant — on 29th August, 2006 at 5:49 pm  

    No Balls? You poor thing.

    Boo-hooo Utbah you Pizza HuTter… Sunny has fricassed balls of your ilk loads of times.

    Be honest whid me Utbah, arent you the one who has been vandalising Sunny’s Wikipedia (authored ofcourse by me :) )…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sunny_Hundal&diff=65915986&oldid=65862659

    Sunny Hundal is unrepresentative of British Asian society. His “watchdog” constantly hounds BBC DJs and ex-editor Farrah Damji. When asked why he persisted in writing scandal for his supposedly serious site, he answered, whenever he wrote about Ms Damji he got many more hits on his website. He runs his website out of his mother’s house in Southall. His mentor is Yasmin I have no Alibi for being Brown which sort of says it all.

  31. Vikrant Singh — on 29th August, 2006 at 5:52 pm  

    I think Utbah is one of Sunny’s ex-girl friends….

  32. Sylvie — on 29th August, 2006 at 6:27 pm  

    Sunny, not censoring posts is good, but this was a blatant act of trolling which has sent this thread completely in another direction, just as the loathsome troll desired with his ad hoc nonsense.

    If there are serious issues to be discussed, why let threads get vandalised by these moronic trolls. You can delete the trolls words and insert a message that if he has issues with you, to contact you directly, and allow this thread to be free of diversionary tactics.

  33. Bert Preast — on 29th August, 2006 at 6:27 pm  

    Utbah – What are zionists censoring that muslims aren’t allowed to?

  34. Bert Preast — on 29th August, 2006 at 6:43 pm  

    To get back to the topic, Tasneem is right. Muslims in the UK who try to be progressive are not only fighting conservative islam, they’re fighting the PC Brigade (who, before anyone starts, quite clearlyand undeniably DO exist: http://www.pcbrigade.de/ ) and the liberal civil service establishment.

    Until a progressive muslim gets the same freedom of speech as a conservative one, islam is going nowhere.

  35. raz — on 29th August, 2006 at 7:34 pm  

    OI THIS NEW FORMAT LOOKS SHIT CHANGE IT BACK TO THE OLD ONE SUNNY!

  36. Don — on 29th August, 2006 at 7:40 pm  

    I agree with Raz. Also, it doesn’t show recent comments, useful if you feel like hounding someone.

  37. Bert Preast — on 29th August, 2006 at 7:45 pm  

    I concur. It’s rubbish.

  38. Don — on 29th August, 2006 at 7:52 pm  

    Back on topic,

    ‘The irony of censorship in the name of multiculturalism is that it undermines much of what is valuable about cultural diversity. When we talk about diversity, what we mean is that the world is a messy place, full of clashes and conflicts. That is all for the good, for such clashes and conflicts are the stuff of political and cultural engagement. The censors, however, seem frightened of the mess, and want everything nicely parcelled up, free of conflict, all neat and ordered. ‘Respect’ has become the major tool through which they hope to enforce such order.’

    http://www.kenanmalik.com/debates/free_speech_IQ2.html

  39. Chairwoman — on 29th August, 2006 at 8:15 pm  

    This format is incredibly boring. What are you thinking of, Sunny?

  40. Don — on 29th August, 2006 at 8:30 pm  

    What is this? Some kind of zionist format, Hundal? What? No answer? Ha ha ha, as I suspected!

    Why have you not condemn any of those zionist formats? Why is my obsession not given more time here? You cannot answer so you smear and evade.

    WE ARE ON TO YOUR TRICKS, HUNDAL!!!!!

  41. soru — on 29th August, 2006 at 8:39 pm  

    Light blue and white – that’s a Zionist colour scheme…

    http://www.intelligencesummit.org/images/Israel.gif

  42. QueenBee — on 29th August, 2006 at 9:09 pm  

    I think this is a temporary template and Sunny has a major re-vamp under way….

  43. Bilal Patel — on 29th August, 2006 at 9:15 pm  

    So one piece of work in a provincial art gallery gets removed because it might offend sensitivities. So suddenly the whole world falls apart.

    I wonder those of us who object to this might protest and walk around naked in public, and force our mothers and daughters to do the same. I think that we would be arrested for indecency. See – we do have taboos after all, just like those nasty religious folks we accuse of censorship all the time.

    There is no objection surely to having the offending picture as part of a general art exhibition. But once you link that exhibition to something religious, then surely one will get a reaction. I’m not for or against any censorship in this case – I simply don’t care. It’s the reaction that I’m more concerned about.

  44. Sylvie — on 29th August, 2006 at 9:31 pm  

    Nice line in classical victimology persecution relativist rhetoric there Bilal – right down to the egregious, hysterical and irrelevant comparisons (forcing mothers and daughters to walk around naked in public no less!)

    You have the knife sharpened and gleaming from long practice, I expect.

  45. Bert Preast — on 29th August, 2006 at 9:45 pm  

    I’m all for it. I’ve no daughters and only my mother’s word for it that she is my mother, after all.

  46. Bilal Patel — on 29th August, 2006 at 10:02 pm  

    It is not hysterical to point out the hypocritical. What is hysterical is the reaction this single subject has generated. Also, if you find the idea of people walking around naked hysterical, then it shows you have a strong reaction to something that isn’t actually controversial at all.

    Therefore you can be accused of having the same hysterical reaction to those religious folk who are determined to censor everything, or so we are led to believe. Everyone has their red lines and their morals. Religion is about morals and red lines too you know. If you are linking art to religion, then be prepared to introduce limits, unless what you really want to do is to deliberately provoke.

  47. Don — on 29th August, 2006 at 10:24 pm  

    ‘It is not hysterical to point out the hypocritical.’

    No, but it is impolite to accuse people of hypocrisy when you don’t know them.

    ‘What is hysterical is the reaction this single subject has generated.’

    Would you really characterise the responses so far as hysterical? You should visit other blogs.

    ‘Also, if you find the idea of people walking around naked hysterical, then it shows you have a strong reaction to something that isn’t actually controversial at all. ‘

    Who found the idea of naked people hysterical? Actually, naked people just walking around in public is a bit controversial you must admit. In context, could be fun; but as a general rule I’d rather not. But scarcely the same thing as the depiction of the semi or unclothed form in a gallery.

    ‘Therefore you can be accused of having the same hysterical reaction to those religious folk who are determined to censor everything, or so we are led to believe.’

    Not ‘these religious folks’. Stick around, you’ll find we tend to be a bit more nuanced here. I think we have been fairly clear who is in the frame for this nonsense.

    ‘Everyone has their red lines and their morals. Religion is about morals and red lines too you know.’

    And if an artist crosses a religious red line? Artists are not well known for their morals.

    ‘If you are linking art to religion, then be prepared to introduce limits, unless what you really want to do is to deliberately provoke.’

    If religion links itself to art, then it must be prepared to have it’s limits crossed, unless what you really want is to deliberately oppress.

  48. Sylvie — on 29th August, 2006 at 10:39 pm  

    As I said Bilal, you have this particular line of cant filled rhetoric down to a tee — I congratulate you for it, the swagger, the desperation-sneer (oh, the provincial gallery!) the irrelevancy, the ad hoc, the tu quoque fallaciousness, syndicated with the standard hysteria (invoke naked sisters and mothers as a comparison! get the blood pumping! the picture in question is EXACTLY like ‘forcing our mothers and sisters to go naked in public’ – don’t hold back with the egregiousness, pile it on, more, more…..), the tenth rate persecution complexity, all of it is standard fare, and quite a few are impressed with it, as they always are by clumsy fumbling and dull rage. Bravo!

    But it’s all too familiar to me.

    And Don makes neat bullet points too.

  49. Bilal Patel — on 29th August, 2006 at 10:46 pm  

    I think Sylvie spoke to me as if she was familiar with me, so I returned the compliment. But that is neither here nor there. I meant to refer to a general hysteria without reference to any individual.

    I don’t object one way or another about this particular painting. If it has any standing, then it should stand for itself in another exhibition without reference to religion. Ultimately, someone’s going to make a decision about a piece of art that may not meet a category (art and religion) that’s been defined for it by the gallery, the artist, or the Muslim Artists group in this case. The causal relationship is clearly one way here – the art links to religion, and not the other way round.

    If we’re talking about Islamic Art, as opposed to ‘Art and Islam’ then there are rules about what may or may not be portrayed. I daresay some of those rules were employed here, and a decision made. Probably the same level of sensitivity would have been shown in the past. I fail to see what’s so different about it now.

  50. Tanvir — on 29th August, 2006 at 11:08 pm  

    On first impressions another ultra-secularist ~why can’t Muslims be/or show they are more non-Muslim than they are~ rant but scrolling down I see some common sense has made its mark.

    First of all, isnt Tasneem they guy who posed semi naked on his blog with his girlfriend, well his girlfriend flashed one tit, did but he didnt have the balls to flash anything himself.

    Anyway, maybe I should put this into perspective to show how tragically wrong the whole story is in its foundations. I have myself witnessed nudity such as mentioned by the photographer or ‘artist’; usually pretty old, and visibly the poorest, most destitute women on the streets. They no longer have the blouse part to wear under their saree, they have whatever ragged shreds of their saree to cover themselves up, and are in such a state of despair that they longer are conscious of not fully covering their private parts.

    If it were a younger woman, one capable of work, or having clothes, members of the public would tell them to cover up, or the cops would. But women so poor and desperate, dont get bugged in this manner, people just lower their gaze, and maybe give them money.

    This is a sign of compassion by the public, where the obvious state of the persons well-being overrides the fact she is showing something she shouldn’t – not some massive statement of acceptability of public displays of nudity. Its is brought out of a combination of general common sense, and also teachings of compassion and mercy – and I find it insulting if anyone says we need to prove these traits to the world, as if it is generally assumed we lack them.

    But this artist has mis-concluded that public displays of nudity is all good with some muslims (tip: get in touch with tasneem and his girfriend you might be in luck) and out of all places she has gone to Bangladesh to find her evidence!! I think she should be censored for being bloody stupid.

    Now some of you are asking about where ones mums or sisters fall into this…. it is generaly thought that when trying to congure up an analogy in order to respect women, think of them all as someones mum or sister and try and respect them like you would your own. Now for lets say one of your mums got schizophrenia, which was okay-ish controlled, but got worse and worse, and sometimes got better, but on a trip to India really got the better of her. She disappears. No sign of her. 10 years later, in an Art exhibition in Birmingham, you go with all your mates, and there you see a knackered old hag, with all her bits hanging out, sitting in a bus shelter… the thought crosses your mind, but not really. But the next day the Guardian prints one of the pieces of art up for a big prize, more so because the piece of art got hit by a bus so there’s a really big story to tell behind it. Get it?

    I wonder if the piece of art was asked for her permission? I wonder what her friends, relatives (if they know where she is) or even the members of the public who see her everyday would think about her in the nude being a piece of art?

    Fu**ing secularists.

  51. Kulvinder — on 29th August, 2006 at 11:48 pm  

    Whoa, its like leaving PP and returning to find its been redecorated by the guys who did tory party confrences circa 1980.

    Utbah, this blog is actually funded by zionists and mossad. Sunny continues his vehement zionist support because the secret world order bugged his thai hotel room, and well ill leave it to your imagination but the words ‘tranny’ ‘midget’ ‘bondage’ and ‘bukkake’ are helpful indicators of what happened.

    I wonder those of us who object to this might protest and walk around naked in public, and force our mothers and daughters to do the same. I think that we would be arrested for indecency. See – we do have taboos after all, just like those nasty religious folks we accuse of censorship all the time.

    Oh id agree that laws on public decency are utterly idiotic and should be scrapped. A fairly large part of the population walks the street in far more overtly sexual clothing every weekend whilst clubbing than some poor man/woman who gets prosecuted for practising naturism. Highlighting the idiocy of one law to support the low brow actions of a ‘provincial art gallery’ is hardly a strong argument. Id readily see both the naked people and the artist do what ever they wanted.

    Fu**ing secularists

    Im confused what secularism has to do with the situation.

  52. Sunny — on 29th August, 2006 at 11:49 pm  

    Sorry about the format change folks, don’t ask me why it happened. It has resorted now anyway.

    Nice sob story Tanvir, but you’re missing the point. There are millions of pictures taken of people from South Asia, whether destitute or not. You have a problem with these pictures…. then presumably you have problems with pictures taken when people died in Lebanon too following the Israeli attacks? Or is it that you’re fine with those pictures (specially since Muslim sites use them all the time to drive home their point)…. but have a problem with “fu**ing secularists” get agitated over censorship.

    Or maybe, just to be consistent, you do email other Muslim websites when the put up pictures of crying mothers or kids, and tell them off for putting up pictures of people in pain without their permission.

    But I suspect you don’t because all you want is an excuse to have a go at someone. Oh life is hard….

  53. Sunny — on 29th August, 2006 at 11:54 pm  

    why can’t Muslims be/or show they are more non-Muslim than they are

    Pray, tell us how does one become more Muslim than the other or how one competes to be non-Muslim? I mean it’s not like you’re passing judgement on others Tanvir…. because we both know only Allah can do that. But of course, you’re too intelligent to do that. So presumably you have a list somewhere so that tells you when people who get annoyed at censorship of their pictures are automatically being less Muslim than others. Since you are the judge in these things of course.

  54. Sunny — on 30th August, 2006 at 12:00 am  

    surely he should have a problem with the same censorship of other parties?

    Utbah – Let’s humour you. Yes I do have problems with other examples of censorship. Why not give me specific examples than screaming Zionist this and Zionist that?

  55. Bilal Patel — on 30th August, 2006 at 12:07 am  

    I think this whole things has been completely blown out of proportion over a single picture. Even under normal circumstances, there would have been a degree of limit with an exhibition of this kind and it wouldn’t have been a no-holds-barred event. I don’t think a provocative exhibition is the kind of thing that the gallery wants, hence why they’ve sought the guidance of the Muslim Artists Group, whoever they are. It’s not as if the whole exhibition has been scrapped though.

    I think Tanvir is making the point that it’s suddenly become a big issue because of the ‘ultra secularists’.

    I’m just mindful of keeping a sense of perspective here. If the painting is so important, I don’t think there would be any objection if it was held in an exhibition without the links to religion. The title itself will lend to a certain degree of limitation, as I said above.

  56. Sunny — on 30th August, 2006 at 12:37 am  

    I think this whole things has been completely blown out of proportion over a single picture.

    Bilal – I mentioned this article not because I wanted to say “Oh my good, look they’re censoring us because of Muslims again”. My point was to highlight another examples where so-called liberals (and I agree with Nosemonkey in that this person cannot really be a liberal) is censoring a Muslim person’s art because they think other Muslims are overly sensitive.

    It’s a patronising attitude similar to when judges let off sex-offenders easy because of “they don’t know our culture” arguments. See here for example:
    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/703

    Tanvir – in typically defensive mode, thinks I’m having a go at Muslims. Or he thinks this is a form of ultra-secularism. Which is even more bizarre.

  57. Utbah — on 30th August, 2006 at 1:09 am  

    Sunny, all those statements I have made have the article on the blog that I write for http://jihadandthecity.wordpress.com/

    I can’t wait for you to write a post on this blog condemning the censorship other than the Asians.

  58. Tasneem — on 30th August, 2006 at 1:25 pm  

    Exciting debate. My post updated with photos [Profile and the photo in question] now:

    http://www.iwrnews.org/tasneem/archives/who-is-censoring-on-behalf-of-islam

  59. AsifB — on 30th August, 2006 at 2:11 pm  

    Sunny/Tasneem – interesting, but depressing story.
    It may not be an especially significant photo in the wider scheme of things (and there is a decades old debate amonst charities for instance about the ethics of using pictures of sufferring -and certainly there is also a case for showcasing non-stereotypical ‘postive images’ from the South ) but as the Guardian piece noted, the artist’s fair minded assessment of this photo was trampled underfoot by a ludicrous bureaucrat , purportedly acting on behalf of ‘stakeholders’ – make no mistake, I’d never heard of Melissa Strauss before yesterday, but I know now she is an idiot.

    “An email about the decision from the museum’s Melissa Strauss to Ms Miah also said the work might hinder the institution’s attempts to increase its audiences. “The Art and Islam programme is about showcasing artists whose work is inspired by Muslim cultures in some way, but we are also aiming to reach new audiences through the programme,” she wrote. “This complaint has come from our target audience, and also a member of one of our main stakeholder groups.”

  60. Tina — on 1st September, 2006 at 7:47 pm  

    The Artists Circle seem to have issued a statement regarding this: http://artistscircle.org.uk/statement.htm

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