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Feb 06 2014

Christians, Muslims Unite for Censorship

The upcoming Adelaide Fringe Festival in Australia includes one provocative show called Come Heckle Christ, in which a comedian will portray Jesus and invite people to jeer him. Could be funny, I suppose, depending on how talented the comedian is. But a Catholic archbishop is demanding that the government stop the show from going on.

Archbishop Philip Wilson sent a letter to Mr Weatherill on Thursday, asking him to intervene. He also sent a letter to SA parishes on Friday outlining his concerns and asked for these to be read during Mass over the weekend.

“While I am a strong advocate for freedom of speech and supporter of the arts, I believe this production is extremely ­offensive to people of any ­religious persuasion and insulting to many South Australians,” Archbishop Wilson wrote.

“It is outrageous and inappropriate for this sort of anti-Christian, blasphemous performance to be included in a public festival such as the Fringe.”

No, I’m sorry, you are certainly not a “strong advocate for freedom of speech.” You’re an authoritarian who wants to censor speech that offends you. That’s the exact opposite of what you claim to be. And now a Muslim leader is endorsing that censorship.

TICKET sales for controversial Adelaide Fringe show Come Heckle Christ have increased by about 60 per cent since Christian groups began voicing opposition to the act at the weekend .

However, the Islamic Society of South Australia added its support to the Catholic Church’s call to cancel the show.

Islamic Society of SA secretary Dr Waleed Alkhazrajy said it would be “blasphemy if a person dressed to show himself as the Prophet Mohammed”.

“All the Muslims around the world share the same believe that any acts or reference to depict any of the Abrahamic faiths’ prophets is a blasphemy and it is not acceptable,” Dr Alkhazrajy said.

Then you shouldn’t go see it. And then you should shut the fuck up.

28 comments

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  1. 1
    eric

    “All the Muslims around the world share the same believe that any acts or reference to depict any of the Abrahamic faiths’ prophets is a blasphemy and it is not acceptable,”

    Well, that’s new. Nobody can draw Jesus or Ezekiel now either?

  2. 2
    Marcus Ranum

    a comedian will portray Jesus and invite people to jeer him

    If Doug Stanhope was doing it, I’d fly halfway around the world to see it.

  3. 3
    criticaldragon1177

    Ed Brayton,

    You wrote,
    ——————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    No, I’m sorry, you are certainly not a “strong advocate for freedom of speech.” You’re an authoritarian who wants to censor speech that offends you. That’s the exact opposite of what you claim to be.
    ——————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    Funny how it is that people will say they’re for something, when really, they’re for the exact opposite.

  4. 4
    David Hart

    Or, for that matter, Joseph Smith? Or does he not count?

  5. 5
    David Hart

    (That was, of course, in reponse to Eric @ 1)

  6. 6
    busterggi

    “All the Muslims around the world share the same believe that any acts or reference to depict any of the Abrahamic faiths’ prophets is a blasphemy and it is not acceptable,” Dr Alkhazrajy said.”

    Because no Muslim has ever said anything unpleasant about Jews or Christians, right?

  7. 7
    Modusoperandi

    Wait until the Muslim representative finds out that the Catholic representative keeps a big “any act or reference to depict any of the Abrahamic faiths’ prophets” in the front of his church…

  8. 8
    Sastra

    Islamic Society of SA secretary Dr Waleed Alkhazrajy said it would be “blasphemy if a person dressed to show himself as the Prophet Mohammed”.

    A helpful suggestion! I’m glad to see that some people are getting into the spirit of the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

    Iirc at least one atheist group had a fundraiser at a local fair which was called “Stone the Atheist.” People would pay to fling water balloons at nonbelievers. If it was done as a joke, my guess is that atheists would be fine with a similar booth put out by Christians.

    No Christian though would ever put on a show called “Come Heckle the Atheist.” We live for that shit, we’re prepared, and they know it.

  9. 9
    dingojack

    ‘”I believe this production is extremely ­offensive to people of any ­religious persuasion and insulting to many South Australians,” Archbishop Wilson wrote’.

    What? It’s likely to offend all religious persuasions? every single one? And many South Australians? Have you asked them, or are you assuming they’re all under your mind control (as if you were some kind of god)?

    “Islamic Society of SA secretary Dr Waleed Alkhazrajy said it would be “blasphemy if a person dressed to show himself as the Prophet Mohammed”.

    “All the Muslims around the world share the same believe that any acts or reference to depict any of the Abrahamic faiths’ prophets is a blasphemy and it is not acceptable,” Dr Alkhazrajy said.”

    Except it’s not Mohammed is it? The play is called Heckle Jesus. Again, have you asked what all 1 billion (or more) Muslims think? Or are you assuming you’re the god controlling all Muslims.

    Dingo
    ——–
    Nice to see Streisand getting a run again.

  10. 10
    Artor

    “All the Muslims around the world share the same believe that any acts or reference to depict any of the Abrahamic faiths’ prophets is a blasphemy and it is not acceptable,” Dr Alkhazrajy said.

    Well, Maajid Nawaz clearly disagrees and he is Muslim. I guess that makes Dr Alkhazrajy a liar. What a surprise!

  11. 11
    richardelguru

    “if a person dressed to show himself as the Prophet Mohammed” I was wondering what to do for Halloween…

  12. 12
    iknklast

    Eric @#1 – what about Noah? Is Noah OK to draw? Or will someone have to denounce and ban my book, The Diary of Mrs. Noah, because it depicts Noah lassoing a vulture? (Oh, please, someone ban my book!!)

  13. 13
    dingojack

    iknklast – having read the minds of all 19 million Australians (and surprisingly every single one agrees with me) – I hereby officially and totally ban your book!!!
    Sales will now go up by 0.0001 per decade. Yay Babs!
    ;) Dingo

  14. 14
    raven

    “All the Muslims around the world share the same believe that any acts or reference to depict any of the Abrahamic faiths’ prophets is a blasphemy and it is not acceptable,” Dr Alkhazrajy said.”

    That would include Cindy Jacobs, Rick Joyner, Pat Robertson, Rick Satanorum, Michele Bachmann, and dozens of other modern self described prophets.

  15. 15
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @eric:

    It’s not new. It is just that, like all such strictures, it applies only to muslims. The ban on depiction (which is not universal among the ummah, but is the most common interpretation, IIR/UnderstandC). Christian iconography was widespread before the expansion of Islam, and so declaring war on all creators/owners/displayers of Jesus imagery would have meant declaring war on all Europe – which was tried, and which got no further than the Balkans (via Turkey) in the east and southern France (via Iberia) in the west.

    Unable to convert Europe by the sword, they had to make peace with the depiction of Biblical prophets in European artwork. But for various reasons, this tolerance simply isn’t as widespread when it comes to depictions of Mohammed. In part this is because pre-Islam you didn’t have others already depicting Mohammed, so there wasn’t a separate tradition to “respect”. In part this is because there’s been a lot of violence between Christian and Muslim communities, and so people are wary of “aggression” which, in this case, is interpreted to include depiction of Mohammed by non-muslims since non-muslims have “no reason” to depict him other than aggression.

    I guess it’s easier for me to speak about why European Renaissance paintings of Adam & Eve are tolerated than about why non-muslim depictions of Mohammed are not tolerated, but the ban on creating idols of the prophets, which includes not just sculpture, but any depiction, has always been about *all* the prophets.

    In fact, it was the desire not to depict any person or anything that might “come between” the muslim and god that led to some of the most beautiful and amazing artwork in the world. In particular, non-repeating and rarely-repeating tiling patterns, each pattern using a small set of interlocking shapes, was a major mathematical accomplishment that led to both beauty and deeper geometrical understanding.

    So, yeah, the taboo has existed for muslims as inclusive of all people – prophet or not – for a long time. Possibly as long as Islam. There wasn’t a huge need to discourage depicting random persons, though, since the focus was on not creating idols and we don’t worship random people. So the focus was on the prophets.

    I don’t know, but if I had to guess about Islam’s first 300 years, after Mohammed the biggest concerns were probably with Abraham and Adam.

    Still, yes, it applies to Jesus and Saddam Hussein equally. One more reason why the Islamists hated Saddam.

  16. 16
    Crimson Clupeidae

    I’m curious, does SA have blasphemy laws? If not, then the clerics can go fuck themselves. Or each other really, I’m not one to dictate sexual mores….

  17. 17
    matty1

    @4

    Joseph Smith? Or does he not count?

    @14

    That would include Cindy Jacobs, Rick Joyner, Pat Robertson, Rick Satanorum, Michele Bachmann, and dozens of other modern self described prophets.

    In the interests of accuracy I think he is referring only to those prophets who are recognised in the Quran as pre-Islamic. The linked concept of People of the Book (Jews and Christians) being entitled to rights under Sharia that are not available to ‘pagans’ is well established.

  18. 18
    Gregory in Seattle

    It warms my heart to see authoritarian censors slapped down by the Streisand Effect: the louder they screech, “EVIL! DON’T LOOK AT IT!” the more curious people will become to look at it.

  19. 19
    colnago80

    Considering the strong criticism of the Raping Children Church by a United Nations human rights panel for their handling of the child abuse scandal, The asshole cardinal should follow the advise of his boss, Yeshua ben Yusef of Nazareth and first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye

  20. 20
    Moggie

    No, I’m sorry, you are certainly not a “strong advocate for freedom of speech.”

    Yes he is! And not only his own freedom of speech: he’s such a strong advocate that he even supports the freedom of other people to say things he agrees with!

  21. 21
    marcus

    “While I am a strong advocate for freedom of speech …”
    “Some of my best friends are…”

  22. 22
    eric

    Crip Dyke:

    So, yeah, the taboo has existed for muslims as inclusive of all people – prophet or not – for a long time. Possibly as long as Islam.

    I wasn’t aware that the ‘official’ or historical proscriptions applied to nonbelievers drawing Jesus and OT prophets, so thanks.

    Though I was aware of the timeline, and so can shoot some learnin’ right back at ya. The stricture developed around AD 900. There is or was, evidently, 300 or so years of great Islamic painting and artwork featuring Mohammed…which has largely been defaced or destroyed, mostly by the muslims who inherited it. But evidently you can still find some of it around.

  23. 23
    Lofty

    The festival organisers politely tell the whingers to get stuffed.

    Adelaide Fringe Festival director Greg Clarke says people should make up their own minds about the act.

    “Adelaide Fringe is an open-access fringe festival and what that means is that anyone can present their work in the Adelaide Fringe,” he said.

    “We don’t curate the festival. I don’t program the festival and this is the way the Fringe has been run now for over 50 years.

    “It does concern me that people are targeting organisations. They can’t cancel the show; I just don’t know what people are hoping to gain from that.”

  24. 24
    mithrandir

    criticaldragon1177 @3:

    Funny how it is that people will say they’re for something, when really, they’re for the exact opposite.

    It’s like how, when people say something racist or sexist, they tend to preface it with “I’m not racist/sexist, but…”

  25. 25
    laurentweppe

    Funny how it is that people will say they’re for something, when really, they’re for the exact opposite.

    That’s reverse projection: instead of accusing your ennemies of your own vices, you claim to embody the virtues opposed to your own vices.

    ***

    “All the Muslims around the world share the same believe that any acts or reference to depict any of the Abrahamic faiths’ prophets is a blasphemy and it is not acceptable,” Dr Alkhazrajy said.
    Well, Maajid Nawaz clearly disagrees and he is Muslim. I guess that makes Dr Alkhazrajy a liar. What a surprise!

    Of course not! It’s obviously Maajid Nawaz who’s a liar, because only fundies can be authentically religious™, the rest being obviously closeted atheists: I mean, that’s the only thing about which Ken Ham and Richard Dawkins are in agreement, so it Must be true!
    /sarcasm

    ***

    “if a person dressed to show himself as the Prophet Mohammed” I was wondering what to do for Halloween…

    To make the disguise complete and ensure fundies’ brain meltdown, find a female partner to wear a sword and a lot of makeup scars and when people ask who she’s cosplaying, she’ll answer “I’m his historically accurate bodyguard and the progenitor of the Holy Sepulchre’s guardians

  26. 26
    DavidinOz

    Hello and greetings from Adelaide.

    This is typical fringe entertainment around The Fringe – if their churches aren’t bitching it isn’t The Fringe.

    The local daily paper has had a few opinion pieces but the letters page has been very quiet on the topic. If you know Adelaide, you will know it is called “The City of Churches” but these days would be better known as The City of Empty Churches. Many are now homes, shops, etc. Even the Synagogue was converted in to a nightclub.

  27. 27
    matty1

    If I recall the rules are different in at least some sections of Shia Islam where there is religious art showing Mohammed, though usually with his face obscured in some way. So any outside authority trying to ‘respect’ Islamic tradition by banning depictions is actually taking sides in an internal Muslim disagreement. It’s a bit like saying you will respect Christians by insisting everyone recognise the authority of the Pope.

  28. 28
    dingojack

    David – funny, I always thought it was generally called ‘The City of Serial Killers’* :;
    Dingo
    ——–
    * you really don’t wanna know what’s in the 44 gallon drums….

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