A MOVIE made to foster religious tolerance was due to be shown by SCTV in Indonesia this week – but was pulled at the last moment following threats by Muslim zealots against the TV station.
Now the TV station has been slammed by the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission for giving in to Islamists’ demands.
The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) had threatened to storm SCTV headquarters if it broadcast the movie, scheduled for the last night of the Ramadan holy fasting month this week.
Broadcasting commission official Ezki Suyanto said:
We regret SCTV’s decision to not air the movie. The movie has passed the censorship requirements and it doesn’t violate any regulations. It seems the station is just afraid of the FPI. SCTV should not have given in to them. This is a bad precedent for other groups to do the same to TV stations.
FPI secretary-general Sobri Lubis said the movie tried to incite hatred toward Islam and disgraced the religion by suggesting Muslims could live together harmoniously with people of other faiths in one country.
The movie supports the idea of pluralism and that the unification of many religions is acceptable. We rejected this dirty and damaging movie from the start.
Last year, the FPI threatened cinemas with violence if they did not withdraw a horror-comedy, Hantu Puncak Datang Bulan (The Menstruating Ghost of Puncak), after watching uncensored clips of the movie on YouTube.
Civil society and human rights groups say intolerance is on the rise in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, under the leadership of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Meanwhile we learn that a colouring book about the 9/11 terrorist attacks aimed at helping children understand the meaning behind the events that shocked America has prompted a firestorm of outrage among US Muslims. It has been branded by some as “disaster porn.”
We Shall Never Forget 9/11: The Kids’ Book of FreedomÂ has just been released by the Missouri-based publisher, Really Big Coloring Books, Inc.
While the book publisher says the fill-in colouring pictures represent patriotism, some Muslims are arguing that the book promotes the same stereotypes that have haunted Muslim Americans for years.
The new book contains pictures of the burning twin towers and the execution of a cowering Osama bin Laden for children to fill in with colour. It ends with a Navy SEAL shooting bin Laden as he hides behind a woman in Islamic clothing.
Depicting graphic scenes from 9/11, the book is designed to be a:
Tool parents can use to help teach children about the facts surrounding 9/11.
Husna Haq, a news blogger, writes that:
As an American, I find that incredibly disturbing. And as an American Muslim, I find the colouring book disgusting â€¦ To me, this colouring book is a part of that hate-espousing rhetoric and it’s even worse because it’s injecting that venom into children.
Bell is firing back in a statement saying the book doesn’t portray Muslims:
In a negative light at all. That is incorrect. This is about 19 terrorist hijackers that came over here under the leadership of a devil worshipper, Osama bin Laden, to murder our peopleâ€¦ This is history. It is absolutely factual.
But Dawud Walid, the Michigan representative for the Council on American Islamic Relations, says instead of finding hope in the coloring book, he found hate.
He says this book is more than just colouring inside the lines.
Little kids who pick up this book can have their perceptions coloured by those images and it instills bias in young minds. Some of the narrative and photos aren’t even correct. Bin Laden wasn’t hiding behind a wife when he was shot.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn (US report)