Theatre ends play in Sikh protest 6 replies

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DavetheFo

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29th May 2003

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#1 16 years ago

BBC

A play which led to violent protests among the Sikh community in Birmingham has had its run cancelled by the city's Repertory Theatre. The theatre said it had refused to censor the work and was abandoning it purely on health and safety grounds.

Three police officers were hurt during clashes after 400 demonstrators gathered outside on Saturday.

Protesters said Behzti, which depicts sex abuse and murder in a temple, portrayed the Sikh faith negatively.

The theatre said the "ugly" violence had caused free speech to be curbed.

o.gif Stuart Rogers, the executive director of the Rep, told a press conference that the decision had been taken after discussions with police and Sikh community leaders on Monday morning.

Mr Rogers said: "The theatre vigorously defends its right to produce Behzti and other similar high-quality plays that deal with contemporary issues in a multicultural society.

"We sincerely hope that the play will be produced again as we are certain that it is a work that should be seen and discussed.

"It remains a matter of great concern to us that illegal acts of violence can cause the cancellation of a lawful artistic work."

A spokesman for the Sikh community in Birmingham, Councillor Chaman Lal, predicted there would have been larger protests had the play's run continued.

He said: "The theatre has made the right decision in response to a peaceful protest.

"There are no winners or losers - common sense has prevailed."

Decision 'unacceptable'

Mohan Singh, from the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in south Birmingham, also welcomed the decision, but said it had come a week too late.

"Free speech can go so far. Maybe 5,000 people would have seen this play over the run," he said.

"Are you going to upset 600,000 thousands Sikhs in Britain and maybe 20 million outside the UK for that?"

But Ursula Owen, editor-in-chief of pro-free speech group Index on Censorship, said: "This decision is absolutely unacceptable. I am shocked."

o.gif Earlier, the theatre said short of "blatant censorship" and cancelling the production, it could not have done more to appease the Sikh community.

Behzti, which translates as "dishonor", was written by a young female Sikh, Gurpreet Kaur Bhatt, and was said to have been inoffensive to many younger Sikhs.

However, religious leaders, including the Roman Catholic Diocese of Birmingham, had urged a boycott of the play.

Three people were arrested in connection with Saturday's demonstration.

The theatre said some protesters managed to get backstage, where they smashed equipment and destroyed a foyer door.

Mr Rogers added that the Rep's other production, The Witches, would be staged as usual.

Right or wrong in your opinion? What do people think the reaction would have been if it were a different religion?




-DarthMaul-

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11th February 2003

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#2 16 years ago

right..

i dont know your religious 'alignements' but lets say you were from a certain religion that promotes peace. and some one made a movie about your religion that shows your people violent throughout the whole movie, what would you do, stand around or protest?

i say what they did was right since it shows un truthfullness about Sikhs.

actually something similar to this happened when a Dutch director/writes was making movie showing muslims beating women.. and ive heard other anti-muslim movies.. a dutch friend i know wouldnt tell me what he said/thinks of islam so i think he was bad... he was killed/shot by a dutch muslim a couple of weeks ago..




Tekk9

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#3 16 years ago

Catholics were angered by Dogma after it made them look bad even though the director was Catholic. Jews were angered by The Passion of the Christ after it made them look bad even though it's recognized by most as historically correct. Muslims were angered by Submission after it made them look bad which ended with the death of the director of the movie by a radical. Is it news if the Sikhs, an organized religion just like the ones above, are angered after being attacked by a movie, play, song or television show? Nope. Happens all the time. To Sikhs, Hindus, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddists, Taoists, Shintoists, Catholics, Mormons, Mexicans, Italians, Greeks, Russians, Chinese, Japanese, Arabs, Turks, Slavs, Poles, Blacks, Hispanic, White, Republican, Liberal, Leftist, Rightist, Libertarian, the deaf, the blind, the mentally challenged, those who follow a certain idea, those who go against that same certain idea, animal rights activists, vegetarians, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc! Somebody says something. Somebody else doesn't like it. It's human. It's sad that some people are really emotionally unstable that they actually care what others say about them. But if someone gave my crap for my belief system, would I give a damn? Not in a million years. Who are they to me anyway and why does their opinion carry so much weight? What these people did is natural, it's what most people would do. Would I do the same thing? Nope. I don't really give much thought to those who don't like me or my views.




yod@

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#4 16 years ago

its just a play i dont think , people would be influenced by the movies or plays, as tekk said you cant make a movie without hurting the sentiments of one community or other




-DarthMaul-

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#5 16 years ago

Tekk what is Submission?? is it one of the movies that one Dutch director made??




Tekk9

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#6 16 years ago
-DarthMaul-Tekk what is Submission?? is it one of the movies that one Dutch director made??

Yeah, it's the Dutch movie that was directed by Theo Van Gogh in The Netherlands. It was about women's rights and Islam. It made some people mad and in turn, Van Gogh got killed.




-DarthMaul-

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#7 16 years ago

yeah ive heard of the director got killed a few weeks ago.. some dutch muslim killed him, i think he is on trial right now.