Bernard Cazeneuve presents his plan for “anti-jihad” law

July 9, 2014

Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve presented his “anti-jihad” bill that contains proposals to stop jihad, notably measures to prevent individuals from leaving France to fight in Syria even if they are over the age of 18. Such measures could affect over 200 individuals. The bill would “reinforce the provisions relating to the fight against terrorism.”

The law’s 18 articles include a sanction for up to six months that prohibits suspects from leaving French territory, which can be renewed by the state at will. The suspects could have their passports confiscated. To deter minors from leaving, parents can request that their child’s name be placed on a list that will be available to authorities throughout Europe. The law also proposes an addition to the penal code to include “the diffusion of provisions needed to construct engines of destruction.”

Other aspects of the law include an increased fight against terrorist sites on the Internet, including blocked access to such sites.

‘The Square’ filmmakers capture a revolution — and then an Oscar nomination

January 17, 2014

 

On a recent afternoon, Jehane Noujaim apologized for checking her cellphone in the middle of an interview. The director of “The Square,” an immersion into the Egyptian revolution, wanted to make sure her producer, Karim Amer, was going to be able to get back into the country — his country — to see an ailing relative. Such apprehension was nothing new for Noujaim.

“The Square,” nominated Thursday for an Academy Award for best documentary, opened Friday in theaters and via Netflix, but has yet to be screened in Egypt, whose tumultuous recent history is its subject. “The film is in censorship,” she said. “They won’t issue a letter to show it publicly. There’s an attempt to whitewash the last three years. That period is given intimate perspective in the film, which tracks the downfall of dictatorial Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 after 18 days of mass protests and military intimidation in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

The story continues as Mubarak’s elected successor, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, also is toppled, amid rising violence and discord between religious and secular factions. The tilts and turns meant that, shortly after winning an audience award for “The Square” at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Noujaim went back to shooting and re-editing the film. “Most of these verite films, you make up a story that you think you’re following,” said Noujaim, whose films include “Control Room” and “Startup.com.”

“You make a plan and God laughs, right? And that’s the exciting thing about making these films. You don’t know which way a story is going to go. But this story, much more than anything I’ve ever worked on, I had no idea where it was going. We had to have people ready to film at any moment.” The Harvard-educated filmmaker, 39, was born in Washington but raised in Cairo between the ages of 7 and 17. She grew up a few minutes from Tahrir Square but never imagined that one day she’d be sleeping in it.

“There was no place else I wanted to be in the world when things started happening there,” Noujaim said. It was in the square that she met the film’s key figures, each a different piece of the populist puzzle that came together in the story. “You look for people who will take you into worlds that you will never ordinarily see.”

The Academy Award nomination is the first ever for an Egyptian film. Noujaim compared the moment to “getting accepted to the World Cup for the first time.” The timing is crucial, as the country voted last week on a new constitution — backed by the military government — with presidential and parliamentary elections expected soon. “What Ahmed said when we were short-listed was, this means that despite censorship that this film will be unstoppable and our story will never be able to be obliterated or silenced,” Noujaim said. “The government will be in a very uncomfortable place, which is exactly where they need to be put for censoring a film about a hugely important chapter of Egyptian history.”

 

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-square-filmmakers-capture-a-revolution–and-then-an-oscar-nomination/2014/01/17/9617eb6c-7ee1-11e3-93c1-0e888170b723_story.html

Anjem Choudary controversy sparks debate over TV censorship

Anti-terror law reviewer David Anderson QC says broadcasters should decide whether to show radicals on their channels. Channel 4 and the BBC were criticised last week for giving Anjem Choudary airtime in the wake of the Woolwich attack. Radical speakers such as the Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary should not be banned from appearing on television, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation said on Wednesday. Broadcasters including Channel 4 and the BBC were criticised last week for giving Choudary airtime in the wake of the Woolwich attack and it has been reported that extremist preachers could be banned from television under new powers for Ofcom.

 

After Woolwich, don’t ban hate speech, counter it. Hate it, too

Facing Islamist violence, the British home secretary, like her counterparts in Europe, wrongly reaches for censorship The home secretary, Theresa May. ‘What May proposes is impractical, illiberal, short-sighted and counter-productive.’

 

In response to the vile murder of a British soldier by two Islamist extremists armed with meat cleavers, the home secretary, Theresa May, has suggested a broadcasting ban on people who hold “disgusting views” and the pre-censorship of online hate speech. We face a real threat of violence here, as do other European countries. Another Islamist extremist was arrested in France and has admitted to stabbing a French soldier. But this is not the way to reduce that threat. What May proposes is impractical, illiberal, short-sighted and counter-productive. It would curb a vital freedom without enhancing our security. Her suggestion should be consigned to the dustbin of hysteria.

 

The home secretary will reply that she wants to place the blocking duty not with her own bureaucratic enforcers but with Ofcom, the public regulator of broadcasting. But now a state regulator is to pre-censor editorial content, at the bidding of an interior minister, in the name of defending public security and fighting terrorism?

 

May’s proposed ban is impractical. If it didn’t work in the 1980s, when Margaret Thatcher tried to stop Sinn Féin/IRA spokespeople breathing the “oxygen of publicity” on terrestrial television, how much less will it work today – when publicity-hungry Islamist provocateurs like Anjem Choudary can just go off and post their videos on YouTube. So, says our knee-jerk home secretary, we should consider getting Google and YouTube, as well as the broadcasters, to block such footage in advance. Now not everything that Google does is good, whether on tax, competition or privacy, but to impose on it the editorial obligation to pre-screen everything going up on YouTube would destroy something incredibly valuable: an unprecedented ability to speak directly to one another, across oceans and continents.

No, the way to fight these preachers of violent extremism is not to ban them but to take them on, in every medium. Editorial judgments must be made – by editors, not by interior ministers.

 

Circumcision – Interview with writer Feridun Zaimoglu

August 2

 

The German author and visual artist of Turkish origin Feridun Zaimoglu speaks about circumcision in an interview with Qantara. He talks about the general feeling of fear towards Muslims. Another point he underlines is the need to differentiate between genital mutilation and circumcision when talking about Muslim rituals. He declared that censorship on religion and religious is often used by so-called Liberals in order to become popular. “The secular State becomes ridiculous”, he claimed. The State often encourages gossipers and radicals who mask themselves as culture warriors and humanists but are unable to express humanity.

Party accuses dutch newspaper of censorship

Dutch newspaper the Telegraaf has refused this week to publish “unnecessarily offensive” drawings in its special election issue. The right wing Freedom Party (PVV) attempted to place the cartoons of Gregorius Nekschot, who was previously arrested for publishing work inciting hatred against Muslims, in its designated pages in the forthcoming newspaper edition. In response to the Telegraaf’s refusal to pring the drawings, PVV leader Geert Wilders has accused the newspaper of censorship.

German publisher cancels book that some consider as insulting Islam

A German publisher said Tuesday it had cancelled the printing of a murder mystery about an honor killing because it contained passages insulting Islam and may have prompted Islamist retaliation.

Droste publishers dropped the book by author Gabriele Brinkmann entitled “To Whom Honor is Due” after she refused to change several passages, including one where a fictional character is portrayed making abusive remarks about the Koran.

“After the Mohammad cartoons, one knows that one can’t publish sentences or drawings that defame Islam without expecting a security risk,” said Felix Droste, head of Droste publishers.

The publisher’s decision has prompted criticism that it is bowing to Islamist intimidation and curtailing freedom of speech. The firm has also received threats from far-right groups against its employees for being “friends of Islamists.” German newspapers ran headlines: “Publisher self censors” and “Fear of Islamist attacks.”

French Magazine Express International Banned in North Africa – Some Claim it Offends Islam

This week’s issue of L’Express International, a French newsmagazine, has been banned in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, on the grounds that its cover story “The Jesus-Muhammad Shock” is offensive to Islam. The story title is the same as a book covered in the story. The newsweekly’s staff claim that they attempted to portray Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, with adherence to Islamic norms by covering his face with a white veil.

See full-text articles:

International Herald Tribune

International Herald Tribune

L’Express

Macleans Magazine

Associated Press

Controversy Over Novel About Muhammad’s Bride Continues

U.S. publishing company Random House will not publish a planned novel by Sherry Jones, called “The Jewel of Medina,” that was expected to hit stores on August 12th. The Islamically-themed novel explores Aisha, the child bride of the prophet Muhammad, who overcame a number of obstacles to reach her potential as a revered woman and leader in Islam. Random House said that it has been advised that the fictional novel, might be offensive to some Muslims, and “could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.” “The Jewel of Medina” traces the life of Aisha, who is often cited to have been Muhammad’s favorite wife, and is believed to have been engaged to the prophet from the age of six. Muslim writer and feminist Asra Nomani published a column in the Wall Street Journal, saying that she was “saddened” by the book’s scrapping, saying that the move is “a window into how quickly fear stunts intelligent discourse about the Muslim world.” Others, including Denise Spellberg, a professor from the University of Texas in Austin, said that the book was “ugly,” “stupid,” and was “soft core pornography.” The decision to indefinitely delay the novel’s release was made in consideration for the safety of the author, employees of the publisher, booksellers, and others involved in the distribution or sale of the novel.

See full-text articles:

Chronicle of Higher Education

Washington Post

The Guardian

United Press International

BBC

The Telegraph

Probe into Threats Over Cable Pornography Visible in North Africa

Anti-terrorism investigators in Paris are examining threats against a leading French cable TV channel over pornographic films that can be viewed in North Africa. Canal-Plus, the pay-TV channel, received letters from people claiming to be Muslim and threatening to blow up its headquarters if it continues to broadcast a once-a-month pornographic film Saturday evenings. The threats began in September 2006.

Canal-Plus shows a range of programming, much of it family-friendly. As a new broadcaster in 1983, Canal-Plus introduced X-rated films on the first Saturday of the month to distinguish itself from other channels. It can be viewed via satellite in North Africa, where French is widely spoken but where social standards are vastly more conservative than in France. In the past, French regulators and other critics have also expressed concern about the films, citing the degradation of women and their encouragement of unprotected sex.

See full-text articles:

International Herald Tribune

Le Figaro

Libération