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Name: Troy University art student sues after nude photos are banned from art exhibit   [ Edit ]

Date: 1995 - 2005

Location: North America

Subject: Nudity

Medium: Photography

Artist: Blake Dews - Troy University art student

Confronting Bodies: Troy University administration

Date of Action: 2003-2005

Specific Location: Montgomery, Alabama

Description of Artwork: Blake Dewsメ photographs include both male and female nudity. Some of the photographs most controversial displayed male full frontal nudity. Dewsメ work contained nude photographs of males and females, but they were not pictured together nor were they engaged in sexual act or simulating one.



Description of Incident: Dewsメ photography, including the pieces in question, was continually reviewed by his professors and classmates as he produced it. He received an モAヤ for his work and, after the work was hung for a University exhibit, his professor expressed pleasure at the work. When the exhibit opened around Thanksgiving 2003, a warning was placed outside the exhibit indicating that the show contained some nudity. Before the Christmas holidays, Dews was told that the universityメs lawyers had told his professor the pictures might be in violation of state obscenity laws. Prior to the spring semester, Dews was asked to remove his work. When he arrived, he found some of the pictures had already been removed from the exhibition.



Results of Incident: In November 2005, Blake Dewsメ sued Troy University saying the school violated his free speech rights by censoring his artwork and implementing a campus speech code that unconstitutionally restricts speech. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Montgomery, contends Troy officials removed portions of Dewsメ artwork from a 2003 University exhibit because it feature nudity. Dewsメ lawsuit seeks an apology, elimination of the speech code, damages and attorney fees.



Source: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE): www.thefire.org

Submitted By: National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC)

Date Input: Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Date Edited


Name: City of Pontiac, Michigan makes obscenity charges on Detroit artist   [ Edit ]

Date: 1995 - 2005

Location: North America

Subject: Explicit Sexuality

Medium: Mixed Media ,Painting ,Photography

Artist: Jef Bourgeau - Detroit artist

Confronting Bodies: City officials in Pontiac, Michigan

Date of Action: 2000

Specific Location: Pontiac, Michigan USA

Description of Artwork: Pieces from Detroit artist Jef Bourgeauメs exhibit titled モArt Until Nowヤ including reproductions of paintings and photographs of nudes.



Description of Incident: Jef Bourgeau mounted an exhibition in a Pontiac gallery in March, 2000 with an arrangement of reproductions of paintings and photographs of nudes, a limited version of his モArt Until Nowヤ exhibit that was canceled at the Detroit Institute of Arts in November, 1999. Of the Pontiac exhibition, Bourgeau stated: モ I was approached by the owner of the Oakland Arts Center; he said that he would like to put together a panel discussion on censorship. He asked me to curate a complementary exhibition in a recently vacated gallery space in the building. The panel itself would occur in a small hall upstairs. The collage was mounted on a wall at right angels to the street [ナ]. The police took Polaroids in extreme close-up of those works they find the most ムobsceneメ and charged and cite me with presenting ムobscene materialsメヤ.



Results of Incident: City officials in Pontiac, Michigan pressed obscenity charges against Detroit artist Jef Bourgeau for his exhibition.



Source: ArtDaily: www.artdaily.com

Submitted By: National Coalition Against Censorship

Date Input: Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Date Edited


Name: Nearly seven years after "Presumed Innocent" opened, the French art exhibit continues to come under scrutiny for sexually explicit pieces   [ Edit ]

Date: 1995 - 2005 ,2006-present

Location: Europe

Subject: Nudity ,Explicit Sexuality

Medium: Painting ,Installation

image description
Artist: Artists in the art show titled "Pr←sum←s InnocentsラL'Art Contemporain et l'Enfance" (Presumed InnocentラContemporary Art and Childhood). Artists in the exhibit include: Robert Mapplethorpe, Christian Boltanski, Elke Krystufek, Ugo Rondinone, Annette Messag

Confronting Bodies: La Mouette - a children's protection organization; Bordeaux officials/government

Date of Action: June 2000 - the present (January 2007)

Specific Location: Bordeaux, France

Description of Artwork: The issue surrounding the art exhibit focuses mainly on two artists: Elke Krystufek's installation The Tunnel, which shows the artist masturbating, and drawings by Ugo Rondinone.



Description of Incident: The scandal continues to grow around "Pr←sum←s InnocentsラL'Art Contemporain et l'Enfance" (Presumed InnocentラContemporary Art and Childhood). The exhibition, which took place at CAPC Bordeaux from June to October 2000, gave rise to an official judicial inquiry after local children's organization La Mouette lodged a complaint, claiming that the show contained child pornography. Henri-Claude Cousseau, director of the CAPC Bordeaux in 2000 and now director of Paris's ￉cole Nationale Sup←rieure des Beaux-Arts, was summoned to a judicial inquiry in Bordeaux to answer questions about his role in the exhibition. In addition, the show's cocurators, Marie-Laure Bernadac and St←phanie Moisdon, were brought before the case's judge, Jean-Louis Croizier. But there appears to be a striking lack of evidence. La Mouette based their complaint on the catalogue, which contains images of artworks that were not in the exhibition while excluding other works that were shown. While La Mouette cited twenty-one artworksラincluding pieces by the late Robert Mapplethorpe, Christian Boltanski, Elke Krystufek, Ugo Rondinone, Annette Messager, Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman, and Carsten H￶llerラ The issue surrounding the art exhibit focuses mainly on two artists: Elke Krystufek's installation The Tunnel, which shows the artist masturbating, and drawings by Ugo Rondinone.



Results of Incident: Krystufek, questioned by the Viennese police, said that the installation in question was destroyed and thus could not be provided as evidence. "I attempted to demonstrate (to the judge) the legitimacy of all these artists," Moisdon told Artforum.com, adding that Rondinone is currently completing a commission for a Venetian church. For Moisdon, the complaint reflects the "dysfunctionality" of French law, in particular the 1993 Jolibois amendment, which makes no distinction between a real act of violence and its representation. Despite the lack of evidence, Le Monde's Nathaniel Herzberg reports that not everything will be easy for Bernadac and Moisdon. The mayor of Bordeaux refuses to assume the cocurators' legal fees, or those of Cousseau. Moreover, the group could still face a hefty fine and up to three years in prison.



Source: artforum.com: http://www.artforum.com/news/week=200702 ; and, Guardian Unlimited: http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/art/2006/12/post_8.html

Submitted By: National Coalition Against Censorship

Date Input: Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Date Edited


Name: Art show to close a week early for "disturbing" pictures of a naked seven-year old girl   [ Edit ]

Date: 2006-present

Location: Australia

Subject: Nudity ,Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Photography

Artist: Polixeni Papapetrou - artist

Confronting Bodies: Gosford City Council; Gosford Regional Art Gallery

Date of Action: January 2007

Specific Location: Sydney, Australia

Description of Artwork: The photos were taken by artist Polixeni Papapetrou of her seven-year-old daughter in suggestive poses, wearing just her grandmother's jewelry. They were part of a traveling exhibition rejected by the Newcastle Regional Art Gallery.



Description of Incident: Adult nudity was one thing, but child nudity was "a more sensitive issue", said the gallery's assistant director, Rodney Cones-Browne. Police visited Gosford Regional Art Gallery after complaints about three of the 58 photographs in the Australian Centre for Photography exhibition, "Changeling: Childhood and the Uncanny".



Results of Incident: Gosford City Council will close the controversial art exhibition a week early after police called photographs of a naked seven-year-old girl disturbing and complainants said the images were "child abuse and not art".



Source: The Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/off-limits-storm-over-artists-images-of-

Submitted By: National Coalition Against Censorship

Date Input: Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Date Edited: Monday, July 23, 2007


Name: Bill Paul's artwork attacked for being anti-Christian, pornographic and homoerotic   [ Edit ]

Date: 1985 - 1995

Location: North America

Subject: Explicit Sexuality ,Nudity ,Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Mixed Media ,Installation ,Sculpture

Artist: Bill Paul

Confronting Bodies: The Christian Coalition; various U.S. politicians

Date of Action: 1991

Specific Location: Florida

Description of Artwork: In February 1991 an instillation of Bill Paulメs work appeared in the art gallery at Valencia Community College in Florida. In this exhibit, Paul wanted to represent the parallels he saw between the politics of AIDS and the genocide of Jews in Nazi Germany. His Valencia exhibit dealt with difficult topics ヨ male nudity, death, manメs inhumanity to man. One piece featured an old suitcase stuffed with phallic shapes, covered in tar and piled to suggest bodies stacked up in the German concentration camps. Another of Paulメs works exhibited was a tribute to a man who had committed suicide, and died alone with no one to claim his ashes. Paul decided to give his remains a home. He put the ashes in an old jar and scattered broken glass beneath them as a reference to kristallnacht, the infamous モnight of broken glass,ヤ when Naziメs smashed synagogue windows and stores in Jewish neighborhoods. Thinking the man might have been thinking about religion before he committed suicide, Paulメs tribute also included a set of photos of a nude Christ figure with a crown of thorns.



Description of Incident: A clerical worker at Valencia, shocked by the male nudity and the references to Christianity, charged that Paulメs work was blasphemous and anti-Christian. The clerical worker contacted local ministers including George Crossley and John Butler Book who then contacted the Christian Coalition. The Christian Coalition sent out a mass-mailing to supporters about the exhibit. The organization also took photographs of part of the exhibit, prominently featuring the male nudes, and sent them to state legislators and Governor Lawton Chiles. Many of the politicians who saw the photos, including Chiles, were aghast. Despite never seeing Paulメs exhibit, Chiles took action against it; he wrote to Secretary of State Jim Smith asking him to モensure that future exhibits of this nature will not be paid for by the taxpayersヤ.



Results of Incident: The Christian Coalition convinced U.S. citizens and political figures that Paulメs art is pornographic, homoerotic and anti-Christian, and as such should not be sponsored by U.S. taxpayers. As a result, it has become more and more difficult for controversial artists to be awarded grants.



Source: Florida Magazine article titled "Artist Under Fire" from June 16, 1991 issue

Submitted By: NCAC

Date Input: Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Date Edited


Name: Community College in Florida cancels censorship exhibit after requesting that a portion of a mural featuring erect penises be removed from the show   [ Edit ]

Date: 1995 - 2005

Location: North America

Subject: Explicit Sexuality ,Nudity

Medium: Painting

image description
Artist: Barbara Jo Revelle (pictured above) - artist, muralist and chairwoman of the art department at the University of Florida

Confronting Bodies: Officials/administrators at the Manatee Community College in Bradenton, Fla.

Date of Action: January 1998

Specific Location: Bradenton, Flordia USA

Description of Artwork: Barbara Jo Revelleメs 26-foot mural includes political images of U.S. involvement in Iran and Nicaragua and digitally enhanced photographs of male and female genitalia ヨ as an モunfolding argument against censorshipヤ.



Description of Incident: Revelleメs mural was to be featured in モContained/Controlled,ヤ an art show about censorship at Manatee Community College in Bradenton, Fla. However, officials at the college were concerned with Revelleメs mural, especially the 4-foot portion of the mural featuring erect penises. The college asked Revelle to remove the part of the mural with the images of the erect genitalia for the piece before the work was to appear in the exhibit on campus.



Results of Incident: After asking for the 4-foot portion of Revelleメs mural to be removed, officials at Manatee community College canceled the censorship exhibit モContained/Controlledヤ entirely. College president Sarah Pappas told the First Amendment Center the complete exhibit モwas not what we expectedヤ. Officials said they determined it best to cancel the whole show rather than refuse to display one part of it.



Source: The Freedom Forum online archive: www.freedomforum.org

Submitted By: NCAC

Date Input: Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Date Edited


Name: Group art exhibit モSex is Artヤ shut down by town officials in Anville, Pennsylvania   [ Edit ]

Date: 1995 - 2005

Location: North America

Subject: Explicit Sexuality ,Language ,Nudity

Medium: Painting ,Photography ,Performance Art

Artist: various artists taking part in the "Sex is Art" exhibit in Anville, Pa

Confronting Bodies: Al Yingst, the Chairman of the Township Board of Commissioners in Anville, Pa.; various town officials in Anville, Pa.

Date of Action: August-September 1997

Specific Location: Anville, Pennsylvania USA

Description of Artwork: The artwork intended to be exhibited in the "Sex is Art" show in Anville, Pa varied. Approximately 30 artists representing 150-200 pieces of work including paintings, drawings, mixed-media, photography and sculpture as well as about a dozen performance artists presenting music and poetry pieces were expected to show their work at the モSex is Artヤ exhibit. Although sex was the theme of the show it was not expected that any of the exhibited art would be sexually graphic and the photographers in particular had agreed not to depict sex acts.



Description of Incident: A group of predominantly local artists in Pennsylvania Dutch country organized a group exhibit titled モSex is Artヤ and rented the Old Anville Fire Hall in Anville, Pa. (near Lebanon Valley College) for the weekend of September 4-5, 1997. This was the third consecutive year these artists had come together to display their work although they had not previously used the Fire Hall. On Wednesday, August 27, 1997, Scott Church, the organizer of the exhibition, was contacted by the Anville Fire Co., which manages the Fire Hall, and told that they were considering canceling the exhibit and inviting him and the other organizers to a meeting on August 28 to discuss the situation. It seems that a post for the exhibition reached Al Yingst, the Chairman of the Township Board of Commissioners, who believed that the exhibition would violate community standards of decency and perhaps involve live sex acts (which it would not). The post in question did not picture any of the art to be exhibited. Yingst called the fire company and objected to the exhibit. On August 28 the fire company and artists met to discuss the exhibit; in the meeting, the fire company agreed to honor the rental contract and both sides agreed that the fire company could post a disclaimer at the entrance stating that they did not endorse or sponsor the exhibition, and that the exhibit organizers would post a warning that material inside could be offensive, ensure that no works were visible from the outside and deny admission to those under 18 not accompanied by a parent.



Results of Incident: Despite the revised conditions Commissioner Yingst threatened to invoke the town's legal authority to stop the show. Yingst's continuing political pressure led the firefighters to limit the exhibition to one and a half hours a day, rather than the whole weekend as specified in the contract. The show was canceled as a result. In March of 1998, nearly a year after モSex is Artヤ was shut down by Anville, Pa. officials, the New Lebanon Valley College in Pa. opened a week-long exhibit of banned artworks including many pieces from the censored モSex is Artヤ exhibition.



Source: National Coalition Against Censorship: http://www.ncac.org/censorship_news/20030305~cn067~The_Arts_Under_Attack_-_Firefighters_in_Pennsylvania_Put_Out_Art_Show.cfm

Submitted By: National Coalition Against Censorship

Date Input: Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Date Edited


Name: Auburn University censors student's sculpture banning it from exhibition   [ Edit ]

Date: 1995 - 2005

Location: North America

Subject: Explicit Sexuality ,Nudity ,Sexual/Gender Orientation

Medium: Sculpture

Artist: Jenny Root - senior graphic design major at Auburn University

Confronting Bodies: Auburn University administration

Date of Action: April 1998

Specific Location: Auburn, Georgia USA

Description of Artwork: In 1998, Jenny Root, a senior graphic design major at Auburn University created a two-part sculpture titled モMother/Fatherヤ which she intended to have exhibited in the university-wide juried art show to be shown at Foy Gallery in the Student Union building. In the モmotherヤ element of Rootメs two-part sculpture, white-colored fluid is pumped up through vinyl tubing through the breasts of a latex female torso. In the モfatherヤ element, fluid is pumped up into a latex male genital area and out through the penis-like appendage. The two elements are situated approximately 10 feet apart. Root claims that the intention of her piece of artwork was to bring up the need to accept and love our bodies and its functioning as beautiful and not something to fear or hide. A written artistメs statement of such was intended to be displayed with the work.



Description of Incident: In 1998, Jenny Root entered her sculpture, titled モMother/Fatherヤ, into the Auburn university-wide juried art exhibition (with prize money awarded for winning work) to be exhibited at Foy Gallery in the Student Union building. Initially accepted into the exhibit by the art department faculty based on its artistic merit, Root went about installing her sculpture in Foy Union Gallery. However, soon after the sculpture was installed, the question of whether it was suitable for display in the large and public gallery was raised by administrators outside the art department. On April 14, 1998 Root was informed that her work was being censored because it was considered モinappropriateヤ for exhibition in Foy Union Gallery. The director of exhibitions, Barry Fleming and Dean Nancy Hartsfield, told Root that Auburn University lawyers had reviewed the work and did not want Rootメs piece to be displayed in the show. Root was told that she must remove her sculpture immediately, and that perhaps it could be exhibited in the art building ヨ a less モpublicヤ space.



Results of Incident: After protest by Root and other art students, モMother/Fatherヤ was installed in Biggin Gallery ヨ a less public and less favorable place - which many believe was done to cover any claim of censoring her work. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Campaign for Freedom of Expression, the College Art Association, and the National Coalition Against Censorship were all informed of the censorship of Rootメs sculpture. The various organizations joined together writing letters to various administrators at Auburn University protesting the censorship of Rootメs sculpture.



Source: "The Plainsman", Auburn University newspaper published on Thursday April 23, 1998. And, ACLU newsletter from April 23, 1998. National Coalition Against Censorship article: http://www.ncac.org/censorship_news/20030305~cn070~The_Long_And_The_Short_Of_It.c

Submitted By: National Coalition Against Censorship

Date Input: Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Date Edited


Name: Mural censored at Kennedy International Airport for nudity   [ Edit ]

Date: 1995 - 2005

Location: North America

Subject: Nudity ,Religious

Medium: Mixed Media ,Public art

image description
Artist: muralist, Deborah Masters

Confronting Bodies: The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights; Kennedy International Airport

Date of Action: April 2001

Specific Location: Kennedy International Airport - New York, USA

Description of Artwork: Deborah Mastersメ 300-foot-long mixed-media mural depicting New York street life resides in Terminal 4 of Kennedy International Airport. Part of the large mural, which was privately financed, is an 8-by-10-foot relief depicting a store selling religious items. Included in this 8-by10-foot section of the mural was a 12-inch sculpture of Jesus on the cross, naked.



Description of Incident: Even though it was not anatomically graphic, the image of Jesus naked on the cross left several construction workers working at the terminal disturbed. One of the workers called the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the national group that has twice protested images it considered insulting at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, called airport officials to complain about the sculpture, then several of the construction workers were asked for their opinion on the issue and the muralist was consulted.



Results of Incident: Within hours of Donohueメs initial complaint to airport officials, the issue was resolved. With a few extra dabs of paint, the artist responsible, Deborah Masters, added a loincloth to the sculpture. Picture above: the revised mural in which a loincloth was painted onto the statue of Jesus. Masters also made a statement claiming that she had meant to clothe the Christ figure all along, but had simply forgotten.



Source: New York Times article printed on 4/25/2001. And, Deborah Masters' website: http://www.deborahmasters.com/articles/blushing.html

Submitted By: National Coalition Against Censorship

Date Input: Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Date Edited


Name: Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh murdered by Moroccan Islamists in Amsterdam   [ Edit ]

Date: 1995 - 2005

Location: Europe

Subject: Sexual/Gender Orientation ,Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Film Video

image description
Artist: Theo van Gogh (pictured above after being murdered) - Dutch film director, television producer, publicist and actor. He was also a descendant of the brother of the famous Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh

Confronting Bodies: Moroccan Islamists; Dutch Hofstad Network; Mohammed Bouyeri

Date of Action: November 2, 2004

Specific Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Description of Artwork: Working from a script written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, van Gogh created the 10-minute movie モSubmissionヤ. The movie deals with the topic of violence against women in Islamic societies; telling the stories of four abused Muslim women. The title itself, "Submission", is the translation of the word "Islam" in English. In the film, the women's naked bodies are veiled with semi-transparent shrouds as they kneel in prayer, telling their stories as if they are speaking to Allah. Qur'anic verses unfavorable to women are painted on their bodies in Arabic.



Description of Incident: After the movie was released in 2004, both van Gogh and Hirsi Ali received death threats. Van Gogh did not take these very seriously and refused any protection - reportedly telling Hirsi Ali: "Who would want to kill the town idiot?" Sadly, on November 2, 2004 the Dutch film maker was assassinated in Amsterdam by a Moroccan Islamist because of his film Submission, which portrays the submissiveness of Muslim women. The murderer, Mohammed Bouyeri, a 26-year-old Dutch citizen and the son of a Muslim Moroccan immigrant, shot van Gogh eight times and then proceed to slit his throat and stab him in the chest - van Gogh is pictured above lying on the street after being murder. Bouyeri also left a letter with a list of additional individuals to be killed, including Theoメs scriptwriter Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born Dutch MP who later fled to the U.S. Bouyeri's letter ends with the following lines: ムI am certain, O America, that you will die/I am certain, O Europe, that you will die/I am certain, O Netherlands, that you will die/I am certain, O Hirsi Ali, that you will die/I am certain, O infidel fundamentalist, that you will die.メ



Results of Incident: The killer, Mohammed Bouyeri, was apprehended by the police after being shot in the leg. Although born in Amsterdam, well-educated and apparently well-integrated, Bouyeri has alleged terrorist ties with the Dutch Hofstad Network. He was also charged with attempted murder of a police officer and bystander, illegal possession of a firearm, and conspiring to assassinate others, including Hirsi Ali. He was convicted on July 26, 2005 and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. The murder led to a wider and more polarized debate about the position of the more than one million Muslims in the Netherlands and how they would be affected. There are non-Muslim Dutch citizens that fear that Holland will lose its traditional tolerance and Western liberalism, becoming increasingly influenced by Islamic viewpoints on these issues. These fears are fueled by population growth studies and projections that show the Muslim community growing much faster than that of the "autochtonen" (autochthonous Dutch). On the other hand, many Islamic Dutch residents feel discriminated against and singled out. The increasing polarization has led to calls from many religious leaders and politicians for calm and improved communication between the communities. In an apparent reaction against controversial statements about the Islamic, Christian and Jewish religions, such as those Theo van Gogh was renowned for, the Dutch Minister of Justice, Christian Democrat Piet Hein Donner suggested the existing Dutch blasphemy laws should either be applied more stringently or made stricter. This had led to a counter call by the liberal D66 party to scrap the blasphemy law altogether.



Source: wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theo_van_Gogh_(film_director) And, Democracy Frontline at: http://democracyfrontline.org/blog/?p=1597

Submitted By: National Coalition Against Censorship

Date Input: Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Date Edited


Name: In Egypt, preacher, Manal Manea is sentenced to three years in prison for atheism and blasphemy against Islam   [ Edit ]

Date: 1995 - 2005

Location: Middle East and Caucasus ,Africa

Subject: Religious

Medium: Public Speech ,Personal Opinion

Artist: Manal Manea, a female preacher

Confronting Bodies: Government of Egypt; Egyptian Islamists

Date of Action: 2001

Specific Location: Egypt

Description of Artwork: Manal Manea preached openly about her anti-Islam views. She spoke of the fact that she did not believe in Islam, preached atheism and promoted secular thought.



Description of Incident: Manal Maneaメs anti-Islam beliefs came under scrutiny by the Egyptian government and courts who accused the female preacher of atheism and blasphemy against Islam.



Results of Incident: In 2001, Manal Manea was sentenced to three years in prison for promoting atheism and blasphemy against Islam. Manea was not the only anti-Islamist censored in Egypt for his/her beliefs, the writer Salaheddin Mohsen was also sentenced to three years in prison for writings that were deemed offensive to Islam and promoted atheism in 2001.



Source: Democracy Frontline at: http://democracyfrontline.org/blog/?p=1597

Submitted By: National Coalition Against Censorship

Date Input: Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Date Edited


Name: In Egypt, writer, Salaheddin Mohsen is sentenced to three years in prison for atheism and blasphemy against Islam   [ Edit ]

Date: 1995 - 2005

Location: Middle East and Caucasus ,Africa

Subject: Religious

Medium: Literature ,Personal Opinion

Artist: the writer Salaheddin Mohsen

Confronting Bodies: Government of Egypt; Egyptian Islamists

Date of Action: 2001

Specific Location: Egypt

Description of Artwork: In his books Salaheddin Mohsen writes about the fact that he does not believe in Islam. Against Islam, he uses his texts to promote secular thought and his belief on atheism.



Description of Incident: Salaheddin Mohsenメs anti-Islam texts came under scrutiny by the Egyptian government and courts who accused the writer of atheism and blasphemy against Islam.



Results of Incident: An Egyptian state security court sentenced Salaheddin Mohsen, a writer accused of blasphemy, to three years in prison with hard labor for writings deemed offensive to Islam. The court also ordered that all of Mohsen's books and publications be confiscated for containing what it described as "extremist" ideas. Mohsen was not the only person censored in Egypt for anti-Islam beliefs, the female preacher Manal Manea was also sentenced to three years in prison for atheism and blasphemy in 2001.



Source: Al-Ahram Weekly at: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2001/519/eg6.htm ; And, Democracy Frontline at: http://democracyfrontline.org/blog/?p=1597

Submitted By: National Coalition Against Censorship

Date Input: Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Date Edited


Name: Writer Haydar Haydar declared an apostate and sentenced to death by Islamists in Egypt for his book "A Banquet for Seaweed"   [ Edit ]

Date: 1976 - 1984 ,1995 - 2005

Location: Middle East and Caucasus ,Africa

Subject: Religious ,Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Literature

Artist: Haydar Haydar

Confronting Bodies: Egyptメs Socialist Labor Party; Egypt's Islamist group; the rector of Al-Azhar University

Date of Action: 2000

Specific Location: Egypt

Description of Artwork: In 1983, Haydar Haydar published a novel in Syria called モA Banquet for Seaweedヤ. In the novel, a character says, モThe divine Bedouin laws and the teaching of the Koran [are all] shitヤ.



Description of Incident: In 2000, Egyptメs Ministry of Culture reissued Haydarメs novel モA Banquet for Seaweedヤ as part of a modern Arab classics series that it was sponsoring. In a distorting review of the Egyptian edition of Haydarメs novel, モal-Shaabヤ, a publication of Egyptメs Socialist Labor Party, the columnist Muhammad Abbass called the book an insult to Islam, resulting in one of the biggest riots Egypt had seen in the prior ten years. The police were called out to calm the protestors, which they did with tear gas, baton charges and rubber bullets.



Results of Incident: Legal action was taken against the government officials responsible for publishing the novel and there were calls for the assassinationラor execution by beheadingラof the novelist. In addition, the rector of Al-Azhar University called for a public burning of the book in a public place. The primary reason for this uproar is that Abbas left out an ellipsis in a passage he quoted from the novel. This omission resulted in the words Koran and shit being placed next to each other, and since it is unnecessary to use the verb モto beヤ in Arabicラthey say, in other words, the sky blue rather than the sky is blueラAbbasメ omission made it look like the author was calling the Koran a piece of shit.



Source: website: http://72.14.209.104/search?q=cache:QsaM1Gg3yw0J:faculty.ncc.edu/LinkClick.aspx%3Flink%3Dhaydar%2Bhaydar%2Bpacket%2Bassignment.doc%26tabid%3D2015%26mid%3D2331+Haydar+Haydar+egypt+writer&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=1 ; and, Democracy Frontline at: htt

Submitted By: National Coalition Against Censorship

Date Input: Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Date Edited


Name: Kowetiennes scholar and writer, Alia Shuaib, convicted of publishing opinions that ridicule religion blasphemy in a book she published in 1993, "Spiders Bemoan a Wound"   [ Edit ]

Date: 1985 - 1995 ,1995 - 2005

Location: Middle East and Caucasus

Subject: Religious ,Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Literature ,Personal Opinion

Artist: Alia Shuaib

Confronting Bodies: Kuwait Islamists

Date of Action: 1993, 2000

Specific Location: Kuwait

Description of Artwork: The text under question is a line of poetry from Alia Shuaibメs book, モAnakeb Tarthi Jerhanヤ (モSpiders Lament a Woundヤ) published in 1993.



Description of Incident: Shuaib, a teacher of philosophy at Kuwait University, maintains that the only part of her book モSpiders Lament a Woundヤ that mentions God is the phrase "God's secret map." However, Kuwait Islamists objected to the text citing moral and religious offences.



Results of Incident: Shuaib was found guilty of "publishing opinions that ridicule religion" and blasphemy and was sentenced to one month in prison and several fines. Yehya al-Rubaian, the book's publisher, was also given a suspended two-month sentence and was fined the equivalent of $328 for publishing the book without prior government approval. The writer and publisher have appealed the ruling.



Source: Democracy Frontline at: http://democracyfrontline.org/blog/?p=1597 ; and, http://leb.net/~aljadid/culture/0529staff_01.html

Submitted By: National Coalition Against Censorship

Date Input: Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Date Edited


Name: Kowetiennes writer, Laila al-Othman, convicted of using indecent language and defamatory expressions in novel.   [ Edit ]

Date: 1976 - 1984 ,1995 - 2005

Location: Middle East and Caucasus

Subject: Language ,Political/Economic/Social Opinion ,Sexual/Gender Orientation

Medium: Literature

Artist: Laila al-Othman

Confronting Bodies: Islamist group in Kuwait

Date of Action: 1978 to 1984, and 2000

Specific Location: Lebanon, Kuwait

Description of Artwork: Laila al-Othmanメs book モThe Departureヤ in which she uses words such as "lustful" in describing the relationship between one sea wave and another. According to al-Othman, she had not intended this language to have a sexual connotation.



Description of Incident: In 2000, モThe Departureヤ, which reportedly had been approved by the Kuwait government censors in 1984, came back under fire. An Islamist group brought a lawsuit against Laila al-Othman for using defamatory expressions and indecent language in her book.



Results of Incident: In 2000, Laila al-Othman was convicted of using indecent language and defamatory expressions in モThe Departureヤ. She, along with the professor Alia Shuaib - who was found guilty of publishing opinions that ridicule religion -, were both sentenced to one moth in prison for moral and religious offenses.



Source: http://leb.net/~aljadid/culture/0529staff_01.html ; and, Democracy Frontline at: http://democracyfrontline.org/blog/?p=1597

Submitted By: National Coalition Against Censorship

Date Input: Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Date Edited


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