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Sikh Protests

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[SIZE=7]Theatre ends play in Sikh protest [/size]

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.

 

 

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

Stuart Rogers

Executive director of the Rep

 

 

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."

 

 

 

HAVE YOUR SAY

Religious censorship is always wrong

David Patrick, Reading, UK

 

 

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 "dishonour", 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.

 

Story from BBC NEWS:

"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/england/west_midlands/4112105.stm"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/engl...nds/4112105.stm[/url]

 

Published: 2004/12/20 18:13:05 GMT

 

© BBC MMIV

 

 

 

Personally, I whole heartedy support the demonstrations (so long as they are kept peaceful). These non-religious secularists have to realise that a play defaming the faith of over 20 million people world wide is in no way, shape or form tolerable.

 

However, I do think, by rioting - they bought more attention to the play. If they had let it go, liklyhood is that very few people would have seen it, let alone heard about it.

 

 

wasalaam

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PropellerAds

There is the whole idea of free speech. It's a private theatre they should be allowed to show what they want, the audience is paying, if they don't want to see it, they don't have to come in. The playwrights are trying to be provacative, it sells. This world is getting too sensitive with being PC.

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If being un P.C means defending's one religion and slander again the All-Mighty - I think you'll find at least around 2 billion un-P.C people on the earth.

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If being un P.C means defending's one religion and slander again the All-Mighty - I think you'll find at least around 2 billion un-P.C people on the earth.

 

You have every right to defend your beliefs, but everyone has the right to express their opinions, like it or not. If I wanted to put a play that showed something about a race, that would be controversal, that is my right, nobody has to see it, they can retaliate by expressing thier opinions or defending themselves. The people who wanted to write and produce a play that maybe did not put sikhism in the best light, well thats their perogative.

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Peace,

 

I'm always irritated by anybody who criticizes another persons religion, however the lady who wrote this play is a Sikh herself. From the descriptions I've read on the play she wasn't criticizing Sikhism, rather the way in which people of her culture hold honour in such high regard but those same people are often the ones who have no honour. (Hence the title: Dishonour)

 

All the same, there's no doubt the author wrote this play to be as controversial as possible, those protesting have every right to do so.

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:D

 

Even the archbishop of Westminister has come out to defend the Sikh Community and ask the playright to re-consider her work.

 

All the Sikh community are asking is that the play be set in a Sikh community Centre, as opposed to a Sikh temple. Not much to ask is it?

:D

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Peace,

 

You're right it's not much to ask, though now it's such a public topic would it make any difference if it's portrayed as being in a Community Centre or a Temple? It would come accross nicely on the part of the author/playhouse though if she/they did allow it to be changed.

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:D

 

its funny how the newspapaers put this story though. i mean here are skihs who are protesting about this play which sounds like its putting the faith in a bad light because of maybe actions taken by some which are not faith related but have been made to look like it?

 

neways either way, had this been muslim, im sure the words terriost/fundementalist and so on would of been used to make muslims look bad. in this case they werent.

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