Singapore Bans Anti-Muslim Play

Singapore authorities banned a play just hours before it was due to be staged because it portrayed Muslims in a negative light, a Singaporean newspaper reported Saturday, August 5.

Singapore Bans Anti-Muslim Play

In its first banning of a play since its was formed in 2003, the government's Media Development Authority (MDA) said it was withdrawing the performance license for "Smegma" as it was "insensitive and inappropriate for staging", the Today paper said.

"Smegma undermines the values underpinning Singapore's multi-racial, multi-religious society. The play portrays Muslims in a negative light," the media authority was quoted as saying in Today.

The media authority, which initially agreed to the public performance of "Smegma", back-peddled on Friday and said it was worried that the play "could create unhappiness and disaffection amongst Muslims", the newspaper reported.

According to the Singapore law, all public performances must be approved and licenced by a government-appointed official.

Social Harmony

Singapore is an ethnically diverse city-state, whose population of more than four million is comprised of an ethnic Chinese majority, but with substantial Muslim and Indian minorities, and foreign workers of various nationalities.

Muslims in Singapore are estimated between 450,000 to 500,000, making around 14 to 15 percent of the population.

Because of this diversity and the country's bitter experience with racial riots in the 1960s, the government has made the promotion and maintenance of racial harmony a top priority.

Smegma was initially granted a license to run for two nights at the weekend, but the MDA changed its decision after consulting with the Arts Consultative Panel whose members were "concerned that the play could create unhappiness and disaffection amongst Muslims," the report said.

It did not say which part of the play was offensive to Muslims, but a synopsis showed it would touch on moral, cultural, religious, political and economic issues viewed from the perspectives of "the underdogs and their masters."

The play is also riddled with expletives and contained sexual themes, the report said.

In 2000, another play by Elangovan entitled Talaq — which was about an Indian-Muslim woman's experiences with marital violence — was banned due to protests from Muslims and Indians.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16