Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Culture Clash on 18DoughtyStreet tonight at 9pm

Is Islamic Fundamentalism a threat to the Arts?

The issue of how the arts should respond to the problems posed by Islamic belief and Islamic fundamentalism, and whether or not they should fear censorship, or in fact exercise pre-emptive self-censorship, is something which is now exercising the minds of many in the cultural arena.
Arguably the biggest cultural issue facing us is also one which could be the most dangerous. Two years ago Theo Van Gogh was murdered because of his film ‘Submission’. Last year, the Berlin Opera was threatened because a production of Idomeneo featured a depiction of Mohammed. Here, a crucial part of Tamburlaine at the Barbican was cut. Filming of Monica Ali’s book was moved from Brick Lane due to protests.
Should the arts ignore protest from Muslims?
Or it is purely a question of exercising tact?
Furthermore, nowhere, it would seem, are the arts dealing with such issues as, say, Muslim treatment of women, or the position of gays. There is a deafening silence. Why is this?
Is it fair to say that, while Madonna provokes her usual faux outrage by getting up onto a crucifix in the full knowledge that they’ll be no consequences, it’s unlikely that we will ever again see a depiction of Mohammed in a cultural context? With me to discuss these issues are journalist and historian Ruth Dudley Edwards, award-winning author and playwright Shelley Silas, Sunday Times columnist Minette Marrin, and producer and former BAFTA chairman Michael Attwell.

Watch it HERE

1 comment:

Nadine Laughlin said...

Right now the West seems to have something akin to battered wife syndrome: the wife feels that she's the problem; if she can just be better in some way, a bit nicer, a better wife, her abuser will realize how wonderful she is and stop hitting her. We feel that because we are welcoming to Islamic immigrants, because we champion multiculturalism and all it means, that Muslims and Muslim states should love us, and if they don't it's our fault, so we try harder. And of course, the Muslim states tell us it's our fault, and we believe them, hence a 'documentary' such as '9/11.' To question multiculturalism is to risk being called racist. To question Islam is to risk being murdered. It's going to take very brave creative artists to take those risks.