Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Blasphemy issue - in Russia?

by Salman Hameed

We have discussed issues of freedom of speech and blasphemy here on Irtiqa. Some of these are part of larger discussions on modernity and how societies balance individual versus community values. One recent post looked at the Qur'an burning controversy in Afghanistan and another on the arrest of a 23-year old Saudi blogger for his "offensive" tweets. So here is an interesting case from Russia, where two members of a feminist punk band are in jail for mocking the Russian Orthodox Church and perhaps more importantly, Putin:
In the month since it performed an unsanctioned “punk prayer service” at Christ the Savior Cathedral, entreating the Virgin Mary to liberate Russia from Vladimir V. Putin, the feminist punk band Pussy Riot has stirred up a storm about the role of the church, art and women in Russian society.  
The group has been accused of blasphemy; three of the women are in pre-trial detention and could face up to seven years in prison.
But we also see some over the top reaction from some high-offical clergy and also some push-back on some of the crazier statements. But in this age, it is really difficulty to hide idiotic statements:

Top officials in the Russian Orthodox Church have called for the band’s members to be strictly punished — at times tempering this demand by saying that they do not insist on a long jail sentence. 
Russian Orthodox nationalists called on national television for the women to be publicly flogged, while other Orthodox activists have condemned such calls as shameful, citing Jesus’ compassion for fallen women. 
That Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, two of the three women jailed, are both mothers of young children has also been cited as a reason for minimal punishment and release from pretrial detention. 
Moscow’s City Court last week rejected appeals for their release, jailing them until at least April 24 while police continue to investigate.
Read the full article here. By the way, there are also some very interesting Muslim punk bands - who are protesting aspects of Islam, while also keeping their faith(s). I will have a post on them soon. In the mean time, here is the "offensive" Russian video:        


Rommel Cohen said...

Things like these could have been made simple and completely avoided if there were no religion to begin with. But then again who am I to say? I’m a born again Christian and believe in Jesus of the Bible. But I respect science, evolution and the big bang. I recognize the facts the bible didn’t display but still give credit to God for his miracles. I don’t hate on Muslims, I don’t hate on others beliefs. I respect. Can’t we all just get along? Read your Quran, read your Bible, I don’t care. This must be your religion’s name – “Good People.”

rpcarnell said...

It is the Russian Inquisition!

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