anthropology, Arts, Australia, Catholic Church, Ethics, Fashion, Freedom, Humor, Islam, Islam and Christianity, Journalism, Muslims, Politics, Religion, Satire, Sexuality, sociology

Religion, sex and money: the hedonism of scandal

Some of you reading the title of this post may think that I am referring to the most hedonistic prime minister in the world: Silvio Berlusconi and his adventures with teenagers as well as professional, and well paid, escorts. Yet, I am actually referring to another, less known and less publicized, case which has been taking place in Australia since May 2009. A quite unknown filmmaker has decided to sponsor his new ideas through the ever- successful use of blasphemy.

The filmmaker Justin Sisely wishes to produce a ‘documentary’ that will follow two virgins (one male and female) as they auction their virginity to unknown bidders. To succeed in his attempt, he, of course, needs certified virgins. Today, as we know, (at least in the ‘Western’ hemisphere) this is not a simple task, and to find two who are willing to prostitute their first intercourse is probably even harder. Continue reading

anthropology, Anti-Semitism, BBC, Catholic Church, Censorship, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Freedom, Gender, Immigration, Islam, Islam in Europe, Islamophobia, Journalism, Muslim family, Muslims, Politics, Religion, Research, Sexuality, sociology

The shameful silence: abuse and repression between tradition and lack of education


Muslims in the UK, as in another countries both in the geographical west or east, have to reflect carefully on the issue of child abuse within their heterogeneous communities as well as religious organisations, instead of wrapping themselves in a cloak of embarrassment, silence, and unacceptable complicity reinforced by the shared idea that, as in an interview one person told me, ‘these things do not happen in our community and do not happen among Muslims’. In reality they happen as often as in other communities, regardless of ethnic and religious background.   Continue reading

anthropology, Arts, BBC, Censorship, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Fashion, Freedom, Gender, Humor, Islam, Islam in Europe, Islamophobia, Journalism, Muslims, Politics, Religion, Research, Sexuality, sociology

Sarah Maple loves jihad: it makes money


Sarah Maple defines herself as an artist To use my definition of identity she feels to be an artist. Some would recognize her as such and invite her to expose her works  Other, as often is the case for contemporary at, would consider her ‘art’ as another pice of junk. Sarah Maple was born in 1985 and grew up in Sussex. The daughter of a mixed religious and cultural couple, she was brought up as Muslim by her mother.Let me say that I do not find Sarah Maple’s work interesting or original at all. For somebody born in Florence, tolerance for contemporary art tends to end with Kandinsky.

I tend to find Miss Maple’s artistic expression too childish and simplistic, when not overtly vulgar or distasteful without being even too original. Her work it seems often more the production of a school girl with too many hormones in her blood. Indeed it does not reach the artistic power of an unique scandalous artist affected by genitalphilia  such as Francis Bacon.  I have also the impression that as other artists and writers today, she is trying to find an easy route to fast success by playing with controversy surrounding Islam and Muslims. Continue reading

anthropology, Gender, Humor, Islam in Europe, Muslims, Satire, Sexuality, sociology, The UK

The Atomic Burqa

“Burqa to Britney,” artwork by Emily J. BrondsemaTo attentive readers (from this part of the so-miscalled West) of news about culture and religion in the Middle East, it is becoming clear that something is going on. First a British General, not so explicitly but more than implicitly, admits the total failure of the war in Iraq, while explicitly concluding that Britain needs to withdraw its forces from Iraq as soon as possible. Then Mr Blair (on his last political legs) seems to agree with the military chief, indirectly admitting his incompetence as Bush-led Prime Minister. At the same time, an unprecedented campaign against the Islamic hijab and niqab is spreading throughout Europe as well as in some secularised (and not-so democratic) countries such as Tunisia.

First of all, we have to observe that during this last month there has been a lack of news about acts of terrorism (of course, terror that kills Iraqi, Afghani or Muslims is not counted), plots, and Muhammad cartoons. How can we enjoy our daily preferred newspapers with one hand juggling the breakfast coffee mug, the other tying the mismatched tie, one foot in a shoe, and the other jihading with the rebellious tongue of the odd shoe, without a succulent populist comment about the evil Muslims? Come on! Like my ancestors, the Romans, we want tragedy, blood, despair, heroes, suspense, and the victory of good over evil in the coloseum of the mass media. Of course, Muslims can only play the Caligula of this saga. In these days, male Muslims seem not to have scared even one flight passenger (and consequently being arrested under one of the other Terrorist Acts), with their most powerful bugbear: the extremist beard. Normally having no beard, Muslim women have been thrown to the lions of the coloseum by old-white-men like Jack Straw in the hope that fighting for their rights (and possibly for their livelihood and dignity and security) Muslim women may reveal a little flesh. Continue reading

Democracy and Justice, Europe, Gender, Humor, Islam in Europe, Islamophobia, Muslims, Satire, Sexuality, sociology, The UK

Straw Women Unveiled (Victorian Style)

Today the Blackburn MP Jack Straw, ex-foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, has stated that the veil is a “visible statement of separation and of difference” and he is asking Muslim women visiting his surgery ‘”to consider removing it.’” He then argued, writing an article in the Lancashire Evening, that “wearing the full veil was bound to make better, positive relations between the two communities more difficult”.

Mr Straw’s manly comments certainly do not help in resolving the continuous crescendo of tensions within the Muslim community, in particular those growing up in a society that overwhelmingly sees them as “other”. Ironically, MP Jack Straw’s comments may inspire more Muslim girls to adopt the full niqab, and obscure their lips and eyes to the naive voyeuristic view of the Blackburn MP more than before.

But, is Mr Straw really concerned that the dress style of some of his female constituency members can have ‘implications for community relations?’ The ‘veil’ as any other religious symbol and dressing style can mark a difference and at the same time emphasize group identification. Indeed, other religious groups, such as the Orthodox Hassidic Jews, have their peculiar dressing style which today we can still appreciate while walking in London and so have, for instance, the Hari Krishna. Continue reading