Monday, January 19, 2015

Open-minded Interpretation

All is Forgiven
Readers of The Economist in Singapore found a blank page in the latest 17 Jan edition. Lianhe Zaobao reported that 22nd page of an article on Terror and Islam ("After the atrocities") was left with nothing but two words "Page Missing" .

According to the Economist, print copies of the magazine that are sold in parts of Southeast Asia should read: "In most of our editions this page included a picture showing the current cover of "Charlie Hebdo". Our Singapore printers declined to print it." The message also directed readers to where they could view the image on The Economist website if they wished to.

Times Printers Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Singapore's Times Publishing Group, claims the Economist had asked them about concerns running an image of the Prophet in tears holding a "Je Suis Charlie" placard under the headline in French "All is Forgiven." "We consulted and registered our concerns with The Economist magazine. After deliberation, The Economist ... sent out a replacement page to us which we have printed accordingly." Quite obviously, even the replacement page has been censored.

The Newspaper and Printing Presses Act (NPPA) which came about in 1974 requires that no newspapers are to be printed or published without a permit which is granted, refused or revoked upon the Minister’s discretion. No prizes for guessing who the printers might have consulted. The Singapore Information Minister said on his Facebook page he appreciated the printers' decision as the image would not have been authorised for publication.

Perhaps Yaacob Ibrahim missed the article by Fareed Zakaria ("No mention of 'blasphemy' in the Koran", ST Tue 13 Jan 2015), the part which states the idea that Islam requires that insults against the Prophet Muhammad be met with violence is a creation of politicians and clerics to serve a political agenda. Nor, the writer adds, does the Quran anywhere forbid creating images of Muhammad.

We know from Wikileaks that Yaacob Ibrahim once told U.S. embassy officials that he "has a more open-minded interpretation of the Koran" and that his Puerto Rican wife converted to Islam "to satisfy the conservative standards of Singapore." Not exactly cleric material, which means the politician is very much in play.
Isaiah’s vision of Jesus riding a donkey and Muhammad riding a camel,
al-Biruni, al-Athar al-Baqiyya ‘an al-Qurun al-Khaliyya (Chronology of
Ancient Nations), Tabriz, Iran, 1307-8. Edinburgh University Library.
(Thanks, anon@1/19/2015 3:51 AM)


  1. An academic and an expert on Islamic art confirms that the Quran does not prohibit images of Muhammad:

    This act of self censorship shows the parallels between fundamentalist Islam and PAP-governed Singapore. Basically both have their people by the balls and the threat to cut them off is ever present.

    1. Ironically, one has to go to the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament ( common to Jews and Christians) to find the injunction against "graven images".

  2. Yaacob's wife' conversions is an act of convenience. So is the act of grudging approval of casinos by Lim Boon Hen (of corodile tears fame) and the 35% President who put aside his Chritian beliefs temporarily. The country expects principled men and women to run it, not fair weather ones.

  3. kill,kill,kill1/19/2015 9:25 AM

    There is no record of any images of the Prophet Muhammed, either in paintings, etchings.

    So, how does anyone know what he looked like?
    All I see is a cartoon of a bearded person with a headscarf holding a sign.
    Could be my neighbour's uncle from Rajasthan.

  4. For a moment I thought that was a picture of our Premier holding a card reading "Je Sue Roy" and "Tout Est Pardonne".

  5. Thought casino was the Brainchild of a Catholic Cabinet Member.

    Believe in MONEY FIRST is never unwise, believers or not applies.


  6. As a famous US President quoted -

    "Politicians are a dime a dozen on any dog's back, what positive contribution they do well all of us here very well know".

    Only part how ridiculously expensive that politician is to the people and country. Anyone can talk...even a parrot...and parrot only cost seeds to wayyyyy cheaper than a regular politician.


  7. If the image is banned in Singapore, what is the information minister going to do about it online? He won't so he is spouting nonsense just like his colleague Chan Chun Sing.

  8. Hi, I'd like to ask where you found the issue of The Economist with just 2 words? Because my issue of The Economist does include the replacement page...

  9. I think its important to respect race and religion... unfortunately, even freedom of speech has its boundaries. Pushing beyond it would undoubtedly cause unhappiness and anger. To me, it is good that the paper was intelligent enough not to publish that page.

    Just my 2 cents.

  10. PAP democracy is two PAP wolves and a Singaporean lamb voting on what's for dinner.
    Liberty is a smart Sinkie lamb contesting the vote by supporting the Opposition.