Lest We Forget: In 2004 a Birmingham Theater Closed a Play Written by a WOMAN Because It Offended a Religious Community (the Sikhs)

See the original BBC report on playwright Gurpreet Bhatti’s censorship here, as well as the craven response of a Catholic archbishop (who supported the Sikh clergy in shutting her play down):

Mohan Singh, a local Sikh community leader, said: “When they’re doing a play about a Sikh priest raping somebody inside a gurdwara, would any religion take it?”

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, Vincent Nichols, said the play was offensive to people of all faiths.

“The right to freedom of expression has corresponding duties to the common good.

“Such a deliberate, even if fictional, violation of the sacred place of the Sikh religion demeans the sacred places of every religion.”

The theatre said more than 800 people had to be evacuated, security guards were attacked and thousands of pounds’ worth of damage was caused.

The response to free speech is more free speech—not violence, thuggery, and intimidation. Gurpreet Bhatti was raised Sikh and she has the right, as a human being, to leave her religion and even blaspheme it. Imagine the work that she had to do, emotionally, to be able to speak in ways that she regards as truthful about a religion that once controlled her. And the British leaders in Birmingham, far from backing her in her freedom and emotional liberation, essentially escorted her back to the religious cage of her youth and shut her in. In England, a woman might be able to leave the religion of her childhood (with great difficulty) but she dare not speak of it in a public forum, or represent it artistically.

What has happened to the Enlightenment in England?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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1 Response to Lest We Forget: In 2004 a Birmingham Theater Closed a Play Written by a WOMAN Because It Offended a Religious Community (the Sikhs)

  1. that is a shame for the whole country,. let hope we have evolutioned a little in the next years

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