“The veil has long been part of local culture and nobody is allowed to make fun of these values.” Sharia Alert. From AFP:
ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Pakistani authorities have banned a stage play for ridiculing the burqa, the veil traditionally worn by Muslim women, a minister said after Islamist MPs raised the issue in parliament Thursday.
“The veil has long been part of local culture and nobody is allowed to make fun of these values,” Minister for Culture Ghazi Gulab Jamal said.
The satirical play Burqa Vaganza was staged this month by Ajoka Theatre at the Arts Council in the eastern city of Lahore, known as the country’s cultural capital.
Islamist women lawmakers raised the issue in the lower house, saying that the play was against the “Koranic injunctions on the veil.”
The minister told the house that the government had banned the play and “stopped (its) staging it in other cities,” following the end of its run in Lahore.
“We do not like that someone should ridicule our cultural values. Burqa is very much part of our culture,” Jamal said.
The theatre’s owner, Madiha Gohar, condemned the ban, saying that giving in to the Islamists’ demands “negates the government’s policy of enlightened moderation.”
“We are trying to end the evils from the society, we are against forcing women to wear burqa. I condemn the ban,” she said.
Gohar said the theme of the play reflected the aggressive behaviour of the burqa-clad female students of Jamia Hafsa school in Islamabad’s Red Mosque.
This report from Reuters adds:
Predictably, religious conservative Pakistanis did not find it funny, going as far as to describe the play as blasphemous, a crime in Pakistan that can carry a death sentence.
“They have committed blasphemy against the Prophet (Mohammad),” Razia Aziz, a female lawmaker from the Islamist opposition alliance, told the National Assembly.
She demanded the government take action against people responsible for staging “Burqavaganza”.