Religious leaders condemned for fatwas declared against journalists

first_img News Saudi ArabiaMiddle East – North Africa Reporters Without Borders today voiced its deep concern about an upsurge in fatwas (religious decrees) calling for the murder of journalists in the Arab and Muslim world.In the latest case, a high-ranking Saudi official, Sheikh Saleh al-Luhidan, president of the superior council of jurisprudence, issued a fatwa on 12 September 2008 calling for the murder of owners of Arabic satellite television stations for spreading “depravity”. Help by sharing this information Follow the news on Saudi Arabia RSF joins Middle East and North Africa coalition to combat digital surveillance “From Nigeria to Pakistan, and via Saudi Arabia, many journalists have been targeted by religious officials in recent years after writing articles or broadcasting programmes viewed as “blasphemous” and “anti-Islamic”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said.“These fatwas constitute calls for murder that endanger the lives of journalists who are already working in conditions made more difficult by the delicate political context in which they have to operate. We urge religious officials to show moderation so that no irreparable steps are taken. The highest Islamic authorities should publicly condemn such fatwas”, it added.The religious dignitary in the Saudi case played down his comments a few days later, in the face of an outcry prompted by his statements, but still without backing down on the validity of his edict.“It is lawful to kill (…) the advocates of depravity (…) if their evil is not removed by simple sanctions. The situation is very serious (…), moral depravity being a form of perversion on earth”, Sheikh Saleh al-Luhidan said on a local Saudi radio. He was replying to a question from a listener about “immoral” programmes (variety and entertainment programmes) broadcast on satellite television during the month of Ramadan. Fatwas against journalists have become increasingly common in recent years. Two journalists were targeted by fatwas in 2003 after they condemned the backward nature of Islam practised in Afghanistan. An Iranian ayatollah called for two Azerbaijani journalists to be killed in December 2006 after they wrote an article about the superiority of European values. More recently, a Pakistani religious leader declared a fatwa in June 2007 against the editorial staff of fashion magazine Octane, based on a series of photos headlined “Adam and Eve, the apple of discord”.On the other hand, a fatwa issued by the Popular Resistance Committees, one of the highest religious authorities in the Palestinian territories, brought forward the release in 2007 of British journalist Alan Johnston, who was held hostage in the Gaza Strip. Saudi ArabiaMiddle East – North Africa to go further News June 8, 2021 Find out more NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs say September 16, 2008 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Religious leaders condemned for fatwas declared against journalists Saudi media silent on RSF complaint against MBS Organisation March 9, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts April 28, 2021 Find out more RSF_en News Newslast_img read more

Building outward

first_imgJames Voorhies was looking down the ramp from the third floor of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, toward the Prescott Street entrance of the new Harvard Art Museums. “How can you not want to walk up this ramp if you don’t know what it is?” he asked with obvious excitement.Voorhies, the new John R. and Barbara Robinson Family Director of the Carpenter Center, was expressing his anticipation not only of the opening of Harvard Art Museums in November, but also the potential for the center. A former director of the nonprofit Bureau for Open Culture as well as an art history and critical theory teacher at Bennington College, Voorhies assumed his Harvard post in February.Central to Voorhies’s vision for the Carpenter Center is the building itself, which was designed by the iconic French Modernist Le Corbusier (his only building in the United States) and opened in 1963. The building’s challenging design — a curvilinear mass supported by towering concrete columns, and that ascending S-shaped ramp, essentially splitting the structure in two — has in recent years been seen as more forbidding than welcoming.It’s also not a very practical exhibition space. As Voorhies is quick to acknowledge, “There are no walls.” That is, most spaces in the building — studios and offices alike — are defined by floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The third-level Sert Gallery was essentially created by installing interior walls in what was originally conceived of as a floor-through space extending from window to window. Likewise the gallery space in the first-level lobby, which has required that new walls be created for every exhibit.Voorhies’s solution, whenever possible: “No walls.”“I’m trying not to build a lot of walls but to really work with the space,” says Voorhies, going back to the original conception of the building, what he wryly refers to as “Le Corbusier’s zero.” The ramp, the containment of open spaces — both public and private — encompassed by glass walls, was supposed to make the building more inviting, blurring the distinction between outside and inside, drawing the visitor in.Voorhies’s philosophy is to “use the space as it is, rather than forcing it into a white cube” of the typical art gallery.In that regard, for the late-summer/early-fall visiting faculty exhibit, he installed mobile panels instead of the usual dry-wall mounts. In early October, the same panels become a stage backdrop and movie screen for a presentation by Naomi Yang ’86 and Damon Krukowski ’85. Yang screened her short film “Fortune,” while the duo (who record as Damon & Naomi, and both formerly performed with the indie-rock band Galaxie 500) sang and played live accompaniment. The event drew an estimated 150 people.Voorhies has undertaken an ambitious program of visiting artists, who he hopes will engage various departments of the University with layered, multidisciplinary projects. He also commissioned a new website, hoping for a stronger connection with the Harvard community and beyond.“So many people on campus haven’t heard of the Carpenter Center,” says Voorhies. “Or if they have, they haven’t been here.”As director, Voorhies is charged with exhibitions and programming. But the building also houses both the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies and the Harvard Film Archive, whose director, Haden Guest, initiated the Damon & Naomi collaboration. It’s that kind of collaborative use of the center’s resources — and “controlled, haphazard” use of the space — that Voorhies hopes will become part of a much broader agenda. “My job is to produce exhibitions, but with an overarching vision of how they connect to the academic life.”In the center’s offices, he produced a press release announcing the building’s opening in 1963, stating the Carpenter’s “educational task in making students from all departments of the University more intensely aware of their visual environment.” It was a sentiment reinforced in the 2008 report by the University’s Task Force on the Arts, which asked, “How can the visual arts connect with all students in all disciplines in Harvard?”To that end Voorhies is bringing in artists whose work could suggest a range of connections for a broad spectrum of faculty and curriculum. For instance, the British artist Simon Fujiwara, whose exhibition “Three Easy Pieces” opens Oct. 23, creates multimedia installations that touch on issues of race, sexuality, and gender. Voorhies is also excited at the prospect of Fujiwara, who teaches in London, making studio visits and working with students. He’d like to see visiting artists making repeated visits over a few years, forging connections with the Harvard community, and ultimately creating site-specific installations commissioned by the Carpenter Center.“It’s the basis of not only presenting something that’s unique in response to the building, but also a way to have an artist here with us on a longer-term basis. So you get two things at once — you get the artists and the connection to them, and an exhibition that can’t happen anywhere else but in this building.”last_img read more