April 30, 2004
Something I wonder about

International law is tricky business. A couple of days ago, the Norwegian Islamic female comedian Shabana Rehman did a publicity stunt which included lifting Islamic fundamentalist cleric Mullah Krekar:

NYT.com: Militant Mullah Meets Match in Comic at Norway Nightclub

Ms. Rehman, known for her parodies of conservative Islamic teachings, asked Mullah Krekar if he would submit to a "fundamentalist test." The mullah agreed but was taken by surprise when the comic suddenly lifted him in the air.

Ms. Rehman has lifted men in performances before, including several prominent Norwegians. Some found it funny; some were embarrassed.

Mullah Krekar's lawyer, Brynjar Meling, said the cleric planned to file a complaint with the police. On Thursday, his brother said the mullah would not press charges if Ms. Rehman apologized.

Now there are several interesting questions arising from this:
  • Just after the incident, Krekar demanded all press photographers present to delete the photos of the event. Most did. I think this is wrong: it's a newsworthy event encompassing two publicly known figures in Norway, and what happened can not be undone by deleting the evidence: what's this? Voluntary 1984?!
  • Norwegian TV station TV2 filmed the episode and did not comply with the Mullah's request. Au contraire, they broadcast the episode on TV in their evening news.
  • Now the mulla is mad and physically attacks their journalists, demanding an apology for the publication. This is not the right way to go about things - we're a civilized cuontry and as far as I can see, TV2 was in their rights to both film and pubilsh the event. Taking physical revenge serves no purpose.
  • A tidbit: according to the mullah's and Shabana's religious beliefs, contact between unmarried men and women is prohibited. In Norway it is not. When the mullah is threatening to sue Shabana - will Islamic laws enter the Norwegian courthouses? (more, in Norwegian)

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© Anders Jacobsen
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