Uzbekistan: Official ban on use of religious themes in art

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Uzbekistan:
Official ban on use of religious themes in art

The Uzbek national security service (SNB) has issued a strict warning to the country’s leading artists against using religious themes in their work, reported Uznews.net.

The warning was issued at a special conference held at the end of October at the Tashkent Academy Theatre. At the meeting, an SNB representative told leading theatre and film professionals, writers, painters and musicians that the use of any kind of religious theme in their works was strictly forbidden. Uznews learned about this from a member of the national Uzbekkino agency, who asked not to be named.

“There are those among you who have been abroad and met with members of so-called opposition movements and extremist religious groups. Some people sitting in this room will have met their foremost leaders,” the SNB agent told Uznews.

Following the ‘KGB-style’ warning, a member of Uzbekistan’s State Committee for Religious Affairs described how members of extremist Islamist organisations knowingly misrepresent the Koran, exploiting the fact that the majority of Muslims in Uzbekistan do not know the Arab language and cannot refer to the original text.

Film about works of the devil
It is thought that one of the reasons for the move to ban religious themes in works of art was the film ‘Nafs’ which recently was published by the young Uzbek actor and director Farroukh Saipov. The title ‘Nafs’ means desire or greed.

According to the Uzbekkino representative, the film is very much in the spirit of classic Indian action films, but in this case is about the works of the devil, who appears to witnesses in various guises. The role of the devil in his true form is played by Saipov himself.

The film premiered at the Alisher Navoi cinema not long before the special meeting of Uzbek artists, but Saipov’s film was banned from distribution after the screening. Not long before the premier Saipov was arrested and charged with belonging to a banned religious organisation. Two weeks after his arrest, Saipov was released on bail. He is to appear before court once an investigation has been completed.



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Source

Uznews.net – 12 November 2011:
‘Uzbekistan bans use of religious themes in art’

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