- Usually, Arab countries carefully screen and censor movies before permitting their release. In Dubai, recently, however, a Sylvester Stallone/Arnold Schwarzenegger movie called Escape Plan was shut down halfway through. (I've never heard of the film, but given the age of these two action heroes, are they escaping from an old folks' home? Are there wheelchair chases?) (Before you complain, I'm a senior citizen myself. I just don't star in action films.) Anyway, according to The National, the showing at the Ibn Battuta Mall's Grand Cinema was stopped in mid-film when it was discovered a character in the film curses in Arabic. Somehow that had apparently been missed by the original censors. The National does not enlighten us as to what was actually said.
- You've probably already heard that the singer Rihanna is being criticized for posing at the Shaikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. She was fully and conservatively covered but some of the shots are posed in ways the authorities did not consider appropriate for Abu Dhabi's crown jewel mosque.
- In Paris recently, Egyptian novelist Alaa al-Aswany (The Yacoubian Building) was giving a talk to the Institut du Monde Arabe when demonstrators opposed to the Egyptian coup and apparently supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood interrupted and then disrupted his talk, leading to at least one broken window and Aswany being rushed out of the hall. (Le Monde's account, in French, is here.) Video:
- "Turkey Opens First Online Islamic Sex Shop." Another report here. Since I don't read Turkish, I can't comment directly, but quote from Ahram Online:
The "Halal Sex Shop" website presents its products as being "entirely safe," and in compliance with Islamic norms.
Internet users who enter the site find two different links directing them to separate sections for male and female products.
Other sections of the website are designed to discuss sex in the context of Islam under various headings: "Oral sex according to Islam", "Sex manners in Islam" and "Sexual life in Islam."
The anonymous founders of the website said they believed the online shop would help correct prejudices against Islam which they claimed is perceived as "against sex."