Pig on the Kaaba as flame bait

From ‘Blogger probed for offensive Facebook post’, 23 Nov 2011, article in Asiaone.com

Police are investigating a blogger for allegedly publishing a photo that is offensive to Muslims on his Facebook (FB) page. Donaldson Tan, editor of Singapore-based current affairs commentary website New Asia Rebublic, is accused of putting up a picture of a pig superimposed on the Kaaba, a cuboid building in Mecca that is sacred in Islam.

Pigs are considered unclean animals in Islam. The post was accompanied by the text: “This is a flame bait. YOU ARE WARNED”.

Events provoking the Muslim community have been snowballing of late, from halal sticker pranks to links to terrorism. Astonishingly, at least 4 Facebook users have been since been accused of being racist curmudgeons online and threatening to destabilise social order, whether it’s blatantly maligning the very religion itself with some profane Zionist muckraking or simply complaining about prayers being played at McDonalds. Judging from the furious reactions by uppity netizens, people like Donaldson and Christian Eliab Ratnam should, if let off the hook,  stick to dismal status updates like what they’re having for lunch, though refraining from posting pictures of bratwurst sausages would probably be a good idea.

It’s highly unlikely that Singaporeans would riot over a Facebook post (since even protesting is controlled), but the reason most of us avoid expressing the slightest opinion about another’s religious practices (in this case, even forwarding what someone else created) is because of the FEAR of retaliation.We’ve been through centuries of nation-building learning to tiptoe gingerly around racial embers just because certain groups don’t like what they see or hear, but it remains to be seen if launching an angry online blitzkrieg aginst offenders rather than simply ignoring them (and hence not drawing attention to the offending article) is the appropriate reaction to preserve ethnic relations. It’s more likely to breed resentment, especially in those convicted, than enlightenment, which is required on both parties and not just the bugger who posted a racist joke on Facebook.

Putting a pig’s head on a Kaaba is just one of many incidences of pig imagery offending Muslims. God knows what ancient swines have done to displease the Prophet so, but apparently the people of Turkey don’t seem to have an issue with pork. Here’s a brief history of porcine pranks and also a guide to Facebookers as to how NOT to portray  the poor animal before a Muslim.

Calling someone a P*G: In 1989, an Egyptian top police official called Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini a p*g (Egyptian minister insults Khomeini, 19 March 1989, ST). I wonder if anyone has any objections calling the late OSAMA BIN LADEN one.

Depicting the Prophet as a P*G: In 1998, an Israeli woman was sentenced to two years’ jail for putting up posters in Hebron depicting the Prophet as a p*g (Israeli p*g-poster woman gets two years jail, 9 Jan 1998, ST)

Being nourished on P*G milk:  Taiwanese host Jackie Wu joked that Muslims were forbidden to eat pork because the Prophet was reared on p*g’s milk (2005)

Being buried with p*g entrails: A state senator’s suggestion to deter terrorist attacks by burying the bodies of terrorists with p*g entrails angered US Muslims (P*g remark furore, 30 June 2003, Today)

Putting a p*g’s head next to a halal logo: Benjamin Koh, one of the first locals charged for sedition and jailed, placed a p*g’s head next to the halal logo on his blog, along with other vulgar tirades against the religion (Jail terms, fine – and a warning, 8 Oct 2005, Today)

Selling a p*g as a toy at McDonaldsTechically this was a precaution taken by Macs against offending Islam, which drew flak for not being sensitive to Chinese born in the year of the P*g. But such overkill is exactly what you would expect a corporate giant to do in ‘fear’ of losing valuable customers who may be offended by Doraemon in a p*g costume.

P*g on stamps, advertisements: Like the Macs fiasco, similar offshoots of being too ‘culturally sensitive’. In 2007, the Indonesian authorities voluntarily withdrew Zodiac stamps depicting the Year of the P*g. These creatures were also banned from TV ads in China in the same year.

I thought the faithful were just not allowed to consume the ‘flesh of swine’, but it seems like you can’t even use it as an pictorial example for ‘P’ in a children’s animal alphabet book without offending someone.

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One Response

  1. […] or witch-hunt? – Void Deck’s FB Note: Ouch, the Truth Hurts – Everything Also Complain: Pig on the Kaaba as flame bait – Pilgrimage: On the “special position of Malays” in Singapore – Jojotora: On Jason, Christian […]

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