By Julia CabreraRabat – A 42-year-old Danish man is charged with blasphemy in Denmark after posting a video on Facebook of himself burning the Quran.Denmark’s decision is unexpected, as the country is mainly secular and supportive of freedom of speech according to various European news outlets. The man, who cannot be identified due to Danish laws, posted the 4’15 minute long video of himself burning the Quran in a anti-Islam Facebook page called, “Yes to Freedom- No to Islam,” according to Danish media The Local. At that time he was charged with hate speech, but on Wednesday his indictment was changed to blasphemy.A trial date has been set for June, and the defendant could be sentenced to four months in prison or a fine, the New York Times reported.Denmark’s blasphemy laws have not been practiced for over 46 years, when two radio producers were acquitted of the charge in 1971 after airing a song mocking Christianity.The laws proscribe punishment for “publicly mocking a religious community’s religious doctrines or worship,” according to ABC News.Religious tensions and free speech sensitivities in Denmark’s Muslim community have been rising since the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten released twelve cartoons of Mohammed in 2006.According to The Local, Danish prosecutors did not invoke the blasphemy laws towards the newspaper, and the publication of the cartoons speared anger through the Muslim world.Jan Reckendorff, a Danish prosecutor in the trial, made the decision to charge the defendant with blasphemy.“It is the prosecution’s view that circumstances involving the burning of holy books such as the Bible and the Quran can in certain cases be a violation of the blasphemy clause, which covers public scorn or mockery of religion,” said Reckendorff in a Danish press release.The defendant’s lawyer, Rasmus Paludan, countered that the blasphemy charge was self defense.“The Quran contains passages on how Mohammed’s followers must kill the infidel, i.e. the Danes.” he said. “Therefore, it’s an act of self-defense to burn a book that in such a way incites war and violence.”Denmark is one of five countries that have a law against blasphemy in the European Union. According to the New York Times, this case could lead to the removal of the law overall.
The Legend of Zorrodir Martin Campbellout nowIn 1998, The Mask of Zorro, alsodirected by Martin Cambell,was released to general acclaim.A rousing, swashbuckling adventurewith a healthy dose of humour,it made a sequel entirely predictable.Sadly, predictable is certainlythe watchword for this latest offeringfrom the conveyor-belt that isHollywood. The film, essentially aninferior photocopy of the original,is not terrible, but it is terribly mediocre.The sultry spark of the first filmhas vanished, replaced by lazy actingand an even lazier script. Thestory, little more than a series of frequentlyillogical plot devices, opensin 1850 as California votes on joiningthe Union. Zorro is enduringsomewhat less than marital bliss,with his devotion to work resultingin estrangement from his beautifulwife. This potentially emotional storylineis instead played for laughs,as Zorro strives to win Elena backfrom a villain so bland I’ve alreadyforgotten his name. Naturally, healso has to save America.The Legend of Zorro is sporadicallyfunny, but the broad slapstickmerely contributes to its uneventone, as it tries (and fails) to find abalance between grit and sanitisedfamily fare. The introduction of aZorro Junior to the forefront of theaction was always going to be intenselyirritating. One also wonderswhy the skilful swordsman Zorronever actually kills anyone with hissword.Nevertheless, the blockbusterdoes have its moments, and it occasionallyfeels like a better story islurking just out of reach. A mealtimescene proves surprisingly macabreand the rousing fighting ofthe climax is undeniably exciting.On a different front, real emotionis felt when Zorro’s identity is revealed,yet the chief effect of this isto highlight the sterility of the restof the affair.It is a depressing thought that sausagefactory of Hollywood cannotmuster the courage to experimentwith fresh material. Recycling is agood thing when it comes to litter,but not when cinema is concerned.The word ‘sequel’ may arouse producersin Bel-Air, but for me it hasall the excitement of toast.There are exceptions, of course,that prove this rule. This film,as you may have guessed, is notone of them. No amount of scenery,swords, special effects or even(gasp) Antonio Banderas can hidethe unerring feeling that The Legendof Zorro has nothing new tosay. Far from being a legend, thisfilm proved difficult to rememberlong enough to write a review.ARCHIVE: 3rd week MT 2005