‘Love in Georgetown City’ furore: Art must be guided by religious values, says Penang mufti

Wan Salim said art ought to emphasise on developing an honourable and wise society. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Wan Salim said art ought to emphasise on developing an honourable and wise society. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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GEORGE TOWN, Feb 15 — All art and entertainment events must be guided by moral and religious values at all times, the Penang mufti Datuk Seri Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor said today.

He said while freedom, openness and inclusiveness are encouraged to bring about development for the country, art and entertainment activities should not be left uncontrolled.

“Art and entertainment activities that are left uncontrolled will only lead to the destruction of humankind.

“We do not like the concept of art for the sake of art but we want art to emphasise on developing an honourable and wise society,” he said in a statement responding to the furore over the Love in Georgetown City play.

He said there was no need for love to be demonstrated in an open manner that led to uncontrolled freedom.

“Love should be demonstrated in terms of love for God, love for the environment, love for parents, love for the country and love for humankind,” he said.

He said the world of art covered a wide spectrum of various topics.

“Why must it be narrowed down to within only the boundaries of sex?” he asked.

The Love in Georgetown City play, previously titled Sex in Georgetown City, opened last night amid protests by a Muslim group.

The two-hour play, by Fa Abdul of Big Nose Production, featured comedy sketches of couples discussing relationship, marriage and social issues.

The police said the play did not contain pornographic or obscene elements and confirmed that it was only a comedy sketch.

Last night, about a dozen members from the Jaringan Muslimim Pulau Pinang held a protest at the entrance of Penangpac to demand for the play to be cancelled.

The group insisted that it was a screening of pornographic films that promoted free sex and the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGBT) lifestyle.  

They also accused Penangpac of launching a “campaign to promote free sex and LGBT”.

Despite declaring the performance was not pornographic in any way, the police had advised the production company to cancel the show due to misleading advertisements of the play.

It is learnt that the production company planned to cancel the show.

The play was scheduled to be staged for February 14 to 17 and tickets to the play were sold out last night and today.

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