So sacred, it’s criminal?

Depictions of religious figures are apt to garner scrutiny. Rudy Guiliani’s condemnation of Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary comes to mind, as do Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons personifying the Prophet Mohammed.

In Myanmar, a depiction of the Buddha wearing headphones condemned a nightclub manager from New Zealand and two Burmese associates to two years in prison. The court said the image denigrated Buddhism and violated Myanmar’s religion act, which prohibits insulting, damaging or destroying religion. To which a Human Rights Watch official responded, “This is a clear instance of criminalizing free expression.”             —Diane Richard, writer, March 18


Image: Soe Than Win/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images Source: Austin Ramzy, Wai Moe, “Myanmar Sentences 3 to Prison for Depicting Buddha Wearing Headphones,” The New York Times, March 17, 2015