Cancellation of 'blasphemous' play interferes with freedom of speech: Amnesty International
Published 24/01/2014 | 18:40
The Bible: The Complete Word Of God (Abridged) was due to be staged in the Theatre At The Mill in Newtownabbey on the northern outskirts of Belfast later this month.
The Democratic Unionist-led borough council decided to call it off amid strong opposition from religious conservatives.
Amnesty Northern Ireland director Patrick Corrigan said: "It is well-established in international human rights law that the right to freedom of expression, though not absolute, is a fundamental right which may only be restricted in certain limited circumstances to do with the advocacy of hatred.
"It is quite obvious that those circumstances are not met in the context of this work of comedy and, thus, that the cancelling of the play is utterly unjustified on human rights grounds.
"Such interference with freedom of speech and artistic expression should be of concern to freedom-lovers everywhere."
In its promotion for the play, the company added: "Whether you are Catholic or Protestant, Muslim or Jew, atheist or Jedi, you will be tickled by the RSC's romp through old-time religion."
A total of 800 seats were available over two nights and 150 tickets were sold, a 19% take-up.