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June 27, 2017

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Singapore censors ban films on terrorism, homosexual, fetish

SINGAPORE -- Singapore's censors have banned documentaries about terrorism, gay Muslims and a sex fetish from being screened at a local film festival, a newspaper reported Saturday.

Two of the films — "Arabs and Terrorism" and "David the Tolhildan" — were blocked by the Board of Film Censors because of their "sympathetic portrayal of organizations deemed terrorist organizations by many countries," The Straits Times newspaper reported.

"Arabs and Terrorism" features interviews with American policymakers, Middle Eastern political factions and academics. "David The Tolhildan" is about a Swiss man who left his country to join the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, a Kurdish rebel group. The European Union, the United States and Turkey consider the PKK a terrorist organization.

"Films which portray terrorist organizations in a positive light by lending support and voice to justify their cause through violence are disallowed under the film classification guidelines," censorship board chairman Amy Chua was quoted as saying.

Officials at the Media Development Authority, which oversees the censorship board, could not be reached for comment Saturday.

The banned films had been scheduled to be shown at the Singapore International Film Festival, which started Friday.

Censors also objected to a film discussing homosexuality in the Islamic world. "A Jihad for Love," a film about gay Muslims, was banned "in view of the sensitive nature of the subject that features Muslim homosexuals in various countries and their struggle to reconcile religion and their lifestyle," Chua was quoted as saying.

"Bakushi," a documentary about a sex fetish involving tying up women, was also banned because it had a theme that "normalizes unnatural fetishes and behavior which is disallowed" under film content guidelines, Chua was quoted as saying.

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