Culture minister unhappy about 'Ramadan friendly' label at arts centres

About 20 cultural centres in Brussels have introduced a "Ramadan friendly" label for their performances. Flemish culture minister Jan Jambon has spoken out against the practice, Het Laatste Nieuws reports.

The label warns of violence and nudity in performances. Spectators are allowed to leave the venue at any time, and sometimes a performance is postponed until after sunset, when those who observe Ramadan have completed their fast. Those who come to watch a performance may bring their own snacks and drinks, there is free water for all visitors and a quiet room is provided.

“Such religious interference in cultural-artistic practice seems very problematic to me," Jambon said in a letter to the centres. He fears that, despite well-meaning intentions, the measure may create prejudice and mutual distrust. "And that is at odds with the ambition of the Flemish government to combat segregation."

Barbara Van Lindt of the Kaaitheater, which suggested the initiative, says the warnings are to prevent people from having a bad experience at their performances. "In Europe, such labels have been experimented with for some time, but under no circumstances should they curtail artists' creative freedom," she told Het Laatste Nieuws.



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