Friday, January 21, 2005

Muslim group targets poster nudity

Muslim group targets poster nudity - Britain

Muslim group targets poster nudity
By Nicola Woolcock

Activists are getting bolder in a campaign of vandalising adverts that display naked flesh

BILLBOARD adverts featuring partial nudity are being defaced by Muslim activists who are offended by displays of flesh.

The advertising watchdog has confirmed that increasing numbers of posters are being torn down or painted over in predominantly Islamic areas.

A website giving advice on how to vandalise billboards and listing potential targets has been set up by a group calling themselves Muslims Against Advertising (MAAD).

The campaign has gathered momentum since the Advertising Standards Authority banned an underwear advert from being sited near mosques.

Advertisements for perfume, hair dye, bras and television programmes are among those that have been attacked. Photographs of semi-dressed women are the most frequently targeted, with the offending body parts painted over or ripped off.

A poster advertising the Channel 4 programme Desperate Housewives is the most recent target; the images of two scantily-clad actresses have been torn from an East London billboard but three fully-dressed characters were left intact. Adverts bearing Dove’s “Real Women” adverts — six ordinary women pictured in their underwear — were painted over at several locations last year.

MAAD, based in Birmingham, gives an index of defaced adverts in the city, including Levi’s, Wonderbra, PaddyPower, a radio station and a strip club. It says on its website that it believes in “direct action” and “has paint and isn’t afraid to use it”, adding: “There is no longer any need to cringe as you walk past a sleazy poster, we’ll improve it.”

Advice on how to attack posters is also given: “The procedures outlined here are based on our six months’ experience of executing poster attacks professionally, safely and without injury or arrest.

“A paint roller, a blithe spirit and a balmy night are all you really need.

“After choosing your board, be sure to inspect it both during the day and at night. Take note of all activities in the area. Who is about at 2am? How visible will you be?

“Bring a camera — it’s a good cover for doing anything you’re not supposed to. Check your escape routes.

“For work on larger boards we recommend walkie-talkies . . . the ground crew should monitor oncoming traffic and maintain radio contact with the lookout on the board.”

The ASA told Triumph to remove its advert for Sloggi thongs from a billboard near a mosque in Bury, after complaints and a petition.

One Muslim reportedly complained that it was “insulting” and constituted “environmental pollution”.

An advert for hair dye, which showed a woman peering into her bikini bottoms, was painted over by Muslims in Luton. A spokesman said the poster would be “extremely offensive” to a Muslim man if he passed it on his way to prayers.


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