The Last Taboo?

Last month, an Asian-British playwright went into hiding after receiving death threats from members in the Sikh community, some of who were offended by the play she had just put out. Late last year, a Dutch filmmaker was killed by a Muslim fanatic who considered his work blasphemous. There were also some death threats against BBC executives for airing an opera that offended Christians.

Power struggles between traditional and modern currents inside different faiths have served to raise the religious stakes across the board. Today, religion in Europe is more intertwined with politics than in recent memory. And perhaps for this very reason, some artists believe it again worthy of attention.

Alan Riding wonders if religion is against taboo in art, and what this might mean for artists.