A bad influence?
Bollywood has earned the ire of a national body of Muslim clerics in Malaysia. According to newspaper reports in Kuala Lumpur, they have urged the Malaysian government to limit television airtime for Indian-made Hindi movies because they promote "immoral values".
Harussani Zakaria, spokesman for the clerics, said Indian movies contained references to Hindu beliefs which were contrary to those of Islam and could be a bad influence on young Malay Muslims. "There were some movies which carried excessive immoral values for youngsters to copy," he was quoted as saying by The Star newspaper. The portrayal of passion on screen could "arouse the viewers to unleash their desires even on their own children," he said, according to the Malay-language Utusan Malaysia daily.
Hindi movies are a hit in Malaysia not just among the 2 million ethnic Indians who live there, but also with the other ethnic groups who make up the 22 million population, including the Malay Muslim majority. Bollywood films are screened on Malaysian television stations a few times every week. The clerics demand the screening of the films be reduced to once a week.