Germany: Life of Brian banned on Good Friday

Scene from Life of Brian

Publicly screening Monty Python's Life of Brian on Good Friday is an offence in parts of Germany, it's emerged.

The religious satire is on a list of "inappropriate" films which must not be screened in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia that day, the regional daily WAZ reports. It says an activist group, Free of Religion in the Ruhr Region, faces a 1,000 euro (£860) fine for showing the film in the city of Bochum. A city spokeswoman defended the decision to start proceedings. "We have to react in this way in order to comply with rules which we did not lay down ourselves," the paper quotes Barbara Gottschlich as saying.

But the initiative regards the ban as part of "outmoded clerical rules in German laws". Founder Joerg Schnueckel says on the secularist group's website: "Only fundamentalist clerical states force their citizens to submit to the rules of the dominant religion." The controversial film - deemed by some to be blasphemous - was refused a licence by 39 UK councils after its release in 1979. Glasgow retained its outright ban for 30 years.

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