In what it defended to be “standard protocol” in Malaysia, the company that prints the International New York Times in the country, KHL Printing Co, has blackened out the faces of pigs on pictures that accompanied an article on animal treatment.
“This is a Muslim country so we covered the pigs’ eyes,” a representative of the company told news agencies, adding that the order did not come from the government’s censorship bodies.
“We usually do that for the International New York Times — also for pictures of cigarettes, weapons, guns and nude pictures.”
Unsurprisingly, the action sparking a wave of online ridicule.
“Poor piggies,” one user wrote on Facebook, while another said, “This is hilarious… We are officially a nation of morons.”
One post read, “Are they not God’s creations, too?”
Home ministry officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Muslims consider pigs to be unclean. Some 60 per cent of Malaysia’s 28 million people are Muslim ethnic Malays. Though Malaysia is known for its relatively moderate version of Islam, conservatives often cry foul over what they deem as insults to their religion. A row over whether Malay-speaking non-Muslims can use the word “Allah” to refer to God has also raised tempers. Authorities say the word is exclusive to Islam and may confuse Muslims if used by other religions.