Hookahs with Jesus images offend Jordan's Catholics

Middle Eastern women smoking traditional hookahs.Reuters

A Jordan-based Catholic group has denounced images of Jesus printed on traditional hookahs ('hubble-bubble' pipes) which it says are immodest and indecent.

The pipes are sold to the public or used in cafes. In a clear reference to the images of Mohammed which were offensive to Muslims and which sparked the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, the Catholic Centre for Studies and Media (CCSM) said it was "astonished to learn that such stuff is being imported at a time when the world strives to intensify efforts designed to ban defamation of religions, and to renounce any reference to religious symbols in a heinous way".

It is considering legal action against the companies involved, which it declined to name in its statement. The CCSM requested the authorities "to withdraw all this stuff from the market, to damage it, or delete the inscribed sacred drawings that are placed alongside immodest drawings, and never to have it used again as it contains drawings offensive to the Christian religion and to the person of Lord Jesus Christ who is honoured by all religions".

CCSM's director Fr Rif'at Bader wrote last week for the Abouna website during Interfaith Harmony Week: "How can we talk about harmony at a time when this year witnessed the emergence of violence, extremism and wrong manipulation of religion, as well as 'passive' views of hatred being aired on satellites stations and social networking sites? What would our reaction be towards the exorbitant defamation of religions by the tendentious and insipid newspapers through revealing themselves as expressing freedom of expression in its capacity as a human right?"