Threat of terror cuts our tongues

A few years ago, director Roland Emmerich made 2012, a hit disaster movie in which human civilisation was suddenly destroyed by earthquakes and super volcanoes.

As is mandatory for such films, the destruction of world landmarks was depicted. Many of the enormous monuments erected in the name of religion featured in the destruction. This was, according to the director, a reflection of his opposition to “organised religion”.

And so the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro was shown to roll down Mt Corcovado. The Sistine Chapel collapsed on to a group of red-hatted cardinals at prayer. St Peter’s Basilica crumbled with the pope in its balcony and the falling masonry crushing thousands of the gathered faithful below.

Notably, however, no Islamic holy site was destroyed on screen. In an interview, Emmerich said that he wanted to show the destruction of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, but was talked out of it because of potential reprisals.