Sydney: An Australian ad-film showing Hindu God Ganesha eating lamb has sparked a controversy, leaving the community in Australia as well as India up in arms.
Apart from Lord Ganesha, the advertisement shows Jesus, Thor and Zeus having dinner and raising a toast. They also cheekily asked why Islamic Prophet Mohammed never showed up to the barbecue.
The ad-film shows Lord Ganesha eating the meat and raising a glass to the words “to lambs, the meat we can all eat”.
Several religious leaders have reached out to the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) clip seeking an immediate ban on the video.
Indian Society of Western Australia’s Ram Bansal said, “(We) strongly condemn (it) as hurtful, insensitive and misleading’’.
“It is painful to see Ganeshji being portrayed as a meat eater, wine drinker and in search for a new marketing strategy for himself.
“(We) strongly condemn the advertisement as hurtful, insensitive, misleading and a cheap attempt to gain commercial advantage by mocking at religious sentiments of millions of Indians.”
Apart from Hindu organisations, Australian federation of Islamic Councils spokesperson Ali Kadri also slammed the ad saying it had crossed the line and must be pulled back.
“It completely missed the mark and was very insensitive to all religious people,” he said.
“I understand there is freedom of speech but this ad does not serve to create a discussion — it was just made to be controversial and sell lamb.
“All they are doing is mocking every religion in the country and I think it should be taken down.
“I had no problems with last year’s ad which brought together different cultures but I have no idea why they thought it would be all right to bring religions into it.”
Lamb lobbyist Sam Kekovich, who had produced controversial Australia Day ad last year, said pulling the ad would deride our larrikin spirit and described the outrage as stupidity.
MLA spokesperson, giving clarification over the outrageous ad film, said that the advertisement was the result of extensive research and consultation.
“Our intent is never to offend, but rather acknowledge that lamb is a meat consumed by a wide variety of cultures and capture how the world could look if people left their differing views at the door and came to the table with open arms, and minds,” he said.
“No matter your beliefs, background or persuasion, the one thing we can all come together and unite over, is lamb.”