Almost five decades following its release, the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s 1967 album ‘Axis: Bold as Love’ has been banned in Malaysia. But unlike other Hendrix projects, the decision was not due to anything overtly sexual or drug-related in the material.
According to the Malay Mail, the Malaysian Home Ministry’s Publication Control and Quranic Text unit has taken offense to the album’s cover (left), claiming that it too closely resembles various forms of the Lord Vishnu.
“We don’t care if Jimi Hendrix albums without cover art featuring Lord Vishnu come in,” said an unnamed official. “But if it uses Lord Vishnu’s image, then of course we won’t allow it. We’ll definitely take action against anything that violates religious sensitivities, whether it’s Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism or Islam. We must respect each other.”
The representative added that any attempts to import the compact disc with the offending cover would be prohibited and that any CDs found in Malaysia that bear the cover art in question would be seized.
The decision follows a controversy at a book fair back in March where sales of a poster of the record’s cover ignited a protest from a Hindu group, resulting in their confiscation.The bookseller has issued an apology.
“There was never any intention to offend any racial or religious segment and for this, we are deeply sorry that the public was exposed to the offensive poster,” said Andrew Yap. “Rest assured that we have taken every measured step to safeguard against this happening again. We will be more diligent in exercising good conscience taking into account cultural and religious sensitivities henceforth.”