The 21st Singapore International Film Festival (SIFF) which started on Apr 4 has lost four documentary films to the local censors with another feature still pending a rating.

Two of them, Arabs And Terrorism and David The Tolhildan, were 'disallowed' on account of their sympathetic portrayal of allegedly terrorist organisations.

'Films which portray terrorist organizations in a positive light by lending support and voice to justify their cause through violence are disallowed under the film classification guidelines,' said Amy Chua, chairman of the Board of Film Censors, according to local newspaper Straits Times.

Commenting on the ban, SIFF festival director Philip Cheah told Screendaily that 'In the early days of silent film, DW Griffith made the epic Intolerance. Now that we have colour and sound, we unfortunately still have intolerance on a more grand epic scale.'

In Arabs And Terrorism, Arab-American director Bassam Haddad talked to hundreds of American policymakers and Middle Eastern political factions as well as conducting street interviews for the opposing view on terrorism.

Mano Khalil's David The Tolhildan follows the son of a former president of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court who gave up his Western lifestyle to join the Kurdish armedindependencemovement PKK.

Also banned were Ryuichi Hiroki's Bakushi which shows kinbaku in action, the Japanese practice of tying up women in elaborate knots before proceeding to S&M stage shows, and A Jihab For Love, a daring documentary by gay Muslim film-maker Parvez Sharma who interviewed openly gay and lesbian Muslims across 12 countries.

Hiner Saleem's Dol - The Valley of Tambourines, which portrays the Turkish-Kurdish conflict at the Iran and Iraq border, has not received a rating yet for its scheduled screening on Tuesday. The film is one of the 12 in competition for the Silver Screen Awards.

While Singapore is aggressively positioning itself as a regional film hub and has recently attracted Japan 's Entertainment Farm to set up a $50m film fund, censorship remains a touchy subject.