Political Cartoons, No Laughing Matter
Posted by iusbvision on February 18, 2006
There has been a firestorm recently over 12 cartoons sparking violent demonstrations across the world. Islamic tradition bans the depiction of Muhammad or Allah, even in political cartoons. The cartoons include one of Muhammad as an insane, knife-wielding Bedouin and another has him in Heaven declaring to suicide bombers: “Stop. Stop. We have run out of virgins!” – poking fun at the belief of some radical Muslim extremists that male suicide bombers will be rewarded in Heaven with 72 virgins.
The cartoons not only have incited protests, but warnings of economic boycotts and even violent retaliation. The EU is backing the Danish, Norwegian, and French newspapers running the cartoons under the cause of free speech. The EU has also warned that any boycotts would violate World Trade Organization rules.
Two newspaper editors have been fired in France and Jordan for running the cartoons. However, some want more brutal punishment. According to Reuters, one preacher at Al Omari mosque in Gaza told worshipers during a Friday prayer, “We will not accept less than severing the heads of those responsible”. Other demonstrators only wanted the artists to have their hands amputated.
As printed in the N.Y. Times “The State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, reading the government’s statement on the controversy, said, ‘Anti-Muslim images are as unacceptable as anti-Semitic images,’ which are routinely published in the Arab press, ‘as anti-Christian images, or any other religious belief’.”
Perhaps fences can be mended by the newest political cartoon in which Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy figures are shown sitting on a cloud, with the caption “Don’t worry Muhammad; we’ve all been caricatured here.”