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November 29, 2015 / 17 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘cartoon’

Mocking Muhammad Is Not Hate Speech

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

To stop Islamist violence over perceived insults to Muhammad, I argued in a FoxNews.com article on Friday [also republished on the JewishPress.com], editors and producers daily should display cartoons of Muhammad “until the Islamists get used to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.”

This appeal prompted a solemn reply from Sheila Musaji of The American Muslim website, who deemed it “irresponsible and beyond the pale.” Why so? Because, as she puts it, “The solution to escalating violence and hate speech is not more hate speech.”

Hate speech, legal authorities agree, involves words directed against a category of persons. Here’s a typical definition, from USLegal.com: “incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and the like.”That sounds sensible enough. But does mocking Muhammad, burning a Koran, or calling Islam a cult constitute hate speech? And what about the respectful representations of Muhammad in the buildings of the U.S. Supreme Court or the New York State Supreme Court? Even they caused upset and rioting.

Attacking the sanctities of a religion, I submit, is quite unlike targeting the faithful of that religion. The former is protected speech, part of the give and take of the market place of ideas, not all of which are pretty. Freedom of speech means the freedom to insult and be obnoxious. So long as it does not include incitement or information that urges criminal action, nastiness is an essential part of our heritage.

On a personal note, I have had to learn to live with torrents of vulgar venom, in speech and in pictures alike, from those who disagree with me; you don’t hear me whining about it. More broadly, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, and other faith communities in the West have learned since the Enlightenment to endure vicious lacerations on their symbols and doctrines.

If proof be needed, recall Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Terrence McNally’s Corpus Christi, Andres Serrano’s Piss Christi, and Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary. Or the avalanche of antisemitic cartoons spewing from Muslims.

For an over-the-top recent example, The Onion humor website published a cartoon under the heading, “No One Murdered Because of This Image.” It shows Moses, Jesus, Ganesha, and Buddha in the clouds, engaged in what the caption delicately understates as “a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity.” As the Onion mock-reportingly but accurately goes on, “Though some members of the Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths were reportedly offended by the image, sources confirmed that upon seeing it, they simply shook their heads, rolled their eyes, and continued on with their day.”

I asked for the cartoons to be published again and again to establish that Islamists must not chip away at the freedom to mock and insult by hiding behind bogus claims of incitement. Name an instance, Ms Musaji, when biting remarks about Muhammad, the Koran, or Islam have led to riots and murders by non-Muslims against Muslims?

I cannot think of a single one.

When attacks on Muslims take place, they occur in response to terrorism by Muslims; that’s no excuse, to be sure, but it does indicate that violence against Muslims has no connection with lampooning Muhammad or desecrating Korans. Muslims need to grow thick skins like everyone else; this is one of the by-products of globalization. The insulation of old is gone for good.

To make matters worse, Islamists tell us Be Careful with Muhammad! and threaten those with the temerity to discuss, draw, or even pretend to draw the prophet of Islam, even as they freely disparage and insult other religions. I can cite many examples of actors, satirists, artists, cartoonists, writers, editors, publishers, ombudsmen, and others openly admitting their intimidation about discussing Islamic topics, a problem even Ms. Musaji herself has acknowledged.

To cool the temperature, Muslims can take two steps: end terrorism and stop the rioting over cartoons and novels. That will cause the antagonism toward Islam built up over the past decade to subside. At that point, I will happily retract my appeal to editors and producers to flaunt offensive cartoons of Muhammad.

Originally published at Foxnews.com on Sept. 24, 2012. See also Danielpipes.org.

Prophet Mohammed Cartoons to Be Published in Paris – Police At Ready

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Just recovering from riots in Yemen, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Iraq, as well as the infamous attack on the US embassy in Libya resulting in the deaths of the ambassador and 3 others, the western world is gearing up for another potential round of violence coming out of Muslim territories as a French satirical magazine promises to publish several Prophet Mohammed cartoons on Wednesday.

According to the French newspaper “Le Monde”, the drawings to be published in “Charlie Hebdo” show Mohammed in “particularly explicit poses”.

The Islamic world, allegedly incensed over the YouTube movie “Innocence of Muslims” mocking Mohammed and casting him in a bad light, lashed out across the world, rioting in over 20 countries in the last month.  In 2005, cartoons of Mohammed published in Denmark and republished throughout the world led to widespread riots and led to the deaths of over 100 people, as well as the torching of churches, embassies, and private property.

French government ministers have decried the magazine’s decision, with Paris police increasing security around their offices.  The paper defended its right to free speech in France.

France is home to Europe’s largest Muslim population. The AFP reports that the senior Muslim cleric at Paris’ biggest mosque has appealed to worshippers to remain calm.

Pity: 11 Non-Racist Iranian ‘Wall Street Downfall’ Festival Finalists Were Excellent

Friday, July 13th, 2012

The First International Wall Street Downfall Cartoon Festival in Tehran, showcasing caricatures from different countries, awarded first prize to an entry depicting three religious Jews praying in front of a Western Wall that’s been transformed into a Wall Street bank.

The festival didn’t get much attention, because it’s July and most anti-Wall Street zealouts and anti-Semites are at the beach. But then the Anti-Defamation League found out about it and it was off to the races, as it well should be.

First, because the cartoon really is nasty, or as Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, put it: “Once again, Iran takes the prize for promoting anti-Semitism. The winning cartoon takes the most sacred site in Judaism and perverts it into a shrine of greed. It is offensive on so many levels.”

He’s right, although I don’t personally believe that anything should be verboten for satire, including, of course, the prophet Muhammad.

Mahmoud Mohammad Tabrizi from Iran won the top prize (5000 euro, a letter of appreciation and the festival’s statue), and Alexi Kostofsky from Ukraine and Farhad Rahim Qara-Maleki from Iran stood the second and the third (4000 euro, a letter of appreciation and the festival’s statue, and 3000 euro, a letter of appreciation and the festival’s statue, respectively).

The 4th to 10th winners each received 500 euro, a letter of appreciation and the festival’s statue. Meantime, all the 70 finalists were granted letters of appreciation.

It’s a crying shame, though, that the Fars news agency, the festival’s co-sponsor, and the judges, couldn’t get over their anti-Semitic impulses, because the rest of the works are fabulous. So I decided to let our readers take a look and appreciate some dirty commie cartoons, in addition to the Nazi one.

Because good art shouldn’t go unwatched…

The ADL reminds us that in 2006, the Iranian government sponsored a Holocaust cartoon contest in which the winning entries used Holocaust images to deride Israel. That one was way nastier.

German Cartoon Riots: Clubs, Bottles, and Stones

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

In an explosion of violence that reflects the growing assertiveness of Salafists in Germany, on May 5th more than 500 radical Muslims attacked German police with bottles clubs, stones and other weapons in the city of Bonn, to protest cartoons they said were “offensive.”

Rather than cracking down on the Muslim extremists, however, German authorities have sought to silence the peaceful critics of multicultural policies that allow the Salafists — who say they are committed to imposing Islamic Sharia law throughout Europe — openly to preach violence and hate.

The clashes erupted when around 30 supporters of a conservative political party, PRO NRW, which is opposed to the further spread of Islam in Germany, participated in a campaign rally ahead of regional elections in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). Some of those participating in the rally, which was held near the Saudi-run King Fahd Academy in the Mehlem district of Bonn, the former capital of West Germany, had been waving banners depicting the Islamic Prophet Mohammad (see photo here), to protest the Islamization of Germany.

The rally swiftly disintegrated into violence (photos here and here) when hundreds of angry Salafists, who are opposed to any depiction of their prophet, began attacking the police, whose job it was to keep the two groups apart.

In the final tally of the melee, 29 police officers were injured, two with serious stab wounds, and more than 100 Salafists were arrested, although most were later released. A 25-year-old German protester of Turkish origin, suspected of having stabbed the two police officers, remained in custody on suspicion of attempted homicide.

According to Bonn’s police chief, Ursula Brohl-Sowa, “This was an explosion of violence such as we have not witnessed in a long time.”

Germany’s intelligence and security agencies say they are closely monitoring the Salafists, who are increasingly viewed as posing a threat to German security.

Salafism, a branch of radical Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia, seeks to establish an Islamic empire (Caliphate) across the Middle East, North Africa, Europe — and eventually the entire world. The Caliphate would be governed exclusively by Islamic Sharia law, which would apply both to Muslims and to non-Muslims. Salafists also believe, among other disconcerting doctrines, that democracies — governments made by men as opposed to theirs, which was made by the almighty — legitimately deserve to be destroyed.

According to German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, “Salafism is currently the most dynamic Islamist movement in Germany as well as internationally. Its fanatic followers represent a particular danger for Germany’s security. The Salafists provide the ideological foundation for those who then turn violent.”

The interior minister of the German state of Lower Saxony, Uwe Schünemann, said, “The violence of the Salafists in Bonn has once again shown what is behind the mask of supposed religiosity: nothing but brute force.” He also said that the violence was “a direct challenge to liberal democracy as a whole.”

The interior minister of Bavaria, Joachim Hermann, said that: “We cannot tolerate violent retribution and revenge. We apply the rule of law, not Islamic vigilante justice.” He added that Salafists should be “brought to justice and severely punished,” and that “We have to monitor the Salafist scene even more. And we have to be more diligent in cracking down on hate and violence. We cannot allow that terrorists and violent criminals are free to operate under our noses. We need to take action against Salafism and its intolerant, fanatical ideology with all legal means.”

Despite these and many other pronouncements, Salafists still have free reign in Germany: Salafist preachers are known regularly to preach hatred against the West in the mosques and prayer centers that are proliferating across the country.

In recent weeks, Salafists have been engaged in an unprecedented nationwide campaign to distribute 25 million copies of the Koran, translated into the German language, with the goal of placing one Koran in every home in Germany, free of charge.

The mass proselytization campaign — called Project “READ!” — is being organized by dozens of Islamic Salafist groups located in cities and towns throughout Germany, as well as in Austria and Switzerland.

According to the German newspaper Die Welt, the Salafists have launched a “frontal assault” against people of other faiths and “unbelievers.” Die Welt has reported that German authorities view the Koran project, which fundamentalists are using a recruiting tool, as a “most worrisome” campaign for radical Islam. Security analysts say the campaign is also a public-relations gimmick intended to persuade Germans that the Salafists are transparent and “citizen friendly.”

A spokesperson for the Berlin branch of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV) told Die Welt that “the objective of this campaign is to help bring those who are interested into contact with the Salafist scene to influence them in the context of extremist political ideologies.”

Cartoon Rehab: It’s Miller Time, Sort Of

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Today’s cartoon is from Al-Watan (Qatar), from way back in May 13, 2003. The U.S. and Israel are shown eating from two sides of an apple that represents “the Arab states.” According to the middle-east-info.org, where we found it, this cartoon is noteworthy because it was published in Qatar, home to the Al Jazeera TV network. Qatar is considered by many in the U.S. State Department to be a U.S. ally and a relatively moderate state.

The first thing I had to do was remove the Israeli hat on the right and make this a contest between two Uncle Sam lookalikes. That took out the anti-Jewish bite, making the cartoon just a depiction of two ugly guys trying to get at something delicious.

Then I tried different objects they could fight over, including all manner of fruit and several different ice cream cones, with and without hot fudge pouring over it. But the beer was clearly the best option, especially since it came with the ready-made Miller’s commercial lines from the 1980s.

Source: middle-east-info.org



Welcome to the Jewish Press Online Cartoon Rehabilitation Project (JPOCRP), or, in short (suggested by our colleague Rafi Harkham) Cartoon Rehab. We collect the most obscene, terrifying, anti-Semitic cartoons from the Arab world, and make them nice. It’s a harsh process, requiring long sessions of Photoshop treatment and a minimum of 90 meetings in 90 days at Antisemitic Anonymous, but in the end it is well worth the effort. Cartoons come in with the obvious effects of the Antisemitism scourge, unshaven, bleary eyed, fangs exposed, noses hooked, and they come out clean and fluffy.

Please send us your own Photoshop efforts in rehabilitating Arab cartoons. We’ll publish those we deem appropriate enough (don’t worry, our standards are not so high). You can also send us wayward cartoons you found lurking online – as long as they come from the Arab world.

We have a special interest in beautifying this region which has so long been suffering from rampant addiction to Antisemitism. Help us do our little bit for Tikun Olam.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words (Part 5)

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006

The last cartoon that came out of the discussion with the well spouse group depicted how society sees the well spouse, or should I say doesn’t see him. The cartoonist aptly titled it, “The Insignificant Other.”

The cartoon shows a well spouse wheeling her husband. He appears to be comfortable. He is smiling and clearly enjoying all the attention he is getting. The placement in the cartoon of the other people indicates that he is the center of attention. The faces around him appear concerned, involved, caring and kind. They are men and women, young and old. The wife is depicted set somewhat apart from the group around her husband*, making her seem invisible – insignificant and detached. She neither smiles nor frowns. At her feet is a young child. The child too is invisible – detached from the group. He is holding on to his mother’s leg. But she cannot pick him up and push the chair. No one seems to even notice he is there. *(In the actual drawing that would not have been reproduced clearly in print in this issue, both the wife and the little child were drawn in broken lines, indicating that they are invisible to the group.)

The support group spent a lot of time talking about this cartoon. They felt it showed a unique perspective from both a child and adult’s point of view. They had all experienced being “invisible” – never being noticed enough to be asked how they were or if they needed anything. They particularly zeroed in on the child. As mothers, this group often worried about their children. What would they know of a normal relationship after growing up in a home where illness offset most husband and wife interaction? How would they relate as fathers to their own children, as their experience with an ill father may have been limited? Were they getting enough attention from their mothers, and could the mothers possibly provide more? One woman noted that the child was walking, as you can’t push a wheelchair and stroller or carry a child and push a chair at the same time. And, as for putting them on the lap of the ill person, many of the chronically ill do not have the strength to hold an infant or a wiggly toddler. Placing a child on their lap could be dangerous to them both.

The group was very impressed with the amount of clarity of emotion the cartoonist had picked up from their meeting. He said he gleaned the information from both what they said and what they hadn’t said. His counselling background helped him read the body language, sighs and innuendos. All of the group members felt that the cartoons truly reflected feelings they had had – and many still had. They were amazed at the insight of the artist and how clearly he captured their feelings in what he had drawn.

Many wanted to show the cartoons to others, in hopes it would help gain more understanding from family and friends. Some felt it was too personal and they would be condemned by those closest to them for feeling this way. They all agreed, however, to allow me to use them in my articles. They hoped it would help give people more insight into what they have to deal with and how they deal with their lives. I thank them for allowing me to share it with you. They insisted on staying anonymous.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words (Part 4)

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

The next two cartoons from the well spouse group I interviewed are almost identical. One seems to me to come from society and one from chronically ill spouses themselves. Perhaps it is the message that society gives us that forms the expectations of an ill spouse. The only one in the pictures, who seems to be objecting to the expectations placed on them, is the well spouse.

I see the box in the cartoon as society’s expectations of well spouses. The role others have decided we should play. Others include, as illustrated in the second cartoon, our ill spouses or perhaps a parent or relative. Anyone who might refer to us as “Dear”. The box, to me, is rigid and inflexible. It does not allow for change. It is being imposed on an unwilling well spouse who is desperately trying to avoid it, even to the point of screaming. The person imposing the box is smiling in one picture. It seems to imply that once s/he is in the box things will be better, at least for those outside the box. The other picture seems to indicate that once you have succeeded in placing the box of expectations on the well spouse, you work very hard at keeping him or her there. The box holder is even jumping on the box in order to keep the well spouse captive.

I spoke to the group about their reaction to the cartoon. Many were surprised to see their feelings illustrated in this way. They were surprised that the cartoonist had picked up on it. Few of them remembered talking about expectations that came outside themselves. Yet, most of them felt it was a very accurate picture of how they felt. They felt trapped in a box of expectations that was not of their making, that they had no say in but could not change. Many of them had been living with ill spouses for more then a decade. They felt the rules needed to be different then in a crisis illness. No crisis lasts 10, 15 or 20 years. Yet here they were, decades later, having the same expectations placed on them as if their spouse had just had his first heart attack after years of exceptional good health. It’s not that those in a crisis have it easier. They just felt that when your life never returns to how it used to be, and you’re always in crisis mode you need to give to yourself. No one else will.

One member of the group saw it a bit differently. She felt the box was self-imposed. They are the rules and behavior we feel are appropriate for ourselves. When I asked her about the look on the faces of well spouses, she told me that it is not something we enter willingly or easily. We may enter it kicking and screaming, but in the end it is we who choose to put the box of expectations on ourselves. To her, the box holder was our conscience, morals and or religious training that helps decide, though not happily, to impose the life we live and the things we do in caring for our loved ones, on ourselves.

Everyone agreed that it was not as much an issue of right and wrong, but more one of what we choose to accept as our role in a terribly challenging situation. The group did feel that if the “box” of societal and personal expectations was not quite so rigid, it would be easier to make changes in care giving that might be beneficial to both the well spouse and the chronically ill. But, most often, any change from the expected norm is dismissed as wrong without even thinking it through. The box is just too big and too hard to break out of.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words-part-4/2006/04/26/

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