Iranian Paper Launches Holocaust Cartoon Competition
Iran’s Hamshahri newspaper is holding a contest for twelve cartoons denying the Holocaust as a protest on the Mohammad cartoons published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and subsquently reprinted around the world.
IRAN’S largest selling newspaper announced today it was holding a contest on cartoons of the Holocaust in response to the publishing in European papers of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. “It will be an international cartoon contest about the Holocaust,” said Farid Mortazavi, the graphics editor for Hamshahri newspaper – which is published by Teheran’s conservative municipality. He said the plan was to turn the tables on the assertion that newspapers can print offensive material in the name of freedom of expression. “The Western papers printed these sacrilegious cartoons on the pretext of freedom of expression, so let’s see if they mean what they say and also print these Holocaust cartoons,” he said.
Iran’s fiercely anti-Israeli regime is supportive of so-called Holocaust revisionist historians, who maintain the systematic slaughter by the Nazis of mainland Europe’s Jews as well as other groups during World War II has been either invented or exaggerated. Iran’s hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prompted international anger when he dismissed the systematic slaughter by the Nazis of mainland Europe’s Jews as a “myth” used to justify the creation of Israel.
Mr Mortazavi said tomorrow’s edition of the paper will invite cartoonists to enter the competition, with “private individuals” offering gold coins to the best 12 artists – the same number of cartoons that appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.
As with various anti-Christian satires that we have seen over the years and the Anne Frank in bed with Hitler cartoon, this will likely spark zero riots, zero embassy burnings, and zero murders.
Meanwhile, another Muslim cleric has called for killing anyone associated with the Danish cartoons:
Muslim cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, banned from Britain for his radical views, has called for capital punishment for cartoonists who dare depict the Prophet Muhammad. Speaking to BBC radio from Lebanon on Monday, where he now lives, Bakri claimed “everybody” now acknowledged that cartoons of the prophet which first appeared in a Danish newspaper in September were insulting. “In Islam, God said, and the messenger Muhammad said, whoever insults a prophet, he must be punished and executed,” he added. “This man (the cartoonist) should be put on trial and … executed” if proven guilty.
In an apparent reference to Denmark, where the government has defended the cartoons on freedom-of-speech grounds, Bakri also said that if nations fail to put people on trial for insulting Muhammad, they must “face the consequences”.
Meanwhile, Western Europe is coping with the need to balance the right to protest with public safety:
London police were under pressure to arrest Muslim protesters who carried signs threatening death and terrorist attacks at a demonstration over cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. Scotland Yard received more than 100 complaints after Friday’s protest outside the Danish Embassy, the UK’s Press Association reported. Police said they would study video of the demonstrators taken by specialist officers, The Sun newspaper reported, and a police spokeswoman told PA that any arrests would be made “at the appropriate time.”
Conservative opposition spokesman David Davis said slogans such as “Massacre those who insult Islam” and “Europe you will pay, your 9/11 will come” amounted to incitement to murder and that police should take a “no tolerance” approach to them.
On Monday British PM Tony Blair criticized the behavior of the demonstrators as “completely unacceptable.” He also condemned attacks on European interests. Blair said he spoke Monday morning with Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Denmark, where the cartoons were first published, to offer Britain’s full support and say that they stand together in solidarity. “The attacks on the citizens of Denmark and people of the European community were completely unacceptable, as is the behavior of some of the demonstrators in London over the past few days,” Blair said in a statement read by his spokesman.
A range of British Muslim organizations condemned the London protest, including the moderate Muslim Council of Britain to the more radical Hizb-ut-Tahrir, which Prime Minister Blair wants to outlaw because of claims it supports terrorism. “While strongly condemning the publication of these caricatures, we also unequivocally condemn those who are urging violent protests or inciting hatred against others,” Hizb-ut-Tahrir spokesman Imran Waheed told PA.
Unfortunately, reasonable voices are unlikely to prevail in the near future.
See all of the images in full size at my Danish Muslim Cartoons page.
Related stories below the fold.
Danish Muslim Cartoon Protests Kill Six
Dutch Muslim Cartoon: Anne Frank and Hitler in Bed
Danish Muslim Cartoon Controversy in Context
Danish Embassy in Syria Torched over Muslim Cartoons
Danish Muslim Cartoons ‘Offensive,’ Says U.S. Government
Muslim Day of Anger to Respond to Cartoons
French Editor Fired Over Muhammad Drawings
French and German Papers Republish Danish Cartoons
Danish Newspaper Apologizes for Muslim Cartoons