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:

Photo Protestors call for beheading those who drew Danish Muslim cartoons 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.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Herb says:

    One can only conclude that the Muslim faith is sick and uncivilized. They have, though, convinced many nations that Islam is a “peaceful Religon”. Their sickness is beginning to wear thin and it’s only a matter of time until the civilized world will offer no more tollerance for their degenerated behavior and send many, many of them to meet their 72 virgins.

  2. mal says:

    This has nothing to do with hypocrisy, The Muslims think of the christians, jews etc. as dogs, the muslims are the masters. For hypocrisy you need two side on about equal footing.It amazes me how ill informed the west is of the Arabs/muslims. They bring their Park ave values to the situation. They assume everyone thinks like them.

  3. LJD says:

    I’m not willing to make generalizations about the Muslim faith, or what ‘they think’. Not anymore than I think or feel the same as any other Christian.

    I would like to see more condemnation of violence from Islamic clergy. If their culture is so easily offended, I would like to see their reaction directed towards the offender, not the most accessible place to burn.

    I’m not holding my breath though. It is unfortunate that part of a culture can be so sheltered, and can so easily cultivate misdirected hatred in their people. It is really unfortunate if a ‘holy war’ were to originate in cultural misunderstanding- on their part as much or more than ours.

    For the officials and clergy who support, or even fail to condemn the violence: an objective press. Let’s reveal the true motives here, and stop pussy-footing around. If they support terror, stand up and admit it, then suffer the consequences.

    For the ‘protestors’ that would destroy property: tear gas and water cannons.

    For the truly violent: To die the death of a scoundrel.

  4. Mark says:

    I have an idea for one. How about a picture of Hitler apologizing to the Jews, telling them that he was sorry and he now realizes that he should have tried to exterminate the Muslims instead. Now, let’s see if Farid Mortazavi prints that one!

    Something tells me if someone submitted that, he would suddenly find he is against freedom of expression once again.

  5. Randall says:

    I hope the Iranian police are prepared for the massive and violent demonstrations by Iran’s large and growing Jewish population who have fled the squalor of the West for opportunities in the East and who publicly mock the culture that has welcomed them in. Hopefully the posters that will appear in downtown Tehran proclaiming “You’re 9/11 is coming!” won’t hurt too many feelings.

    Also, they’d better beef up security at their embasssies in the West. Maybe Iranians should be evacuated from Israel.

    I would NOT want to be an Iranian in Europe whent the full fury of the Jewish community is unleashed by these cartoons. No sireee Bob.

  6. legion says:

    Well, some part of the West pissed them off with some political cartoons. Now an Islamic paper is going to put out cartoons to piss off Westerners. It’s a bit juvenile, but it may actually be a promising step towards civility, no? It might even be somewhat… American of them.

    Now I wanna see Ahmadinejad and Bibi Netanyahu play the Dozens…

  7. BWE says:

    People get caught up in taking themselves too seriously. Religion is inherently dangerous. Especially when it is coupled with a lack of education. The more black and white an issue looks, the narrower the viewers eyesight usually is. These guys just plain feel under attack. They don’t have sophisticated understanding- especially in sciences, and they feel like we’re out to get them. And, at least in most cases, they are right. It’s like going up to the cop to prove you’re tough and saying “Hey! Take your badge off. You’re queer!” and then when the cop smacks you with his billy club, you are suddenly persecuted. Of course it’s also like the cop is taking your house away first and telling you its in the middle of a proposed freeway.

  8. the paperboy says:

    I think Ahamadinejad might be on his way to becoming a pacifist, responding to this crisis with a non-violent cartoon contest!

    Really, the whole thing just shows how the Muslims will use any convenient excuse, even a few innocent cartoons, as a reason to incite violence and riots. It also shows a lack of imagination, or an unwillingness to see how idiotic their violent response is from our perspective. Which was the point of the Danish cartoon contest to start with. That they can’t get past a violent response to even the perception that they might have been insulted, without ever having actually seen the cartoons. Or that they can’t rise above it, or be any more imaginative than a juvinile tit-for-tit “I’ll have my own contest, bleah!” response.

  9. G A PHILLIPS says:

    Why dude, true muslims are taught from birth to hate us by their wonderful, noble, and peaceful faith.I know that cartoons have nothing to with their hate, so why don’t you? And if you don’t believe in holy wars you better start because your in one, arrrrrrrrgh. How bout’ cartoons on Iran’s holocaust? it is coming soon. Seems they have no idea how close they are to getting themselves wiped off the map. this is not Jimmy(peanutbrain)Carter’s America any more!

  10. Flor says:

    Hi babe …fighting with discourse.

  11. Arab hater says:

    I would like ot say that arab nations are like SAVAGES!! holding signs that say behead those that insult islam come on now it was a harmless cartoon they all need to look in the mirror and see who the real infadels are them!!!!!!!!