South Africa – another toon, another tantrum

The South African Globe and Mail was today beset by tiresome, bullshit-believing cretins with an inflated sense of self-importance. Resident cartoonist, Zapiro, had drawn a cartoon, and the newspaper had published it:

Before publication, the The Council of Muslim Theologians had gone to court in an attempt to block it, but they were turned down.

Ihsan Hendricks, the Council’s president, has no sense of irony:

It seems to be provocative in many ways on the very eve of the World Cup in South Africa, when we need peaceful co-existence and co-operation amongst religious communities in South Africa. What is behind this agenda?

Having kicked up the stink in the first place, Hendricks is now putting on a display of diplomacy:

We have called for calm in the Muslim community.

The Muslim community, however, have other ideas. The newspaper has been receiving threatening phone calls all day. Zapiro himself, whose real name is Jonathan Shapiro, got one from someone called Mohammed: “Which Mohammed is that?” he asked, before the caller became abusive.

Asked about the offence his cartoon caused to Muslims, Zapiro replied:

They should get over it.

Hear bloody hear.

I don’t regret doing the drawing. It was one of the safest of its kind. It poses the question and it has some empathy with those Muslims who feel others are too fanatical. If we can’t express opinions in a democratic society, we really are in trouble.

His editor, Nic Dawes, is standing behind the decision to publish:

In my view no cartoon is as insulting to Islam as the assumption that Muslims are incapable of reacting to a challenging image with anything but violence. I know that Muslims share our constitutional values, and are capable of having the most robust, angry and painful conversations in rigorous and peaceful fashion

The Guardian’s report of this story is helpfully illustrated with a photo of demonstrators in Pakistan. Wouldn’t the cartoon itself been a bit more useful?

UPDATE: (25 May) The Mail & Guardian set an example for the rest of the world’s press by insisting that there will be no apology for publishing the above cartoon.

5 Responses to “South Africa – another toon, another tantrum”

  1. I don’t believe in deliberately setting out to insult someone’s beliefs, just for the hell of it. What’s the point? But the point in this case is that they want the freer West to desist from depicting a historical figure, who is as much ours as anyone else’s to do what the hell we like with: paint him, draw him, sculpt him, make a toilet bowl out of him. If they really had confidence in their religion, wouldn’t they see it as big enough to withstand any perceived insults? I think that’s the attitude of many Christians when their big man is ridiculed.

  2. Duncan Hill says:

    I think this website is becoming more and more obsessed with knocking Islam every day.

    At this rate, I expect it to pretty much directly forward to the BNP website next year.

  3. Monitor says:

    Oh, fuck off Duncan Hill.

  4. Simon says:

    I would imagine that the Grauniad didn’t publish the cartoon because they don’t want any of their staff to get murdered. which could be seen to be a useful approach for their staff.

  5. marvin says:

    Hugo Rifkind must think you are an “awful” person for reproducing a cartoon of Mohammed.