Anorak News | Loony Toons

Loony Toons

by | 8th, February 2006

‘NO national UK paper has yet printed the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that have sparked some Muslims into fury.

Publish and be damned may well be the call from some of the Press’s more strident voices, but the suits aren’t risking it.

Why is debatable. Some readers, as papers’ letters pages attest, say the decision not to publish shows the sensitivity of the British press towards Islam and faith in general.

Pragmatic voices posit the view that it’s from fear of losing readers. And then there’s the view that the cartoons are so painfully crass that they don’t deserve our attention.

Writing in the Times, Alan Coren says the cartoons of Muhammad are “so ill-conceived, so ill-drawn and so unfunny”. He’s right. However, he wonders what would have happened had they been any good, had they made us laugh.

Until Mac or some other cartoonist has a bash at eking humour out of Islam, we may never know – today the Times’s artist Peter Brookes produces a still entitled “CARTOON WARS ESCALATE”, featuring a pug-faced Gordon Brown drawing pictures of the divine Tony Blair, halo and all.

But while Blairites scream for blood, vowing to behead Brookes, and torch any and every shop and newspaper stand selling the image, the Independent brings news of a British organ that did publish the pictures.

Cardiff University’s student union paper Gair Rhydd – meaning ‘free word’ – has published the image of the Prophet Mohamed as a terrorist.

And it has not gone down well. The union has recalled most of the 8,000 copies. The Indy says about 200 copies are likely to still be at large.

Omar Arabi, the chairman of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies, has called for calm.

The Times hears Ashgar Ali, the chairman of the local mosque, says: “You can’t play with someone’s religion. The Muslim students at the university are going to be upset. Pulling it as soon as possible was the right thing to do.”

Some Muslim scholars might be upset. Some might not be. Others, being young and curious, might have bought a copy to see what all the fuss was about.

And what a fuss! The editor and three journalists have been suspended. There’s an investigation underway. A spokesperson for the NUS says the union “very much regrets any upset caused by the publication of the cartoon”.

It’s all just so dramatic. It’s almost laughable…’

Posted: 8th, February 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink