Iran Ups the Ante With Holocaust Cartoon Contest

Posted on February 8, 2006

The Islamic fury over the Mohammed cartoons continues into midweek with more violent protests in the Middle Eastern countries. Several people were killed today in protests in Afghanistan. Adding fuel to the fire, a French weekly newspaper called Charlie Hebdo reprinted the cartoons then -- just for good measure -- added a new one, according to a Reuters news story.
The French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo reprinted cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad on Wednesday and published one of its own, further angering Muslim groups.

The weekly's front page carried the new cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammad burying his face in his hands and saying: "It's hard to be loved by fools." President Jacques Chirac condemned "overt provocations" which could enflame passions. "Anything that can hurt the convictions of someone else, in particular religious convictions, should be avoided," Chirac said.

Moderate Muslims, while condemning the cartoons, have expressed fears that radicals are hijacking the debate over the boundary between media freedom and religious respect.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that the boycotts of Danish products continue, and in Palestine there are threats to kidnap Westerners.
In countries including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, Muslims are boycotting Danish goods, and, in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian militants threatened to kidnap Westerners if governments don't apologize for the actions of newspapers in their countries. Iran cut trade relations with Denmark when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Feb. 4 issued a decree calling on the Trade Ministry to terminate economic agreements with all Western countries where the cartoons were published.
But the Award for the Most Disgusting Yet Juvenile Response to the Cartoons by an Official Government Agency clearly goes to Iran. The daily Hamshahri, one of Iran's five biggest newspapers, is running a contest asking for cartoons ridiculing the Holocaust. The Iranian government supports the contest (the municipal government owns the newspaper in question.)

Last night on The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert revealed that the Muslims had been "Punk'd"; he then proceeded to do a standup routine showing how "one man's joke is another man's jihad."

What the protestors don't seem to realize is that the more out of control and violent the protests, the more difficult it's going to be for mainstream newspapers and TV shows to explain the story without showing the cartoons themselves.