Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Controversy Over Muhammad Cartoon-- This Time In South African Paper

A new controversy over a newspaper's publication of a drawing of the Prophet Muhammad has erupted, this time over a cartoon published in the May 21 edition of South Africa's Mail & Guardian. As described by the paper's editor Nic Dawes, the cartoon shows "the Prophet Muhammad reclining on a therapist's couch and saying sadly 'Other prophets' followers have a sense of humour'." (Link to cartoon.) The Mail & Guardian reported last week that as the drawing was appearing, the Council of Muslim Theologians tried unsuccessfully to get a South African court to enjoin its publication. The Council said violent reaction to the cartoon was possible. The court refused to interdict publication because the cartoon was already available in the paper's online edition and at some outlets. The paper's editor defended the cartoon, drawn by Zapiro, as "a contribution to the global debate" about depictions of Muhammad. The award winning Zapiro's cartoons have offended many targets of his drawings. London's Guardian yesterday also reported on the controversy.

UPDATE: On May 28, cartoonist Zapiro responded to the controversy with a new cartoon strip depicting his "tough week." The strip does not contain any depictions of Muhammad. The Mail & Guardian on Thursday released a statement after meeting with members of the Muslim community agreeing to review its editorial policy "in light of the injury caused by the cartoon." During the review period it will not publish any depictions of Muhammad.