Saturday, September 22, 2007

In the Name of God: Islamists Spearheaded Violence over Cartoon in Bangladesh

Hundreds of Islamic hardliners including activists of Hizbut Tahrir, Islami Oikya Andolon, Chhatra Mukti Andolon, and Islami Shasantantra Andolon descended to the streets and later resorted to violence and arson to protest the publication of a cartoon that allegedly made fun of Mohammed, in a vernacular daily . The protesters said this was a deliberate attempt by the cartoonist and the news paper to ridicule Prophet Mohammad. The cartoon appeared on Sept 17 issue of Prothom Alo’s magazine Aalpin. It was titled "Naam” (Name)” which made a childish and harmless (not outrageous at all) fun of the naming custom in the Muslim countries. Even though, the Newspaper editor apologized on the same day for the inadvertent publication of the cartoon and urged to 'forgive the mistake', violence erupted in the National capital on September 21. Clerics have called for the cartoonist (who is in police custody right now) to be punished and the news paper office to be closed. Copies of the newspaper have been burned outside mosques in Dhaka. Defying emergency rule that prohibits protest and rally of any kind, angry protesters attempted to storm the offices of the news paper. However, one could read and see the cartoon to ascertain whether the cartoon (the text included) is blasphemous or the mindless violence and burning in the name of Prophet.

The cartoon has these texts (read it as conversation between a boy and elderly cleric):
Boy, what’s your name? My name is Abu.
It is customary to put Mohammed in front of the name.
What is your father’s name? Mohammed Abu.
What is that on your lap? Mohammed cat.
And the burning of newspapers that followed.

September 21, 2007 04

No comments: