We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Most of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Muslim-Bashing and the Power of Cartoons

by William Hughes Sunday, Feb. 05, 2006 at 7:58 PM
liamhughes@comcast.net

Back in the late 19th century, the political cartoonist, Thomas Nast, in NYC’s “Harper’s Weekly,” viciously attacked Catholics, the Irish and the Vatican. He crossed the line with those caricatures. The same can be said about the Danish authors of the 12 cartoons vilifying the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the revered founder of Islam. The demonizing was, in effect, an attack on all of the Muslim faithful. The parties responsible should offer an apology.

    Muslim-Bashing a...
o_believers.jpg, image/jpeg, 640x480

Shame on the European newspapers for publishing grossly disrespectful cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the founder of Islam. One of the original 12 cartoons, which were all first published in a Danish tabloid, in Sept., 2005, showed him wearing a turban shaped like a bomb with a burning fuse. Some of the offensive cartoons were then reprinted in other newspapers in European countries. (1) How would Christians like it, if someone showed Jesus, the "Prince of Peace," with an H-bomb in one of his hands? Or, how about a cartoon with the Jewish G-d, Yahweh, depicted with Uzi machine guns coming out of his yarmulke? Or, what about the Buddha being displayed in a drawing as sitting on park bench puffing away on a cigar made of anthrax? I don't think those kinds of insulting images would ever see the light of day in any establishment-owned publication in the U.S. - even one controlled by the Evil Media Empire of Rupert Murdock!

Did the Danish and other European newspapers have a "right" to publish/reprint the provocative cartoons in question? Yes, they did. But, it was in the worst kind of taste for them to do so. And, by doing it, they abused their right of free expression. The parties responsible should offer sincere apologies to those, whose feelings they have so cavalierly offended.

What was the point of these galling Muslim-bashing images anyway? I think it was an attempt to demonize all Muslims-to dehumanize them. It was a political statement by the creators/editors of the disputed cartoons. They wanted their viewers to believe that "all" Muslims are violent and that all Muslims are violence prone. The cartoons were an invitation for their readers to hate Muslims! Is that what the owners of those newspapers really wanted? I hope not! It is one thing for a political cartoon to demonize the still missing-in-action Osama bin Laden. (2) He's fair game as are the other al-Qaeda firebrands. It is quite another thing, however, to hold up to ridicule the revered founder of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The public distortion of his image brings a whole people, one billion faithful followers, into disrepute.

Now, having said all of the above, I also think it's wrong for anyone insulted by the cartoons in controversy, to take revenge, especially on any innocent third party. This would be like a Canadian getting back at an American for something crass that was written by that repulsive Neocon, Jonah Goldberg. It was Goldberg who suggested, in 2002, that the U.S. should "bomb Canada," because it wasn't blood thirsty enough to suit his need for mayhem. Also, in 2003, he called the French "liars." Goldberg's stupid comments were protected by the First Amendment. That didn't mean they were the right things for him to write; nor, did it signal that Americans should be blamed for his ignorance.

I think it's unfair for a cartoonist, or a political pundit, to demonize an entire class, or group, of people. This is going on today with respect to how elements of the U.S. media are negatively portraying the Hamas organization in Israeli-Occupied Palestine. If you don't believe me, just read any of the recent scurrilous editorials from the Murdock-owned NY Post. I can't forget, too, how another Neocon ranter, Mona Charen, viciously labeled those who protested in Washington, D.C., against any war with Iraq as supporting "Islamo fascist and their enablers." (3) As far as I know, Charen has never heard a shot fired in Iraq, nor has she bothered to visit the U.S. wounded at Walter Reed Hospital.

Political cartooning in the U.S. can trace its lineage to colonial days. Rarely, if ever, did a cartoonist dare to go after an organized religion. There were exceptions. One of the favorite targets of the lampooners back then was, naturally, the British tyrant, George III, head of both the Church of England and the State. He took a beating from the patriots of old. The Sons of Liberty had a field day pulverizing the image/icon of the British monarch. On July 6, 1776, they destroyed his statue in NYC. (4)

The man in the U.S., however, who put his name on the craft of political cartooning, as we know it today, was the legendary Thomas Nast-a German by birth. (5) His repeated attacks, in the late 19th century, on NYC's "Boss" William Marcy Tweed, and his Tammany Hall-related rackets, led to the downfall of the once mighty politico. Nast, however, had a darker side. He despised Roman Catholics, particularly the Irish, many of whom were recent immigrants to America. He regularly depicted them as brutal, Simian-like creatures, (6) controlled by their local priests, who in turn were nothing more than puppets for Nast's arch villain - the Rome, Italy-based Vatican. (7) Nast was very good at what he did, but his anti-Catholic, anti-Irish legacy, is hard to overlook or to forgive. He was a demonizer of an entire class of people and that kind of cartooning, thankfully, wouldn't pass muster in today's America. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for what's going on in Denmark, et al.

All of this brings me to the late Herb Block. He was a very talented cartoonist for the "Washington Post" for many years. He took a mostly liberal position on domestic issues, but he had a Global Cop point of view about America in the world. Block's cartoons reveal that he was a crafty warmonger at heart, even before Pearl Harbor. He did everything that he could in the '30s to get the U.S. involved in a European conflict. Americans who wanted to stay out of any such conflict were tagged, "isolationists," by Block in his demeaning cartoons. When the horrific war finally did start on Dec. 7, 1941, he failed to join the military, but waited until 1943, to be drafted in the U.S. Army. Even then, he didn't rush to serve on the front lines against the Fascists in Europe. Instead, he was content to leave the fighting to others, while he produced and edited a "clip sheet" for the Army's newspapers. (8) From time to time, after WWII, Block also used his caustic pen to reduce to a caricature entire ethnic groups, like the Arabs.

Another thing I think is interesting about the body of Block's work, is this: Who he didn't satirize! Where were his cartoons on the excesses of the Zionists? In the Middle East, the late Palestinian chief, Yassar Arafat was one of his favorite targets for abuse, but never an Israeli leader! Block was an expert at his craft, but he was also very selective about whom he lampooned. And, anytime somebody is around in that kind of influential editorializing field for over 50 years, like he was, it means that he or she was sucking up to the wire pullers behind the scene. (9)

For a wider perspective on the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), it is worth knowing that, in the Holy Qur'an, this mystical-oriented man, who was also a teacher, statesman, poet, judge and warrior, honored both Jesus and the Jews, too, because they were a prophetic people. According to the noted scholar, Adolf Von Harnack, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), may have been influenced earlier in his mission by the teachings of Gnostic Judaeo-Christian sects that had flourished in Arabia a century before his birth. In any event, may the day come, when all the great religions of the world, wake up to the deeper meanings that are found in their creeds and to the oneness in spirit of Humankind. Hopefully, that needed awakening will unite us all, before we rip ourselves apart and destroy our planet. (10)

Notes:

1. //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Drawings
2. Osama bin Laden is the mystery man of our times. The CIA operatives knew him intimately. The idea that he is now living in a cave somewhere in Afghanistan and directing a worldwide terrorist network, using the mother of all cell phones, may be part of the growing fake history of recent years, like, e.g., our fearless leader George W. Bush's search for the fanciful WMD in Iraq! Who really knows the truth? (See, "Ghost Wars," by Steve Coll, for more details on the shadowy bin Laden, the CIA, and those foreign spooks, too.)
3. "Baltimore Sun," Feb. 24, 2003.
4. "Liberty and Freedom," by David Hackett Fischer.
5. http://cartoons.osu.edu/nast/text/bio.htm
6. http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/ellis-island/rum-day.jpg
7. http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/ellis-island/nast-anticatholic.jpg
8. http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/swann/herblock/about.html
9. This is sort of ironic. It was Ken Adelman, another "Washington Post" genius, who insisted, on 02/13/02, that any U.S. war in Iraq was going to be "a cakewalk." Naturally, like his fellow Chickenhawks, Goldberg and Charen, he has declined to volunteer to serve in the U.S. military, in Iraq. (See, http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A1996-2002Feb12?language=printer).
10. Karen Armstrong's "Islam: A Short History."

© William Hughes 2006.

William Hughes is the author of “Saying ‘’No’ to the War Party” (IUniverse, Inc.). He can be reached at liamhughes@comcast.net.
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 52 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Australians have received their orders: iranianrapedgirl Monday, Feb. 06, 2006 at 2:17 PM
And Christians were called intolerant when they complained Daisy Monday, Feb. 06, 2006 at 2:40 PM
Insane Video Of Burning Daisy Tuesday, Feb. 07, 2006 at 5:37 PM
Chill johnk Wednesday, Feb. 08, 2006 at 1:17 AM
practice what you preach ? Wednesday, Feb. 08, 2006 at 1:42 AM
Let's print a big flag of Israel with a swastika over the star! what's good for the goose... Wednesday, Feb. 08, 2006 at 2:11 AM
IMC Censorship Borg Scorpio Wednesday, Feb. 08, 2006 at 4:31 PM
Reason johnk Wednesday, Feb. 08, 2006 at 8:52 PM
Payback is a B1tch, isn't it? BaBaBooey Thursday, Feb. 09, 2006 at 1:47 PM
But we already had JDL Jews arrested in Los Angeles for planning fire-bombings there! we don't have to wait Friday, Feb. 10, 2006 at 1:42 AM
Fresca payback master Friday, Feb. 10, 2006 at 9:22 AM
Looks like Israel to me! Good riddance! fresca Friday, Feb. 10, 2006 at 9:54 AM
Day 2 fresca Friday, Feb. 10, 2006 at 5:56 PM
Holocaust Cartoons? jk Saturday, Feb. 11, 2006 at 12:54 AM
Or better yet.... BaBaBooey Saturday, Feb. 11, 2006 at 2:15 PM
HAAAAATE, FRESCA, *HAAAAAATE*...!! INHALLLLE THE *HAAAAAATRRRED*...!! YOU HATE MUSSSLIMS! JA VADER Saturday, Feb. 11, 2006 at 8:31 PM
Day 1 Jedi Master Saturday, Feb. 11, 2006 at 8:46 PM
Day 4 fresca Sunday, Feb. 12, 2006 at 2:40 PM
Day 5 fresca Monday, Feb. 13, 2006 at 7:16 PM
Oh, fuck-up fresca! Go look in the other thread and see what a *FFFOOOLLL* I made of you!: JA Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2006 at 10:02 AM
Day 4 Jedi Master Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2006 at 2:32 PM
OH, FRESCA....! YOU GOT SOME SPLAININ' TO DO!!!... *WHERE'S* FRESCA!!??? Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2006 at 2:33 PM
Day 6 fresca Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2006 at 10:15 PM
Day 6 Jedi Master Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2006 at 9:43 AM
We don't even have to wait to see what pro-Israel/Zionist Jews would have done!: JA Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2006 at 12:26 PM
Day 7 fresca Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2006 at 1:30 PM
Day 7 count-up Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2006 at 2:00 PM
Day 8 Day 8: fresca is still a fool. Thursday, Feb. 16, 2006 at 11:30 AM
My, my, my fresca Friday, Feb. 17, 2006 at 12:01 AM
Day 9 Day 9: fresca is still a fool. Friday, Feb. 17, 2006 at 6:22 PM
Day 9 fresca Friday, Feb. 17, 2006 at 6:54 PM
There I go again fresca Friday, Feb. 17, 2006 at 7:04 PM
I missed it What? Friday, Feb. 17, 2006 at 7:06 PM
awwww Islamic Hordes Friday, Feb. 17, 2006 at 7:19 PM
Day 10 fresca Sunday, Feb. 19, 2006 at 7:57 AM
And still fresca Monday, Feb. 20, 2006 at 9:56 AM

Local News

Woolsey Fire: Worst News of 2018? J01 12:18AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 4:03AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 3:58AM

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Presents Night for Hope O30 5:38PM

Marshall Tuck’s racist dog whistle O27 5:01AM

Marshall Tuck’s ethnocentrism contradicts Californian values O27 4:32AM

Contra Costa-Hawkins O25 3:48AM

Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda O12 6:56AM

Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein? O10 9:55PM

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

911 : establishment terror J22 11:18PM

Actor Patrick Kilpatrick Discusses and Signs his New Book Dying for Living J22 10:42PM

The Attack of Corporations and the Rich on the Rest of Society J22 2:36PM

bataclown J22 12:32PM

bataclone J21 8:08PM

VAN ATTACK HOAX J21 7:35PM

Mobile Royale Hack Online Generator - Get Unlimited Crystals J21 3:03PM

Unification, séparation et fragmentation J21 2:48PM

Testing Upload J21 7:10AM

FARCELONA.2 J20 7:18PM

FAKE NEWS POR SOROS J20 6:11PM

Chemtrails and Prince J20 2:43PM

Wages For Housework J20 2:41PM

Tutelle comportementaliste J20 9:18AM

A Mistake: Jesse Jackson-Toyota deal-in Lexington -Ky is .8 billion over 10 years 2018 J20 1:17AM

If Trump Declares a AantionalEmergency, He'll Be Breaking the Law J20 12:47AM

Jesse Jackson's Sneak Attck on Toyota Lexington Ky and it's workers 2018 J19 9:12PM

Video: Chris Herdges in Eugene, 1 hr 24 min J19 5:37PM

FAKE NEWS J19 2:31PM

MACROTHSCHILD.2 J19 11:03AM

Judge Delays Ruling on Puerto Rico Debt Deal White House Opposes Island's Food Assistance J18 6:04PM

BATACLOWNS J18 9:28AM

FALSAS VICTIMAS J18 9:22AM

Paraphysique de proxémie guerrière J18 7:59AM

MACROTHSCHILD J17 9:38PM

FARCELONA 8.17.2017 J17 3:23PM

DEAD MAN LIVING J17 10:46AM

DIARY OF A CON MAN J16 10:40PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy