Cartoon Madness Continues Unabated

Cleric: $1 Million to Kill Cartoonist

In the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar, prayer leader Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi announced the bounty for killing a cartoonist to about 1,000 people outside the Mohabat Khan mosque.

Qureshi said the mosque and his religious school would give $25,000 and a car, while a local jewelers' association would give another $1 million. No representative of the association was available to confirm it had made the offer.

"This is a unanimous decision by all imams (prayer leaders) of Islam that whoever insults the prophet deserves to be killed and whoever will take this insulting man to his end, will get this prize," Qureshi said.

Qureshi did not name any cartoonist in his announcement. He did not appear aware that 12 different people had drawn the pictures.
Yeesh. Just yeesh.

Meanwhile, in response to Iran’s call for anti-Semitic Holocaust cartoons, an Israeli graphic artist and comic publisher, Amitai Sandy, has announced an anti-Semitic cartoon contest of his own, in which only Jews can participate. Yesterday, I heard Sandy interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air—just fantastic. (You can listen to it here.) He talks about how the ability to lampoon oneself is tied to self-confidence, and it's quite compelling. I also loved his reason for why he wouldn't have published the Danish cartoons—not because they shouldn't have been published, free speech and all that; they just weren't funny.

He also gives some examples of the cartoons which have been submitted already, my favorite (as it were) of which is: Two guys at a used car lot. The Jewish buyer asks the salesman how many Jews can fit in the car they're looking at. The salesman tells him, "Oh—lots. You can fit two in the front and three in the back and six million in the ashtray." Beat that, Iran.

I love this contest. There's just such a brilliant bravado about it; it's the best response imaginable.

(And, weirdly, has a bit of a tie-in with Toast's QotD yesterday. Sometimes, the politics of entertainment is ugly...but turned on its head, the same joke can suddenly take on a whole different political meaning. Irony can often make for the best political statements.)

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