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    Saturday, February 11, 2006

    Cartoon Wars Go Local: My town's newspaper has its own resident political cartoonist. He's a rare editorial cartoonist. He takes jabs at both sides. He's in a bit of hot water for publishing this cartoon:

    In addition to several comments on his blog which appear to be written by people who haven't read the cartoon and who are responding as part of an organized campaign or who are willfully obtuse, he's coming under fire from the local CAIR committee:

    Several Northeastern Ohio Muslims and community leaders met Friday to express their concerns about the controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that have ignited outrage and violence.

    At issue are the caricatures published in the European press -- work that many U.S. newspapers decided against publishing. The group also took issue with a cartoon inked by Beacon Journal editorial cartoonist Chip Bok.

    Bok said he did not draw his cartoon with intentions of offending Muslims and has defended his right to free press.

    But Muslims on Friday said Bok's cartoon was disrespectful and demeaning.

    The level of hurt, they said, was deeper since it was in the local paper.

    ``It pained me to know that the Beacon Journal printed its own editorial cartoons that sought to challenge the beauty of our community by bringing hate into its pages,'' said Rabbi David Lipper, of Akron's Temple Israel.

    ...Julia A. Shearson, director of Ohio's Council of American-Islamic Relations, said they want the Beacon Journal to apologize for running the ``unethical'' cartoon and want the paper to publish their letters to the editor.

    And there was nothing "hateful" or "unethical" about that cartoon. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Here it should be noted that not one of the critics seems to be able to explain what it is that makes this cartoon hateful and unethical. They should be held to a higher standard than just name calling if they're going to demand retractions and apologies. Especially since they present themselves as community leaders.

    It's pretty clear that the object of Bok's ridicule was CNN, not Islam, and not Islam's respected prophet. So now our community leaders are linking hands with CAIR to demand that people not criticize the media? It should be interesting to see how the paper responds tomorrow in its editorial pages. (They don't run editorials on Saturdays.)

    But the most disappointing aspect of the whole ginned up controversy is the intellecutally lazy acquiescence of religious leaders of all faiths from the region. A rabbi is quoted in the newspaper. On Bok's blog, many of the irate commentors describe themselves as mainline Protestant leaders who are saddened that their "long years of hard work" have been ruined by this cartoon. (They all use the same phrase, coincidentally.) We expect hyperbole from activist interest groups like CAIR, but it's a sad day when men and women who pride themselves in reason and understanding let themselves be used like this to promote hatred and intolerance.

    UPDATE: In the comments, a request for an address to send support to cartoonist Bok. The letters-to-the-editor email address is vop@thebeaconjournal.com. To be considered for publication, they request your name, address, and phone number. You can send words of support directly to Bok at his blog.

    UPDATE II: The Beacon Journal strikes the right note with their editorial today:

    Islamic extremists, the likes of Osama bin Laden or those who have stormed Danish embassies in recent days, seek a clash of civilizations. That has been evident again in the violent reaction to cartoons depicting Muhammad published first in Denmark (last fall) and elsewhere of late. The question arises: They deploy suicide bombers yet find offense in a collection of drawings?

    The New York Times added another layer of depth, reporting this past week the efforts of Arab governments to fuel the protests. The governments hoped to exploit the moment by warning that this is the democracy George Bush has in mind. They hoped to undercut the appeal of the West in their countries, bolstering their own position by stealing thunder from the message of extremists.

    ....Those who have performed most admirably have sought to enlighten. The task can be accomplished in many ways, including satire, the tool of the cartoonist. The object should be to build understanding of cultural differences, a deepening respect, if not agreement.

    Few people require a reminder of how small the world has become, images and all beamed instantly from continent to continent. The acceleration invites friction. The result need not be a destructive clash, events driven by extremists. Thus, a cautiously hopeful note: The violence has brought into sharp relief the value of reasoning together, the difficult yet indispensable job of sharing differences.

    UPDATE III: Tim Blair manages to make a connection to another famous protest in these parts.

    posted by Sydney on 2/11/2006 01:54:00 PM 12 comments


    As a Jew I'm powerfully embarrassed by some of my co-religionists over this matter. There are a number of choice yiddish words to describe them.


    By Blogger Flea, at 6:50 PM  

    Great point, do you have an address if we want to send our support? Thanks.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:11 PM  

    I agree with the earlier poster - as a Jew I am embarrassed and disappointed that a rabbi had so little grasp of what was going on here and chose instead to resort to insipid platitudes.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:02 AM  

    My response may come off as cold or hard, but it is reality. Again; listen up people. This democracy of ours is a "Majority rule" system. Not everyone should expect it all to go their way. Those who don't find "our" ways suitable to them can go back to the country that they fled, and establish themselves anew in that land. Any newspaper, any cartoonist, any writer who apologizes to these Baby bombing maniacs is a true coward! Yes if you kowtow to these Islamofascist wackos, you are a COWARD! Any politician calaiming to represent me, that bows to them is not my representative. Folks these acts of theirs are meant to Terrorize you. If they are able to do it, just stay on the tit and keep yer head down.
    A few of us, very few, still have the American Spine and will do what we feel like doing. My online design shop will have more designs coming out to complement the ones that I have already. These wackos bomb babies! They blow up members of their own religion, and THEY are upset about a damned cartoon? In fact, the 3 most inflamatory ones weren't even relative to this one danish cartoonists works of a year ago. But we've been over that.
    Today, I am wearing a "77 Virgins" design and seeking ragheads to upset. And I just donated to the equipment fund for the American Sniper.
    nuf sed

    By Blogger "Frankly Opinionated", at 8:52 AM  

    "Frankly opinionated" may have been a tad bit tired and cranky, or had a few too many beers. Let's try to keep the comments civil, folks, and not veer off into hatred and intolerance ourselves.

    By Blogger sydney, at 11:21 AM  

    Islamic Fascists tactics like these should not be tolerated. They have NO right to limit free speech. They have bullied the peoples of the world long enough. They bomb, loot and torture around the globe and we should be sensitive to their sensibilities. Nonsense! We need a mass protest against Islamic Fascism. We need to say enough is enough!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:53 AM  

    It is a shame that people can't accurately assess the truth of the humor being used. The target was CNN's policy. Muslim leaders who are deeply hurt by the content should also express how deeply they are hurt by the damage violent Muslims have brought on their own prophet. Ministers who say they lost years can't possibly be serious. Why would all leaders lump them in with all of Western culture? Unless they are guilty of the very thing they accuse the cartoonists are doing... considering every western as a thoughtless infidel. Perhaps they still only feel you are a thoughtful infidel.

    By Anonymous Mark, at 12:36 PM  

    Thanks for the courage and never stop.
    mohammed does'nt rule here.
    God bless America.

    By Anonymous Eraldo, at 12:43 PM  

    Our paper caved in years ago when it met with CAIR to discuss coverage. It's been very politically correct since them.

    They did not print the cartoons and had a CAIR-approved roundtable to echo CAIR's line. http://ocregister.com/ocregister/news/homepage/article_993102.php

    By Blogger PatCA, at 3:48 PM  

    The only hate I can discern in the Battle of Bok's cartoons is in the response from CAIR and the local Muslim community. A cartoon lampooning a televised news article showing a pixilated version of another cartoon published 5 months before, really...

    By Blogger Tresho, at 9:23 AM  

    As another Jew, I too am collosally disappointed with the rabbi who sided with those fanatics. Even in Australia, I discovered that there was one who'd taken the side of the Islamofascist gangs who went and vandalized in the Sydney suburbs, completely oblivious to the fact that the "rioters" at Cronulla were acting in response to years of abuse and harrassment by the gangs (and also a violent assault the Muslim gangs committed against three lifeguards), some of whom had also committed rape against local women. That made me sick, because it's quite likely that the Muslim gangs there may have terrorized Sydney's Jewish residents too.

    By Blogger Avi Green, at 1:09 PM  

    Cool picture of zoroastrianism

    By Blogger Brian O'mally, at 6:20 PM  

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