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Jew or Sikh cartoons

Reader comment on item: Cartoons and Islamic Imperialism

Submitted by Arif Raja (United Kingdom), Feb 8, 2006 at 07:07

We note that the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad was not a piece of art, a painting of beauty but an attack and insult to his integrity by depicting him, and therefore his followers, as terrorists. Although in Islam all depictions of Prophet Muhammad (s) are forbidden, this particular case has caused more insult and offence by demonising the Prophet (s) and by implication his followers i.e. Muslims, as terrorists.

We ask, would depiction of a stereotypical Jew as a money hungry cheating banker be an acceptable form of freedom of speech? Would depictions that imply that Sikhs are rapists be an example freedom of speech? Such expressions of ‘freedom of speech' were tolerated in Hitler's Germany to demonise a community to the rest of the nation, making normal people capable of persecuting that minority. Those that have done GSCE history on Nazi Germany will know the power of propaganda via depictions, drawings or paintings in newspapers about a community. It is via demonising propaganda (radio in the case of Rwanda), that mentally prepares a nation to persecute a section of it's own. This cannot be justified by the notion of ‘freedom of speech'.

Libel, slander, privacy laws, OFCOM regulations, race relations laws, the press complaints commission, the official secrets act, and many more acts of law place responsible restrictions on freedom of speech. We regret that there is nothing in place to stop demonisation of religious communities as a whole, just as previously in Europe there were no laws to stop the demonisation of the Jewish people. We kindly ask all not to forget the lessons of History.

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