Arab World Aflame Over a New Set Of Cartoons
As protests and violence continue to rage over a Danish newspaper's decision to run a series of cartoons linking the prophet Mohammed with violence, the explosive anger within the Muslim world has risen to new heights in the face of the publication of another series of cartoons. In a move deemed insensitive to the ideals of Islam, the New York Times recently re-printed a "Classic Peanuts," cartoon that featured Lucy Van Pelt tricking Charlie Brown into kicking a football, only to remove it at the very last second just to get a few laughs.
"How can the New York Times believe that they can get away with such an incendiary move, particularly in light of the damage that the Danish newspaper did to Islam?" Iranian Parlimentarian, Ali Muhammed Al- Shakeer said. "The images of Charlie Brown missing the football showcase a disrespect of men that is not tolerated in the Muslim religion. If men are supposed to be superior and forbid females from driving, voting, or leaving the house without donning proper Islamic garb, how are we to view this damning move by the so-called "cartoonist," Charles Schulz."
It seemed that the Danish cartoon-related violence that had spiraled out of control over the last week had begun to wane, before Syrian cleric Akbar Al-Hakiri got a hold of a six-month old copy of the Times that he found in a dumpster in downtown Damascus. According to published reports, Al-Hakiri took the cartoons to the scene of the riots and proceeded to explain the cartoon at length to his irritated countrymen.
"At first, it was a little hard for me to understand, because Sheik Al-Hariri had to explain to me exactly who Charlie Brown and Lucy Van Pelt were," Syrian rioter Waleed Bin Fakr, said. "However, when I finally understood the complex dynamic between the two, I became incensed beyond belief. Who is Lucy to do that to Charlie Brown? How can a bitch like her, dare to desecrate Charlie Brown, a symbol of manhood everywhere? How can this harridan do such a thing to a man with such a snazzy striped shirt? This is an affront to Muslims everywhere. Sheer blasphemy!"
The second wave of the riots spread from Damascus to Kabul, to Afghanistan to Iraq to Peshawar, Pakistan to Niger to Ghana, very much like a game of telephone, with much more fire, cursing and blood. Their furios tenor took the world by surprise. Accordingly, representatives from the West were quick to censure the New York Times' bold decision to run the Peanuts Cartoons.
"Obviously, it is not a responsible thing for the New York Times to
run cartoons that could possibly defame Islam or the majority of Muslims who practice a peaceful and non-violent form of the religion. Consequently, I apologize for potentially offending anyone," United States President George W. Bush said. "However, I defend the right of free speech and condemn any acts of violence that have broken out as a result of these cartoons. And I'd also like to add that while I do condemn the aforementioned Peanuts cartoon, I DO in fact love Snoopy. 'Specially when he pretends to be the Red Baron. Heh Heh Heh."
But representatives from the New York Times defended their decision to re-print the cartoon, claiming that the images have been wrongly misinterpreted.
"No, no, no, this is just a misunderstanding," Arthur Salzberger Jr., publisher of the New York Times said. "Charles Schulz did not intend to show a harlot-like woman duping a young man. Rather he just wanted to show a friendly game of football gone terribly awry. The cartoon really just epitomizes the nature of a friendship gone terribly terribly wrong."
Salzberger also shuddered at the potential effect that the violence may have on free speech.
"Where do we draw the line?" the publisher added. "If not Peanuts, then are we not supposed to run Garfield because we might offend people who don't like lasagna. Are we not supposed to run Cathy in fear of offending people who have good taste? This is potentially an Orwellian development."
Despite Bush's apology and Salzberger's explanation, the furor in the Muslim world continued unabated and some unexpect them to go on indefinitely.
"To be honest, I'm not sure exactly why I'm rioting," admitted 16-year old Iranian rioter Shaheed Mubarak. "But let me tell you one thing, it's sure fun. Everyone's terrified of us now and I've got to be on television twice and in the newspaper once. Hi Mom!! This is so much cooler than sitting at home, wishing I had a job and cursing my own government because our unemployment rate is going to be 52 percent in two years."
[ed. note: Because we at the Passion of the Weiss are dedicated to free speech, we have taken the brave route of re-publishing the controversial cartoons, unlike some of our brethren in the so-called "mainstream media." We should like to publicly cite our solidarity with the New York Times and would like to add if any Muslim extremists are reading this blog, then it should be noted that the weblog does not really publish in Los Feliz, but rather it publishes in Fresno. Yes....Fresno. That's the ticket.]