UPDATE: Iran closes the paper in a damage control effort. (Never mind that it’s a state-run paper.)
A frequent component of da’wa sales pitches is the notion of Islam as an egalitarian religion, where ethnic differences do not matter. Tell that to the mullah-controlled press in Iran, which, of course, cannot really afford to make any more enemies at the moment, particularly within its own borders.
It is worth noting that, like the rest of Iran, the Azeri minority is predominantly Shia Muslim. But in a projection of the Arab-supremacist mentality that pervades Islam– particularly Sunni Islam– apparently the Azeris, by not being Persian, are second-class Shia as well.
From Reuters: “Iran’s Azeri minority protests mocking cartoon”
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Members of Iran’s Azeri minority hurled stones in violent protests on Monday, enraged by a newspaper cartoon they said insulted them, a semi-official news agency and a witness said.
The ILNA labor news agency said thousands protested in the northwestern city of Tabriz and that police used teargas to try to disperse the crowd. The exact number of demonstrators could not be confirmed.
A resident said furious protesters threw stones at banks and smashed windows.
“They are angry because … we (Azeris) are insulted by a cartoon,” Soraya, a 40-year-old mother, told Reuters by telephone from Tabriz.
I suppose there’s ample precedent for this sort of reaction to a cartoon.
The cartoon, which appeared in Friday’s edition of the official Iran newspaper, showed a boy repeating the Persian word for cockroach in different ways, while a cockroach in front of the boy asked “What?” in Azeri.