Another worthy item for our Thank You For Proving Our Point Department. “Cartoon gets Zapiro death threats,” by Bianca Capazorio for the South African Press Agency and Reuters, May 22 (thanks to Rick):
Days after an alleged al-Qaeda operative detailed sketchy plans to attack World Cup teams over cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, the Mail & Guardian newspaper has made waves locally and internationally by also publishing a cartoon of the Prophet.
A cartoon by award-winning satirist Jonathan Shapiro, known as Zapiro, in the M&G yesterday depicts the Prophet grumbling to a psychiatrist about the furore in the Muslim world created by a Facebook page called Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.
“Other prophets have followers with a sense of humour!” complains the turbanned, bearded figure, stretched out on the psychiatrist’s couch. […]
Yesterday, the paper reported it was receiving a flood of calls about the cartoon, and had even received death threats against the cartoonist.
“Phone ringing off the hook. Making the point that I have faith in Muslim South Africans’ tolerance and openness to debate,” [Mail & Guardian editor] Dawes tweeted yesterday.
The debate raged online too, with hundreds of comments appearing on stories about the cartoon, either defending freedom of speech or expressing disgust.
Several blogs also had the cartoon as a topic. International news media such as Reuters, the BBC and the Guardian were also reporting the story widely yesterday.
Blogger Khadija Pattel wrote: “Waking up to news that an interdict against the Mail & Guardian publishing a Zapiro cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had failed left me a little unsettled.
“I only believed it once I saw it. And when I did see it, it was disappointment I felt most acutely.”
City Press editor and former Mail & Guardian editor Ferial Haffajee tweeted: “Draw Muhammad Day is as much about free expression as the Youth League is about advancing young people.”
She however defended Zapiro’s right to freedom of expression and was quoted: “His right to draw must be supported unequivocally.”…