Andrew Sullivan on the Cartoon Furor
Posted on Feb 7, 2006
Andrew Sullivan, whose N.Y. Times Magazine essay
Also, a German journalist talks about his mixed feelings about running the cartoons in his paper. | Op-Ed
Andrew Sullivan via Time: The iconic image of last week was in the Gaza Strip. It was of a Palestinian gunman astride the local office of the European Union. All the diplomatic staff had fled, tipped off ahead of time. The source of the militant’s ire? A series of satirical cartoons originally published in Denmark.
A Danish paper, a while back, had commissioned a set of cartoons depicting the fear that many writers and artists in Europe feel when dealing with the subject of Islam. To Western eyes, the cartoons were not in any way remarkable. In fact, they were rather tame. One showed Muhammad with his turban depicted as a bomb—not exactly a fresh image to describe Islamic terrorism. Another used a simple graphic device: it showed Muhammad surrounded by two women in full Muslim garb, their eyes peering out from an oblong space in their black chadors. And on Muhammad’s face there was an oblong too, blacking out his eyes. The point was that Islam has a blind spot when it comes to women’s freedom. Crude but powerful: exactly what a political cartoon is supposed to be. | essay