From The Gathering Storm Blog

What’s with cartoonists these days? Are they some kind of 5th column undermining the peaceful and tolerant religion of Islam – or perhaps, just free speech and satire? Now it’s some poor Bangladeshi cartoonist who’s paying for his right to free speech with a jail sentence. I don’t know how much more of Islamic tolerance I can take.

Bangladeshi authorities Tuesday arrested a cartoonist after drawings that Muslims said insulted their religion were published in a national newspaper, police and the government said.

A Home Ministry statement said Arifur Rahman’s sketches — titled “Name” — that came out Monday in a weekly supplement of the Prothom Alo — “hurt the religious sentiments of the people.”

The Home Ministry also ordered the confiscation of all copies of the satirical supplement, called “Alpin.” The government also urged “all to show restrain over the unwarranted incident.”

Prothom Alo authorities apologized for publishing the cartoon and withdrew the supplement.

So what insulted the Muslim sensibilities?

Alpin is one satirical cartoon supplement of the Daily Prothom Alo, which claims to be the most popular Bangla Newspaper in Bangladesh. In the 6th page of its 431th issue a cartoon titled ‘name’ was published (on Monday, September 17, 2007) which created much controversy in Bangladesh.

So what was in that cartoon? The controversy is not in the picture, rather in the text.

The text of the cartoon is a conversation between a boy and an aged person. Blogger Sudharam Sadhu posts the texts [bn] in his blog:

* Boy, what is your name?

– My name is Babu.

* It is customary to mention Muhammed before the name.

* What is your father’s name?

– Muhammed Abu

* What’s this in your lap?

– Muhammed cat

This appears to satire the culture of the use of Muhammed in Muslim names and nothing to disgrace the prophet itself.

Naming a cat after Mohammed? Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. I did have a friend who named his cat Krishna because he sat around all day and looked like he was meditating – but no Hindu sent him hate mail.

Just another sign that Muslims have a hard time living in the 21st century with basic human freedoms.

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