Zapiro cartoon anger mounts

2010-05-22 16:02

Johannesburg - A Zapiro cartoon published in the Mail & Guardian has angered Muslims countrywide and the SA Muslim Judicial Council on Saturday called on its followers to express their condemnation and disapproval of it.

"The Muslim community takes this opportunity to express the deep hurt it feels at the caricaturing of the Prophet Muhammad in the M&G," the council's website said.

"The Muslim leadership appeals to all Muslims to express their condemnation and disapproval of this latest insult on the Muslim community in a responsible and dignified manner."

The controversial cartoon depicts Muhammad lying on a couch and complaining to a psychologist that "other prophets have followers with a sense of humour".

"Muslims in South Africa have struggled and sacrificed side by side with its fellow citizens to work for a free and democratic society based on the values of human dignity and honour to its entire people," the website said.

"It is therefore extremely disappointing that the Mail & Guardian adopts this deplorable policy of complete disregard for the religious sensibilities of Muslims, a significant faith community of our country and likely a sizeable segment of the readership of the paper."

On Saturday, Muslims expressed their anger and outrage on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, saying they took offence to the characterisation of the prophet Muhammad.

On comment posted on Facebook by Zainub Milan-Ming said: " Zapiro stick to politics and leave religion alone. Do you even have one?"

  • Anon - 2010-05-22 16:06

    "why can't we all just, get along?"
    and guarded by free speech

  • Jeff - 2010-05-22 16:08

    Its just a bloody cartoon! It is part of our culture to have fun, make jokes and laugh. If something offends you then dont look at it!

  • nick - 2010-05-22 16:13

    Get over it. As Christian's we have had to watch people mock the one true God for 2000 years. If you need to protect your god then he's not much of a god is he.

  • Murph - 2010-05-22 16:16

    I really don't care which religion it is, we are all tied down by theistic bonds which have little or no place in society. Why should people who believe in veritable fairies at the bottom of the garden be treated differently? Hell I get offended by them waking me every morning screaming from some tower somewhere. That is every day not just one newspaper article. Plus obviously Zapiro was right on the money "No sense of humour".

  • not in my name - 2010-05-22 16:22

    Do we not have enough problems in this wretched country, Mr Shapiro? Crime, corruption, poverty, collapsing hospitals/infrastructure, mindless racism.. Do we really have a need to offend people? Why? To exercise the freedom of speech, like Malema? I'm sure you are not pro-Malema's singing? Whydo you choose to offend? There is no progress in that. I am not a Muslim, but this time, I think they are right.

  • To the point - 2010-05-22 16:23

    There are two sides to this coin. I believe the Muslims should take this on their chin. Mohammed was not insulted as the context of the cartoon depicts. On the other side of the coin while I believe that Zapiro and M&G are allowed freedom of speech and expression within limits, this was a stupid and irresponsible move from their side. They know the mode and mindset of the Muslim community. The wisdom of this needs to be questioned. There is a time and a place for everything, this was not the time or the place.

  • Hux - 2010-05-22 16:26

    I do not understand why Muslims are so sensitive about their religion. Surely their faith is built on strong enough foundations to withstand these type of comments. What seems to me to be a total over reaction makes one feel that maybe this is not the case. Are these responses not an admission that the entire stucture of Islam is built on sand and there is a fear that this might be found out. I would appreciate comments.

  • Themba - 2010-05-22 16:27

    This has gone beyond artistic expression. Religious debates and ridicules are not at all helpful. This may also be a deliberate plot to distabilise the country and the timing does not seem to be coindidental as well. I salute this countries Muslim leadership for taking a moral high ground as they address this matter.

  • Sosholsa - 2010-05-22 16:29

    I would like to know what Zapiro would say to a cartoon of a adict Jew sniffing Zyklon B ???

  • Niki - 2010-05-22 16:29

    I suggest Muslim leaders stand up and say, "We respect your religions, and would appreciate respect for ours."

  • Tomas - 2010-05-22 16:29

    The outcry over what is really a very toned down cartoon (compared to how Zapiro heckles others in some of his cartoons) ironically shows that Zapiro is spot on. People need to grow a sense of humour, and religion should not be exempt from scrutiny or criticism. Freedom of religion does not mean you can cry foul every time you feel offended. If there's a god, i'm sure he can stick up for himself, he doesn't need some irrational followers to start threatening people.

  • Simon - 2010-05-22 16:33

    I think Zapiro should appologise for this one. Making fun of religion is wrong. There is enough other material out there to work with.

  • Owami - 2010-05-22 16:35

    I wish I could find the cartoon humorous, but I don't. And I am no Muslim. At least if the satire was so funny that it had us in stitches, I would have understood why Zapiro felt the need to depict the cartoon - at a time when we are about to host a whole lot of people, including dangerously fundamentalists and extremists types. What is the message that is so important it is worth offending some people - albeit a minute percentage - over something they hold dear to their hearts.

    However, the idea of threatening violence merely because some part of society has been offended by one member is equally ridiculous. As much as I think we should not exercise our freedom of speech to spite another, neither should we throw tantrums when things do not go our way.

    One thing for sure, there is nothing more scary than a wounded, fundamentalist Muslim. Even though SA has not known such fundamentalism, publishing the cartoon on M&G Online has made us all fair game to the international fundamentalists

  • Lucian - 2010-05-22 16:42

    Zapiro, Zapiro, Zapiro what were you thinking!! Do you want to bring 9/11 to South Africa?? You have now overstepped your boundaries mate. Someone should reign you in. It is very unfortunate that in a young democracy such as ours that you use poetic/creative licence to justify taking a stab at a very peace loving community like the South African Muslims. We dont have radicals here but ;et me assure you they will now come, you bloody idiot. I am not a muslim myself but I know many and I cannot think of a more principled religion than any other I know. Keep to politics you yeddish idiot.

  • Yaku - 2010-05-22 16:46

    Even me, as a boertjie, are not happy with what Shapiro did. We dont need another loose canon like Malema.....

  • annon - 2010-05-22 16:47

    Zapiro is risking countries with large muslim countries such as Algeria, Nigeria, Cameroon , Ghana and Ivory Coast boycotting the world cup.

    M & G has scored an own goal.


    South African interests around the the muslim world are at risk. MTN for example have huge oprations in Iran, Nigeria, Syria and a dozen or so other muslim countries.

    So does Standard Bank, FNB,Vodacom, Sasol, Southern Sun International. These companies should pull adverts from the M&G and sister publications.

  • Tshepo - 2010-05-22 16:57

    Seeing that in this country we believe in free speech, Zapiro had a right to draw what he likes and the M&G has a right to publish what they want.

    But with these rights comes a lot of responsibility. We have seen how violently some Muslims have reacted to depictions of their prophet. So why be "irresponsible" and publish these cartoon at the time where SA needs people to pull together? The World Cup notwhithstanding, but how does Zapiro and the M&G demonstrate their sensitivity and a bit more respect by publishing these cartoons??

    I'm not Muslim or Christian but why go out and mock other religions?? They may not make sense to me or Zapiro but they make sense to those who chose to believe in them and go rightly by them (except the fundamentalists who use them for their own twidted ways.)

    All I'm saying is let's show some respect

  • Sugar Plum Fairy - 2010-05-22 16:59

    I really think it is time that the muslim religion does get a sense of humour. Everytime someone takes a dig at them they want to blow up the world .Christians have laughed at themselves for how many years . To think there is only 1.5 % of our population that is Muslim and they can cause such fear with other people that we always have to apologise to them . The same when you have a office function 2 muslims in the team and everything has to be arranged around them .I am so tired of them always wanting to kill and cause choas in the name of Islam

  • JD - 2010-05-22 17:00

    Why do muslims have to be so intolerant and miserable! It's just a bit of humour, and the muslim reaction to this is proving the point of the cartoon to be so true that muslims clearly have no sense of humour! Christians have to put up with insults to our religion and way of life from many different angles, even violent, barbaric and terrorist attacks from muslim extremists in the name of religion! Muslim communities worldwide force their religion and way of life into foreign countries but refuse to conform to the host country's way of life, let alone integrate with some reasonable compromise! I saw that particularly prevalent in the UK and it was sad!

    Get over it people, it's not that big a deal! Some of our soon-to-be visiting soccer teams have to have extra security because of threats by muslim terrorists over similar kinds of media attention! I suppose we are all in real danger now!

    Can't we all just be more tolerant, and less aggressive towards each other!

  • So Funny - 2010-05-22 17:02

    So Mr Zapiro why not start a cartoon about he idiocracies in the media that you work for. Or is things that reflect bad on the media not freedom of speech. How deep does the rabbit hole go? How about someone start publishing cartoons about homosexuals and their that would not be politically correct would it. I find it disgusting that you and your cronies believe that to attack everything that is conservative is okay but all the hype of the day is not. How about a cartoon about Darwin and his great great uncle the monkey jojo. You make me want to puke. If you and the media want to dish out, take the punch for it. Stop being cowards and try to hide behind freedom of speech.

  • Pat Stevens - 2010-05-22 17:03

    Jonathan - For heavens sake man, do the sensible thing and withdraw the cartoon, nobody will think any less of you. It's no good saying the cartoon is "gentle," it's an Old Testament thing, graven images and all that. At the end of the day he is not your prophet, he's the Muslim prophet, good manners should tell you to leave him alone.

  • ingwe - 2010-05-22 17:06

    The reaction to the cartoon shows just how close to the mark Zapiro was!!!!!!!

  • faried - 2010-05-22 17:09

    Freedom of speech stops where it hurts, offend etc another party.
    That is how we as muslims behave and we expect other people to behave as well, we do not mock your religions so do us the same.

  • Scott - 2010-05-22 17:12

    Phew, I've been following this Draw Mohammed Day business for quite a while now. Firstly, let me say I think Zapiro's cartoon is brilliant. Secondly, the reason I believe the people are afraid of expressing their opinion is FEAR. FACT! The only reason we as a Western based society have not opened our ink-cartridges is that we are afraid of bringing on the pain and terror that accompanies such extensive form of our Constitutional right. Danish cartoonists are a point at case. Thats right, our constitution. The thing that so many of our ancestors have died protecting. And I for one am not afraid of the extremists Muslims that will condemn this cartoon because I believe the constitution and freedom of speech is something I am not afraid to die for. Muslims (should I say sectors of the Muslim community) have chewed away at most Westerners rights, banks in Eng have stopped using the "piggy bank" in ads for fear of offense, dog crime units cannot use their dogs in ad campaigns because Muslims view dogs as unclean and no angel will pass into a house where one is, and even individuals have come under the hammer for displaying pig ornaments on the windowsills. (This is all in the UK) When will it end?! I say now's about as good a time as any... Congrats Zapiro

  • Curious - 2010-05-22 17:13

    I would like to know why Muslims write or say "peace be upon him" whenever they refer to their prophet. Why is it necesary to pray that Muhummad receive peace when he has already pleased Allah with his great life of service and already entered the reward of the next life? Isn't he securely at peace already? Is it possible he might lose it? Do cartoons like this affect him?

  • Oh Wow - 2010-05-22 17:16

    Here we go again!! Why are religious people so INTOLERANT??? I dont even see what is so offensive with that cartoon. Can somebody PLEASE tell me what the outcry is about??? For Pete's sake.

    First it was the Christians going mad over the Pope being drawn lying inside a condom, now its Mohammed.

    Will society ever grow up, and be mature enough to accept that OTHER people have different beliefs? And just because YOU cant say anything about your religion, it doesn't mean other people can't either

  • Mike - 2010-05-22 17:19

    Some mentioned the Malema song with regards to free speech. Now does the Zapiro cartoon or any of the Mo cartoons suggest that violence be done against Muslims ? None of the cartoons that I have seen have any promotion of violence, in fact, if people are honest, almost all the violence comes from one group of people, and you all know who they are.

  • Shaun - 2010-05-22 17:21

    Have fun and enjoy your own culture, but respect other cultures and religions. You must know where and when to draw the line. If you see your mother having sex with your little brother in a cartoon.....i want to see who still have fun, make jokes and have a good laugh. Hope you have a sense of humour then too !

  • Richard - 2010-05-22 17:29

    Muslims are generally violent, extremist or apologists for extremists. In a democratic society, we (Christian, Muslims, Jews, politicians, Zulus, Xhosaa, Showerheads, etc)are all canon fodder for free speech, with the exception of advocating violent or hate speech. If you don't like the free speech protections we enjoy here in SA (despite all the problems we have), move to Iran, Saudi Arabia where they barbarically chop your head or hand off for being a blasphemer. Down with PC, Go Zapiro!!

  • anita du Toit - 2010-05-22 17:30

    Islam is a religion of PEACE, so why would they declare a holy war on Zapiro??

  • zizinio - 2010-05-22 17:34

    leave Zapiro alone, this is the only man who know how to enterntain the nation. if you feel offended then he is spot on. Just change your way of doin things and Zapiro will be off your back. end of story!!

  • Jester - 2010-05-22 17:36

    It is called freedom of speech...

  • Dani - 2010-05-22 17:49

    People need to understand that all religions need to be treated with equal respect, not just Islam. The Muslims are the main cuprits of religous bigotry but they are first to complain when the smallest thing is said about Islam. When Deedat, on behalf of the IPCI was mocking Jews, Hindus and Christians, where were these self-righteous Muslims?

  • yOUSUF - 2010-05-22 17:53

    It is against Muslim Law and ethics to depict our Prophet in any sketch or picture.Surely Mr Shapiro and a large number of the informed world knows this from what happened in Denmark. This is another marketing and publicity tool by thr M&G and Shapiro to create outrage and sell more papers..... how sad

  • Betelgeuse - 2010-05-22 17:55

    A cartoonist's job, 'not in my name', is to offend people. Zapiro takes the piss out of every trumped up pretentious section of society, exposing them for what they are. He has taken on Catholics, Jews, Malema and Zuma amongst thousands of others. The irony is that the Muslims are reacting in exactly the way the cartoon predicts, thereby giving it validity.

  • Pete - 2010-05-22 17:57

    Oh come on - this was neither irreverent nor harmful. It just shows a touch of humanity. Grow up. Christians have long had to handle far worse. Get over yourselves and get with life - you're part of the world too. Even the Khoran calls Mohammed a prophet, not a divinity, but the real prophets of old were always against the tide, in the heart of controversy and opposition - can't his legacy stand up to a tame little cartoon? Is He unable to stand up for his position now and if so is he then a prophet at all?

  • Not Muslim - 2010-05-22 18:00

    If the SA Muslim Judicial Council succeeded in banning that cartoon they would have in effect forced their beliefs and rules on the rest of us. I am not a Muslim; I’m not even a theist. Why should I not be allowed to view something that others find offensive? Why should I live by their rules? This is a free society: Muslims can pray and practice their religion as they wish. They are even free not to buy a copy of the M&G if they don’t want to. But they cannot tell me what I can or cannot read.

  • KS - 2010-05-22 18:02

    There are times when it's important to make a point and there are other times when it's wise and mature to move past it. Printing this cartoon at this time reflects poor judgment.

  • lestor@not in my name - 2010-05-22 18:03

    They don't want people to depict there prophet... what would happen if every time something offended a group of people we had to stop doing it? People are always going to be offended by things, no matter what you do. But this isn't a problem as no one is forcing Muslims to buy that paper. before it gets brought up it wasn't discriminating against Muslims either, just saying they need to relax.. nothing anything wrong with it, which is an opinion (not hate speech). If you want to suppress opinions (not hate speech) you are on your own. If we start suppressing opinions we end up like Zimbabwe and other countries where the government cannot be criticized without fear. I don't support what Malema says but support his right to say it. Well except all the stuff that amounts to hate speech.

  • Disappointed - 2010-05-22 18:04

    It appears that Mr Shapiro was certainly suffering from "writer's block". Had he nothing relevant to express in contemporary times, than to repeat ad nauseum what had started in Denmark about a year ago. Why concentrate his negative energies on a personality that lived more than 1400 years ago, unless he has some ulterior motive?
    It is certainly mischief making in the highest order, as it was unprovoked. Knowing very well what reaction it will receive and the possible repercussions, his action was highly irresponsible. Mr Shapiro has certainly put his own life, those of his family members and the SA nation at risk on the eve of the SWC.
    I just wonder how far journalists and the world will try and humiliate "without cause, I may add" the Muslim community. Mr Shapiro, and others, repulsive cartoons aimed at humiliating people without prior provocation or utterances by them, is certainly not freedom of speech. It is simply distasteful, disgusting and disrespectful.
    If "freedom of speech" means anyone can say anything, without being held responsible for its consequences, i would like to ask: "How
    will you react if some calls your mother a slut?". And then, every now and then reprints it and circulates it to everyone. If after this, you do nothing and just laughs it off, then I would say that you practise what you preach.
    I suggest that you apologise to a community that forms part of our society. Or why not, in your next edition, have a caricature of Jesus and Manto curing Aids with holy water and garlic? And your next one, depicting Moses extinguishing the runaway fires in Australia.

  • Yusuf - 2010-05-22 18:06

    We Muslims don't make jokes about Jesus or any other religious leaders or gods. Why make comments about ours? Plus South African Muslims get along with ALL RELIGIONS, WHY CAUSE A PROBLEM ZAPIRO?? I think Zapiro loves the attention.

  • Carolyn - 2010-05-22 18:09

    A little respect goes a long way, that's all they're asking for. I don't like things I value and hold dear to be mocked or trivialised. Zapiro stop stirring up things unneccessarily, freedom of expression carries a responsibility otherwise it becomes like the mindless tantrums of a two year old. I'm atheist but believe in religious tolerance , Zapiro's only agenda here was to offend and he hides behind a schoolboy style of humour. Ill conceived and appalling timing.

  • Serious - 2010-05-22 18:16

    Every religion, deity or god has been mocked, throughout the centuries. Take on the cartoonist, but you do not have a SOUTH AFRICAN view. We are a tolerating nation, so get behind us and stop whining when your turn comes. Most wars have .....and are still being the name of GOD ! Leave these (lonely in amusement) people to think they are funny. It is your right (or indoctrination, or upbringing, or culture) to believe what you want. But know this, some bloke will allways make fun of whatever you perceive to be noble. Just laugh it off. Seriously, we are not going to have one of Saddam Hussein's HOLY wars about this one.

  • Separate rights - 2010-05-22 18:26

    All of us - including Zapiro - have the right to free speech.

    Sometimes free speech will offend, and likewise, anyone has the right to be offended.

    Religion has no (and should have no) special privilege to be protected from free speech, as long as this does not constitute hate speech.

    Be offended all you like, and express your offense in a constructive manner so that it can be openly debated.

    But veiled (or not so veiled) threats along the lines of "we can't guarantee your safety" on the other hand sound more like hate speech to me.

    Props to M&G and Zapiro for standing up to this tyranny of backward thinking.

  • Ubaid - 2010-05-22 18:29

    When u attack black people, they call it racism. When u attack Jewish people, they call it anti-semetism. When u attack women, they call it sexism. When u attack homosexuality, they call it intolerance. When u attack your country, they call it treason. When u attack a religious sect, they call it hate speech. But when u attack the Prophet peace be upon him, they want to call it freedom of speech

  • Schalk - 2010-05-22 18:38

    I think it is time that they grow up & accept free speech + a little criticism

  • Tru Believer - 2010-05-22 18:42

    May God have mercy and grant David Shapiro true guidence to realise his cartoon has insulted his fellow man. I for one will pray harder and longer to Allah for all people of South Africa to have better understanding. I am muslim and I am deeply offended. My reaction is going to try and convince every muslim to pray sincerely more regularly and practice restraint.

  • Sheik - 2010-05-22 18:50

    To all my Muslim brothers do not support M&G or advertise in the M&G


  • Huge - 2010-05-22 18:59

    A please just relax and take it for what is worth?

  • ingrid dup - 2010-05-22 19:00

    By complaining, you are actually proving the cartoonist correct. You have no sense of humor. Come on, he was not portrayed in a bad light. Thank god, the God that I serve has a sense of humor, after all, He created a giraffe, a hippo and humans...He must have had couple of good laughs whilst doing all of that. So cheer up and smile for a change.