Monday, February 06, 2006

French Editor Is Fired Over The Muhammad Cartoons (Originally From 02 Febuary 2006)

(from the Cagle Newsletter)

More on the Muhammad cartoons controversy...

Daryl Cagle (Daryl Cagle's Professional Cartoonist Index) writes:

Yesterday we noted that the French newspaper, France Soir, reprinted the Muhammad cartoons in a show of support for press freedom, today Jacques Lefranc, the editor of France Soir, was fired. The BBC quotes France Soir owner, Raymond Lakah, a French Egyptian, saying that he:

" ... decided to remove Jacques Lefranc as managing director of the publication as a powerful sign of respect for the intimate beliefs and convictions of every individual. We express our regrets to the Muslim community and all people who were shocked by the publication."

Journalists at France Soir disagreed with the firing in a front page editorial that read in part:

"Religious freedom gives people the right to practice their faith or not, but should not become a means to impose the rules of a single religion on society as a whole."

In a related story on the firing of the LeFranc, CNN runs an AP story that reports: "Morocco and Tunisia barred sales of France Soir's Wednesday issue. French publications are normally widely available in the largely Muslim countries, formerly French colonies. Moroccan religious leaders have condemned the drawings and Muslim groups plan demonstrations for Friday." The AP also quotes the director of media rights group Reporters Without Borders, Robert Menard, who said that LeFranc's dismissal,

"... throws oil on the fire. It's the worst thing that can be done. What we need is calm and dialogue. We need to figure out how to reconcile freedom of expression and respect of faith."

The Danish embassy in Damascus was evacuated yesterday because of a bomb threat. The BBC has posted a photo slideshow of protests about the cartoons. Qatar's newspaper the daily Al Sharq called for the use of all official measures, political and diplomatic, to force Denmark to apologize to the "over 1.2 billion Muslims for the disrespect exhibited by the Danish paper." The government of Norway has advised it's foreign embassies to:

"voice regret that an Oslo-based newspaper ran cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad ... The caricatures in the Christian publication Magazinet are not constructive to build the needed bridges between people of differing religious beliefs and ethnic backgrounds. Rather, they create mistrust and unnecessary conflict."

CNN reports that masked gunmen shut down the European Union's office again today in Gaza, demanding an apology over European newspapers running the cartoons. Palestinian officials say the gunmen were threatening to kidnap European workers if they did not get an apology from the EU.

Reuters reports: Le Temps in Geneva and Budapest's Magyar Hirlap ran another offending cartoon showing an imam telling suicide bombers to stop because Heaven had run out of virgins to reward them. Several European publications, such as Spain's ABC newspaper and Periodico de Catalunya, showed photographs of papers which had published the cartoons. Other European dailies including France's Le Monde printed cartoons mocking the row. In another report this morning, Reuters notes that the more Muslims protest the cartoons, the more journalists are motivated to reprint the cartoons. The German newspaper Die Welt, which reprinted the Muhammad cartoons, is quoted:

"We'd take Muslim protests more seriously if they weren't so hypocritical. The imams were quiet when Syrian television showed Jewish rabbis as cannibals in a prime-time series."

Read Daryl's column with background on the Muhammad cartoon controversy here.

Below is a dissenting cartoon from Jordan. The cartoonist has a point. If one subject is free expression, then all must be. It is up to individuals to decide what is appropriate and acceptable.

Cartoon by Emad Hajjaj of Jordan

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