Monday, September 11, 2006

A Danish newspaper has printed cartoons about the Holocaust commissioned by Iran after cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad triggered violent protests

BBC News:

The newspaper - Information - published six of the cartoons, which are on display in the Iranian capital, Tehran.

Several of the cartoons contrast the plight of the Palestinians with that of the victims of the Holocaust.

Editor-in-chief Palle Weis said he had thought carefully about publishing the cartoons and said it was not a stunt.

He told the BBC the cartoons accompanied a news story about the exhibition. He said they were "tasteless but predictable".

Another Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, sparked the international row last year after it published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, including one of him wearing a bomb on his head.

There were angry protests in Europe, the Middle East, and other parts of the world, in which at least 50 people died.

In response, a competition was organised in Iran inviting people to draw cartoons about the Holocaust. Organisers said they were testing the West's commitment to freedom of speech.

Information said it had decided to print the cartoons after consulting the main rabbi in Copenhagen.

"He said he had seen worse examples," editor-in-chief Mr Weis told the BBC.

"They are tasteless but predictable... they're pretty harmless. I don't think they would be called great art."

One of the cartoons, by a Moroccan cartoonist, shows a scene bisected by the barrier being constructed in the West Bank by Israel.

On one side, a gravestone reading "Holocaust" and bearing a Star of David stands in the sunshine. Underneath the ground is buried a single skull.

On the other side, it is night-time. A gravestone here says "Sabra and Shatila" - a reference to infamous massacres carried out in Lebanon in 1982 by Lebanese Christian militiamen allied to Israel - underneath a Palestinian flag. Underneath the ground are buried scores of skulls.

Mr Weis said he was not nervous about his readers' reactions to the decision to print a selection of the cartoons.

He said an interview with the rabbi was published alongside the cartoons, and an editorial inside explained the decision.

"Our readers would be disappointed if we didn't print the cartoons," Mr Weis said.

Cartoons row hits Danish exports


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