‘Cartoon’ blowback

Cartoons triggered Holocaust too: Let Europe learn from history’

Robert Seiple, the US government’s first ambassador for religious freedom, heavily criticized those who published the insulting cartoons of Prophet Mohammed and recalled, “Cartoons triggered the Holocaust, too.”

Seiple serving as the first United States ambassador for religious freedom in 1998-2000 during Bill Clinton’s presidency said, “The question is not the freedom of expression but being civilized.”

Seiple speaking to Zaman warned the European governments “to learn a lesson from the past” and “not to be late”.

The former ambassador suggested Muslims to react against incidents quickly like Jewish people do. Seiple said the religion is sacred and the cartoons ridiculing “the sacred” are “impudent.” “Ridiculing the sacred has no place in a civilized world based on values,” Seiple noted. If the same is valid for Jesus-Christ, he added, a group of Christians would be rightly “very offended.”

Seiple, recalling the caricatures published in Germany during the 3rd Reich period contributed to the formation of the atmosphere leading to the Holocaust, criticized the anti-Semitic cartoons published particularly in Egypt. Nazis had published several anti-Semitic caricatures during the 3rd Reich era. Jews in these drawings was regarded as a race exploiting Germany unmercifully, the source of all evils and corrupting German women.

Cartoon row: Danish embassy ablaze

The newspapers involved no doubt are happy because their sales are up, even as they fuel the hatred and zenophobia. Imagine the reaction if the New York Post ran ‘cartoons’ showing Christians as ignorant white trash cleaning their shotguns so they could kill more abortion doctors, gleefully running more such cartoons every day as protests grew, deliberately throwing gasoline on the fire.

That would be vicious bigotry hiding behind freedom of the press, wouldn’t it?

[tags]Mohammed cartoons[/tags]


  1. To say that it was cartoons that triggered the holocaust is an awful simplication that minimizes the actual causes.
    The art of caricature has a long standing tradition and Mohammed was even depicted in Arab countries.
    So what is all the fuss about? Maybe the Islamic protest is just the sole outlet of people who are driven in a corner by the imperialist West?

  2. These cartoons seem deliberately mean-spirited to me, with newspapers obviously trying to provoke fights.

    Which they got. An embassy was burned.

    If it was a cartoon of Jesus having sex with children, would US newspapers be surprised if Christians protested loudly?

    That many Americans and Europeans can’t understand the fuss doesn’t mean many Muslims don’t find the cartoons deliberately insulting and racist.

  3. Still, there is a huge difference between the pen (for writing or caricaturing) and burning down embassies. If there was no protection, maybe even victims would have fallen.
    On the other hand the Jylland-Posten that published those cartoons is indeed an extreme right-wing paper intent on provoking.
    The reason even some of our western right-wingers condemn the cartoons, is that they very much would want to censor all forms of free expression.
    Even your hypothetical question, Bob, could be interpreted wrongly. So where does does censorship stop?

  4. Germany has long had strict laws against Nazi propaganda, even to the point of banning sale of memorabilia. As far as they are concerned, freedom of speech does not apply to Holocaust deniers.

    “Does freedom of speech include the right to yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre?”

  5. The cartoons depict what is happening, bombings in the name of Muhammad…why is it suddenly punishable to depict the truth? I looked at the cartoons myself, they are not insulting Muhammad, if anything they depict him trying to stop the fanatics from tainting the religion he is a part of. What the protesters are in a rise about is that they have rules as muslims to not depict the prophet. Well a newspaper stepped on those rules. So burning an embassy and calling for extermination of the people involved is right? Give me a break!!

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