I reported earlier today about the controversial Zapiro cartoon of “Mohammed on the Couch” that was published on Everybody Draw Mohammed Day in the Mail & Guardian, a South African newspaper. Now it seems that the M&G has caved in the face of relentless mau-mauing by the organized Muslim grievance-mongers.
[Before everybody jumps all over me again: Yes, I know that the paper is a progressive one, and that all the people involved are leftists. I knew that from the first article I read, but evidently I didn’t explain myself clearly enough in my previous post.]
The leftist nature of the M&G helps explain why the paper caved in relatively easily — after all, defending freedom of “racist” speech doesn’t come easily to a cultural Marxist.
But the amazing thing is that they evidently hadn’t the faintest idea of what they were setting themselves up for. Did they really think that because they were fervent progressives, they would be spared the wrath of the Universal Muslim Rage Boy? Have they been holed up in a cave these last nine years?
If they have any sense at all, they now understand the rules of the game: Islam trumps Marxism every time, without exception. Any leftist who thinks he can cha-cha with the prophet without assuming the Full Submission Position is sadly mistaken.
When you read the reports below, notice that the author and the paper’s editor sound very, very grateful that South African Muslims showed commendable restraint and did not resort to violence. Note also that South Africa’s population is about 15% Muslim, which tells us that the minimum local density of Islam before it gains full cultural control must be less than 15%. (Correction: I dropped a decimal place when looking at the database figures — only 1.5% of South Africa’s population is Muslim. This makes this surrender even more alarming, because it shows that a mere 1.5% of the population can intimidate the other 98.5%.)
Here’s the first of two articles from M&G:
M&G Meets With Muslim Leaders
A meeting between Muslim leaders and the Mail & Guardian after the publication of a controversial cartoon has left M&G CEO Hoosain Karjieker proud of the community and the process followed to reach a resolution.
The newspaper has undertaken to refrain from publishing any images of the Prophet Muhammad while reviewing their editorial policy in terms of religious matters, after a meeting with Muslim leaders from a cross-section of organisations, and interest groups.
The meeting at Channel Islam in Johannesburg on Wednesday followed a failed court attempt by the Muslim Council of Theologians to stop the newspaper from publishing a Zapiro cartoon on May 21.
The cartoon depicted the Prophet Muhammad reclining on a psychiatrist’s chair bemoaning his followers’ lack of humour. It referenced the uproar in some Muslim communities over the Everyone Draw Muhammad Day campaign.
While interest in the incident has been high, with traffic volumes doubling on the M&G site, there was no violent backlash. Karjieker was particularly impressed with the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), which called on the community not to boycott the newspaper.
“It’s been very good,” said editor Nic Dawes. “I think a discussion that has been simmering quietly has been brought out into the open. Ultimately we’ve reached a very South African solution.
“I’m delighted actually.”
Represented at the meeting were leaders from the MJC, the Muslim Council of Theologians — or Jamiatul Ulama — and the Somali Association of SA, among others.
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“It was a tough meeting but the level of engagement was very mature,” said Karjieker. “It was on a level we haven’t had before as a community or a paper.”
Cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, or Zapiro, flew from Cape Town to attend the meeting. He refrained from commenting, saying that his follow-up cartoon in the M&G‘s next edition on Friday May 28 would explain his thoughts. Dawes said the cartoonist, who has won awards for his cutting depictions, said his cartoons have angered many — including his own community.
“I think Zapiro made a clear statement of his principles as a cartoonist and satirist,” said Dawes, pointing out that Zapiro’s secular values meant equal treatment of everyone.
But both Zapiro and Dawes were adamant about distancing themselves and condemning the Islamophobia that has characterised some of the Facebook campaign.
Karjieker pointed out that the discussion, while tough, would open the space for further issues that people can talk about “using the paper as a forum”.
A statement was issued however, saying the M&G regretted “the harm caused by the publication of the cartoon and apologises for the effects thereof”.
Dawes said the meeting ended on “genuinely very friendly terms”.
He said the new policy would be “informed in consultation with religious leaders from all major faith communities,” and ultimately by the constitutional values of freedom of expression and our own values as a newspaper, of social justice.
Present at the meeting were about 21 people, including MJC representative Ahmed Igsaan Sedick, who had previously denounced death threats against Zapiro.
While rejecting the cartoon, the MJC called death threats against the cartoonist “un-Islamic”, saying such threats had no place in the religion or society, the Cape Argus reported.
“It only implies that Muslims lack the intellect to resolve disagreements through proper dialogue and communication, which is far from the truth.”
The statement was in keeping with Dawes’ own view that “no cartoon is as insulting as the assumption Muslims will react with violence”.
The newspaper invited community leaders and ordinary readers to continue communicating their devotion both online and to the newspaper.
“We have learnt an enormous amount since the publication of the cartoon about the depth of reverence in which Muslims hold the Prophet.”
Muslim leaders were compiling a combined statement at the time of publication and were unable to comment immediately.
The second article is the formal paper’s formal abasement and acknowledgement of dhimmitude:
Mail & Guardian Regrets Muhammad Cartoon
The Mail & Guardian (M&G) newspaper regrets the offence caused by a cartoon depicting the prophet Muhammad published on Friday, editor Nic Dawes said.
Dawes said the newspaper, along with cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, better known as Zapiro, met with Muslim community representatives and business leaders in Johannesburg on Wednesday to discuss their concerns.
“We explained to them that we did not intend to cause any harm and we distanced ourselves from the islamophobic imagery depicted on a Facebook group,” Dawes told Sapa in a telephonic interview.
The cartoon, published on Friday, depicts Muhammad lying on a couch complaining to a psychiatrist: “Other prophets have followers with a sense of humour!”
Dawes said publishing the cartoon did not mean the newspaper supported the Facebook group “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” that sparked outrage in Pakistan and other Muslim countries.
In distancing itself from the group, the M&G explained on its website the group claimed to be a protest against restrictions on freedom of speech and religious fanaticism, but had seemingly become a forum for venting islamophobic sentiment.
“We certainly didn’t intend the cartoon to be an endorsement of those kinds of sentiments, which we repudiate,” Dawes wrote on the site.
“We regret the offence caused by the cartoon and the pain experienced by many Muslims around the country.”
On Wednesday Dawes said in light of what the paper had learned since publishing the cartoon on Friday, it decided to review its editorial policy on religion, especially where it concerned the Prophet Muhammad.
The review would be informed by consultation with a variety of parties within the country and based on “the constitutional values of freedom of expression and the M&G‘s own values of social justice”.
“We have committed to not reproduce depictions of the Prophet during the review period.”
Dawes could not give a time frame on how long the review process would take, but said it may be a couple of months. The review did not mean the M&G was going to relinquish its editorial independence.
“I cannot commit myself to any religious rules in editorial considerations,” he said, but consideration would be given to respect all communities.
“We parted very amicably with the community and I am very pleased that we can come out of it with one of those very special South African solutions where dialogue managed to resolve a very difficult situation,” Dawes said about the meeting.
If you can stomach any more, see the full statement from Nic Dawes (pdf).
Hat tip: TB.