A popular comic strip that poked fun at the Rev. Jerry Falwell without incident one week ago was deemed too controversial to run over the weekend because this time it took a humorous swipe at Muslim fundamentalists.So, the same thing didn't happen when another religion was the target of Breathed's satire?
The Washington Post and several other newspapers around the country did not run Sunday's installment of Berkeley Breathed's "Opus," in which the spiritual fad-seeking character Lola Granola appears in a headscarf and explains to her boyfriend, Steve, why she wants to become a radical Islamist.
[Washington Post Writers Group comics editor Amy Lago] said she didn't flag newspapers about [the 19 Aug 2007 Opus strip that poked fun at Jerry Falwell] because she didn't think readers would misunderstand the humor.Got that? Christians won't take the cartoon seriously, whereas Muslims might. Honestly, I think that the reason comes down to concerns that Muslims might erupt in violent rage over a cartoon, whereas Christians likely will not.
"They're not going to take it seriously," she said.
But she did alert newspapers about the Muslim-themed cartoon because there was a question about whether Muslim readers would be offended.
"I don't necessarily think it's poking fun [at Islam]," Lago said. "But the question with Muslims is, are they taking it seriously?"
Take, for example, the blasphemous balls of Afghanistan this weekend. The U.S. tried to generate some goodwill by distributing soccer balls with world flags on them to the children of Afghanistan. So what was the problem?
At least one of several balls dropped by helicopter to children in eastern Khost province had a small picture of the Saudi Arabian flag. The flag features in Arabic script the Islamic declaration of faith, which contains the words Allah and the Prophet Muhammad.A soccer ball has the Saudi flag on it, and the governor of Khost needs to convince the populace not to "demonstrate" over the blasphemous balls. Considering the violence involved on the part of Muslims whenever they claim to be offended, one really must wonder if the main reason for spiking the Opus cartoon was to avoid more Muslim violence.
Villagers were "upset and angry" when they saw the ball, said Khost Gov. Arsalah Jamal. "They wanted to demonstrate, but we explained to them it was a mistake." [...]
Last year, violent protests followed the printing of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in the Western media. In 2005, several people were killed during demonstrations against the alleged desecration of copies of the Koran by U.S. soldiers at Guantanamo Bay.
Knowing that Muslims feel that strongly about the text on the Saudi flag, though, I probably should make sure that I screen visitors to my garage in order to deny entry to those of the Islamic faith. It's not denial of entry based upon their faith, but rather a concern for their religious sensitivities. I really don't want them to be offended if they see my new dart board, let alone what I wipe my feet on by the back door.
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