Malaysian Paper Prints Cartoon Satirizing Danish Cartoon Conflagration
First, the cartoon in question.
A leading government-backed newspaper in Malaysia has defended its decision to re-publish a cartoon satirising the row over the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.Like many in the West have concluded, this has less to do with religion (though it should not be denied that religion does factor in the rioting) and more to do with politics in terrorist-sponsoring and dictatorial regimes or political correctness in the West:
The New Straits Times denied complaints by disgruntled Muslim groups that the Non Sequitur, first published in its Tuesday edition, mocked Islam.
In an editorial on Wednesday the paper said that it would let the government decide if the drawing was offensive to Islam.
The editorial suggested that the furore over the sketch was politically and business motivated.
"We should ask ourselves whether the attacks on the NST are out of genuine concern for the multi-racial and multi-religious fabric of the country and the image of Islam, or whether there are politics and other personal vendettas involved," it said.
Predominately Muslim Malaysia is considered more moderate than many nations in the Middle East for example, and reaction to the Danish cartoons has, so far, been more underwhelming than elsewhere, with only small-scale protests and minimal violence.
However, the government has already suspended the licences of two local newspapers for printing a photograph showing the original cartoons.
The newspaper's editors are ready to face the consequences if the government decides that it "crossed the boundaries" and insulted Islam and the Prophet.
"But at the same time, let us ponder the fundamental issue - do we continue to be a society where a vocal few, with personal vendettas and less than honourable motives, can whip up sentiments and make the innocent guilty?" the editorial asked.