My small contribution to Modern Art. It is entitled "Mohammed in Desert"
This was inspired by an article and cartoon I read about at the Volokh Conspiracy. More below the fold:
The offensive cartoon is by Chip Bok (whose name is interesting for reasons not to be disclosed at this blog but someone write me if this is more than a coincidence) and you can see it here:
The article from the Akron Beacon Journal:
Several Northeastern Ohio Muslims and community leaders met Friday to express their concerns about the controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that have ignited outrage and violence.
At issue are the caricatures published in the European press -- work that many U.S. newspapers decided against publishing. The group also took issue with a cartoon inked by Beacon Journal editorial cartoonist Chip Bok.
Bok said he did not draw his cartoon with intentions of offending Muslims and has defended his right to free press.
But Muslims on Friday said Bok's cartoon was disrespectful and demeaning.
The level of hurt, they said, was deeper since it was in the local paper.
``It pained me to know that the Beacon Journal printed its own editorial cartoons that sought to challenge the beauty of our community by bringing hate into its pages,'' said Rabbi David Lipper, of Akron's Temple Israel.
The Beacon Journal has not published the Danish cartoons. However, on Feb. 5, the Akron paper published a Bok cartoon depicting a pixilated picture of Muhammad on CNN. A couple in the cartoon said, ``Well, no wonder Muslims are upset. Muhammad looks like he's on acid.''
The editorial cartoon has prompted several letters in response. Also on Friday afternoon, there was a demonstration outside of the newspaper's East Exchange Street building.
At Friday's news conference at the Islamic Society of Akron & Kent in Cuyahoga Falls, the speakers were passionate.
A.R. Abdoulkarim, Amir of the Akron Masjid, applauded newspapers that decided against running the cartoons, but condemned those who did. The Beacon Journal, he said, was in a class of its own.
``They take the prize for being the most ill-intended, irresponsible property group,'' he said. ``Allah curses and condemns them and every Muslim in this community should curse and condemn them.''
Julia A. Shearson, director of Ohio's Council of American-Islamic Relations, said they want the Beacon Journal to apologize for running the ``unethical'' cartoon and want the paper to publish their letters to the editor.
After yesterday's press conference, Bok met with several leaders. The cartoonist said he drew the cartoon to take a shot at CNN for ``distorting a distortion'' and not at the prophet or Muslims.
``I don't draw cartoons just to offend,'' he said.
Still, Muslim leaders said Bok's cartoon was disrespectful because the prophet should not have been depicted in such a way. In fact, they said, there are no pictures or statues of Muhammad because he should not be confused with God.
One of the sad things about this is that those complaining seem not to know that drawing Mohammed with his face obscured has a long history:
The cartoon in question is depicting Mohammed as he has been depicted in ancient art--with face obscured. The cartoon was not even making fun of Mohammed, it was making fun of CNN. I'm not inclined to let religious sensitivity ban even the cartoons which sparked the controversy. But I definitely think that trying to shame Mr. Bok for his cartoon is ridiculous. It just makes some Muslim groups look even more ridiculously hypersensitive than before.