were left outraged after a Belfast web-journal the
Blanket republished the infamous cartoons
of Prophet Muhammad (p) which prompted protests
throughout the world. The journal carried a cartoon
each week from Sunday March 19 in an effort to highlight
what they sees as Islamic totalitarianism.
It will be the first Ulster outlet to do so.
Blankets Editor, Carrie Twomey, told The
Muslim News cartoons were not a form of religious
hatred but rather a comment on current events.
Muslim community representatives in Ulster said
the cartoons encourage Islamophobia. Jamal Iweida,
President of Northern Irelands largest mosque,
Belfast Islamic Centre, told The Muslim News
repercussions caused by the cartoons were being
ignored. They depict Prophet Muhammad in a
way which is not true and correct. We welcome criticism
and debate but I believe that these cartoons are
just creating more anti-Islamic feeling and more
racism against Muslims and I consider this very
said, The Blanket is a free speech
website, to publish the manifesto and the profiles
and not publish the cartoons would have been cowardly.
She also denied the journals motives were a
quest for notoriety.
former politics student at the University of Ulster,
Deena Hamid, told The Muslim News, Its
got absolutely nothing to do with freedom of speech
because everything that needs to be said about the
cartoons has already been said. Theres a line
where satire ends and bigotry begins and the journal
has no qualms about crossing it for a bit of cheap
reference to one of the cartoons which depicts the
Prophet wearing a bomb-shaped turban, Twomey discounted
the interpretation the cartoon as insinuating that
all Muslim are terrorists, instead she said the
cartoon was intended to illustrate some forms
of Islam are a mind-bomb, it is the thinking.
the journal said they would consider anything
submitted many Muslims question if the journal
would have the same zeal in publishing other cartoons
that reinforces other controversial stereotypes
such as anti-Semitic or racist cartoons.
Shahbann, 22, a Medical student at the University
of Ulster, told The Muslim News, The
decision wasnt based on challenging Muslim
extremists, its about imposing secular fundamentalism.
I dare the Blanket to publish a cartoon portraying
all Republicans as IRA terrorists; they wouldnt
dare because there would have severe social and
political repercussions. So why is it acceptable
to depreciate all Muslims as terrorists through
our Prophet? Because were an easy and soft target.
teacher, Ahsan Khan, from Newtownabbey in Belfast,
told The Muslim News, the Blanket
is dismissing the safety and welfare of Muslim lives,
The publishers of the cartoon are delusional
if they believe in absolute and unchecked freedoms.
Theyre probably so caught up in being part
of a big story that they forgot that the right to
life surpasses freedom of expression. If what you
say challenges my right to live peacefully it should
be censored. The cartoons are directly claiming
all Muslims are terrorists then whats to stop
them from publishing cartoons saying all Muslims
should be killed?
said her publication aspires for absolute freedoms
of expressions but conceded in practice we
know there are boundaries. There are enough people
seeking to tighten the boundaries. Our position
is to push against them.
Iweida said the republican publication was serving
the interests of the extreme right wings and racists
elements of society.
text of interview Elham Buaras conducted with Blanket
Editor Carrie Twomey