South African Cartoonist Receives Death Threats
Once again, as in the Danish case, threats of death are being spewed forth like machine-gun bullets, this time on South Africa’s most popular cartoonist, Jonathan Zapiro, for his cartoon of Muhammad on a Psychiatrist’s couch lamenting,
"Other prophets have followers with a sense of humour!…” The cartoon followed the outcry surrounding the Facebook page, "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day."
In an application for an interdict against the Mail and Guardian’s publication of the cartoon, The Muslim Council of Theologians pleaded with the judge not to throw the case out on technical grounds.
She responded,”…as a judge and as a Muslim I am bound by our Constitution and the rules of our courts.” To the relief of most people the interdict was rejected, a victory for free speech and for confidence in South Africa's Judiciary.
What was interesting during the application was how the council repeatedly described the possibility of a violent backlash and a possible threat to the Soccer World Cup.
It was quick to add that while it wouldn't advocate violence, it couldn't necessarily guarantee that there wouldn't be any. Many have interpreted this as a veiled threat.
Nic Dawes, the Mail and Guardian’s editor-in-chief said, "My view is no cartoon is as insulting to Islam as the assumption Muslims will react with violence." Pretty clever, don't you think.