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Censorship growing for Muslim related cartoons?

The fear of greater censorship or self-censorship when it comes to issues related to Islam has been a contention for many free-speech advocates. Perhaps those sounding that alarm have one more case to cite.

Nathan F. Elmore, a pastor and director of the Holy Books Conversation, a Christian-Muslim interfaith friendship venture in Virginia is calling for cartoonists to not depict Osama Bin Laden. He argues three reasons why such a ban should be considered.

Here are the three reasons as he lists them. He expands on them in the original story, which you can read on the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s website.

First, perhaps more media would be compelled to think longer and harder before publishing Osama’s image.

Second, with less Osama imagery, the street discourse of the American public would be given the social green light to transcend the typical ignorance or usual politics. This is only another way to say: We could transcend ourselves.

Third, a cartoon ban of this magnitude could incite an absolute “let freedom reign” for cartoonists. In the Osama vacuum there would be an open space inviting new images to proceed from the pen.

Community Comments

#1 Ted Rall
September/27/2010
@ 9:25 am

{Alan: “on more case” should be “one more case”}

When I read the headline, I assumed the article would be about editors censoring cartoons that show sympathy to Muslims. Those are very difficult to get printed.

#2 Alan Gardner
September/27/2010
@ 10:27 am

Typo corrected.

#3 Terry LaBan
September/27/2010
@ 12:02 pm

Not depicting Muhammad I can more-or-less respect. But Osama bin Laden?! An idiotic request that will only further inflame idiots.

#4 Ted Rall
September/27/2010
@ 12:42 pm

How about a law banning the depiction of donkeys and elephants? Radical Muslims oppose all figurative art, so this is a way for fundamentalists to make American cartoons better.

#5 Mike Peterson
September/27/2010
@ 1:01 pm

That man make joke without picture! How he can do that? How we know it joke if it not have picture?

#6 Tom Wood
September/27/2010
@ 2:00 pm

The rule about not drawing icons was created at a time when people worshiped lots of icons. It’s no longer valid today because it’s not like people worship icons anymore.

Like flags, sports team symbols, religious symbols, product labels, beer, car insignias, movie stars, idevices….. Wait. What was the question again?

Do you have a flag?

#7 Ed Power
September/27/2010
@ 10:53 pm

Now, see…this is stupid. It’s sad to because idea od a ” a Christian-Muslim interfaith friendship venture”, but this is like me writing the ‘History Channel’ and saying Nazi’s shouldn’t be portrayed as all white because it’ll cause hard feelings towards non-racist white people.

Molly Norris should’ve waited joked about and do a ‘Everybody Draw Osama Bin Laden Day’.

No one could be against that, not even Bin Laden as he’d then be comparing himself to Muhammad.

#8 Clay Jones
September/28/2010
@ 12:42 am

I disagree with Ted about drawing donkeys and elephants. It’s still an image that readers are familiar with (apparently not Ted’s). I share his disdain for tired, obvious and cliche filled cartoons. But sorry, Ted…I’m still gonna cross hatch.

Ted is right about getting cartoons with sympathy or defense of Muslims or Islam past editors. I thought this story was about that too.

While we should expand our creativity and look for new images, and new ways to relay a message and a viewpoint, there shouldn’t be a ban on drawing any image or person. The only bans I truly believe in are self-imposed bans.

#9 Ted Rall
September/28/2010
@ 6:00 am

I was just joking, Clay. Not even a fatwa could stop my friends and colleagues from drawing donkeys and elephants! (Even if readers under 75 don’t understand how such animals wear suits and carry labels.)

#10 Clay Jones
September/28/2010
@ 12:15 pm

Ted, I know you were joking. I also know you believe it and that’s all right.
Explain the label and suit wearing donkeys and elephants to your readers by saying “it’s a cartoon”. Have you seen the funny pages? There’s talking cats and even a couple of talking sharks.

#11 Steve Artley
October/15/2010
@ 5:49 am

Does anyone know where I can get a reference photo of this minister?

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