jump to navigation

The Muhamamd Cartoons (again) February 24, 2006

Posted by Tim in Malaysia, Religion, World.

The Sarawak Tribune, a 60-year old newspaper, was suspended indefinitely on February 9 and its top officials forced to resign for republishing the cartoons earlier this month. It is ironic that it was headlined “Cartoon No Big Issue Here” since it was the very thing making it into a big issue!

Then Guangming Daily was suspended for two weeks starting Feb 16 for printing a picture of someone looking at the caricatures in the paper.

The Malaysian press and politicians universally lambasted them and accused them of ignoring Muslim sensitivities.

The latest development is The New Straits Times – which had joined in the crucifixition of these two papers – running the syndicated Non-Sequitir cartoon in its comic section on February 20, which commented on the issue. The cartoon showed a street cartoonist, presumably an Arab Muslim, sitting down with a sign next to him saying “Caricatures of Muhammad while you wait”.

Initially the NST displayed a show of righteous indignance, first at being pointed at in the first place, then for being issued a show-cause letter by the Government.

Today, an unreserved apology is published and the NST submissively “will willingly accept any action deemed fit by the Government”.

The media witch-hunt is far from over, though.

Closer to home, a thread was started at my university forums discussing the issue. It went fairly smoothly at first. Indeed, I always thought it admirable that people could take part in (relatively) level-headed discussion there about sensitive topics. One moderate Muslim in particular managed to win over an irate student with his calm views. Sadly it all spiralled downhill after fundamentalist students spammed the threads and instant-messaged their friends online to join in.

Someone alerted Student Affairs, and immediately a letter was dispatched to the Student Publication Board (which runs the forums) ordering them to delete all topics which touched on religious, political, or race issues. So now we have a “Rule 14” on the forums prohibiting discussion on these topics on fear of being banned.

Living in Malaysia is like living on a bed of eggshells.



1. Wilz - April 11, 2007

“Someone alerted Student Affairs” was more like a group of fundamentalists wrote a memorandum demanding that the board providing a forum service be shut down permanently for allowing a thread to exist in its forums.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: