We all remember the massive protests that sprung up after a Danish newspaper published a series of editorial cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. Recently another controversy involving newspaper comics and Islam has sprung up. and this time the debate centers around how some news media refused to publish the comic, as opposed to those who did.In this case, the comic was the August 26 edition of Opus, and a September 2 follow up to the storyline. Approximately 25 newspapers opted not to publish the comic including The Washington Post. Alan Shearer from The Post Writers Group details what transpired:
In the Aug. 26 strip, we see what may be the first example on the comics pages of an Islamist-looking character other than a machine-gun toting terrorist. Comics historians will correct me within minutes if I'm wrong. And the final gag in the strip was a mild sex joke, deftly done in my view. The Writers Group decided to call client editors' attention to the Aug. 26 strip and offer a previously published installment if they were uncomfortable with this one. This is routine -- though not all that frequent -- because we cannot edit every strip for local taste and sensibilities. Many papers carry strips and comics concepts that were popular in the 1950s.Are the comics offensive to some Muslims? Probably, but if everything that offended someone were sanitized for publication we'd be living in Orwell's 1984 and every single publication would be stamped by the Ministry of Truth. Thankfully we're not quite there and I feel that the newspaper's decision not to publish the cartoons was not only cowardly but also makes for a bad example.