Indonesia Hesitates To Deal With Cartoons

Once upon a time, actually, not too long ago, there was a cartoon drawn by a single man in which an image of the Prophet Muhammad appears, today, there are over 6,000 such cartoons. This would suggest that efforts to issue a fatwa or threaten people with jail or death if they decide to draw a cartoon only appears to encourage such visual efforts. The Indonesian Ulema Council urged clerics to remain cool and not become upset at the cartoon contest on Facebook which urges people to draw a cartoon of Muhammad. The Facebook page was created by Molly Norris of South Park after an episode was removed due to Muslim pressure. MUL chairman Amidhan said he would not issue a fatwa because “Facebook is only a tool, it’s neutral.” However, he would like his government to close down the page, at least for people in Indonesia. Other Muslim leaders argue for calmness because there are people seeking to provoke Muslims into acts of violence which can be used to discredit their religion. Muslim scholar, Azyumardi Azra told fellow Muslims the entire episode of the cartoon contest merely demonstrates the need for dialogue, not for violence.

The Alliance of Independent Indonesian journalists issued a statement: “Internet content that offends Muslims does not justify (any) move to control the Internet.” Sound advice. Cool it, relax and begin your own cartoon contest about Jesus.