Why UK Muslims are saying this comic cartoon is no joking matter
One of the most influential Islamic organisations in the UK has slammed a website that publishes cartoons featuring Prophet Mohamed and Jesus. The website, Jesus and Mo, features a weekly comic strip in which the two prophets debate and joke about the central tenets of Islam and Christianity.
The Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) published a statement saying that the images were "extremely offensive to believers" of the two faiths and "potentially inflammatory," and urged the website's operators to take down the comics at once.
The MAB added that the depiction of the two prophets was “as insulting as those published in Denmark," referring to the 12 editorial cartoons depicting Prophet Mohamed that were printed in a Danish newspaper in 2005, sparking widespread anger and protests.
Insisting that it respects freedom of speech and artistic expression, the MAB however questioned "the wisdom of any individual or organization that places at risk the dignity and values of anyone else, even if they might not hold those values."
The site's most-recent comic, from 15 January, shows Prophet Mohamed and Jesus in bed together, with Prophet Mohamed reading the Bible and grilling Jesus over the believability of the resurrection.
The website's operators have refused to remove the cartoons.
The UK Islamic group also attacked British politician Maajid Naawaz for posting the cartoons to his Twitter account.
Naawaz, a Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate in the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency in Greater London, is aiming to be the first Muslim member of UK Parliament.
In response to Naawaz posting the cartoons, the MAB called on the Lib Dem party to drop him as a candidate, and urged Muslims in his constituency not to vote for him.
Formerly a member of Hizb Ut Tahrir, an Islamic group with aims of establishing a global caliphate and Sharia law, Nawaz has since broken with the group and made a name for himself as a progressive Muslim. In 2008 he co-founded the Quilliam Foundation, an anti-extremism think tank advocating pluralism and cross-cultural acceptance between Muslims and other faiths.
Ahram Online was unable to reach Nawaz for comment.
However, in response to the outcry, Nawaz defended the cartoon on his Facebook page, saying that it was not offensive.
"Even if it was," Nawaz said, "I'm sure God is greater than to feel threatened by it."