Nahed Hattar was shot dead after sharing a cartoon, and now the man who drew it fears for his life

Published September 27th, 2016 - 09:06 GMT
The cartoonist Khalid Gueddar is calling on Moroccan authorities to protect him (Abdelhek Senna / AFP)
The cartoonist Khalid Gueddar is calling on Moroccan authorities to protect him (Abdelhek Senna / AFP)

It’s a cartoon that many haven’t set eyes on. A wrinkled jihadist lies in bed, surrounded by women, wine and food. God’s kindly face peeks in, waiting on the man, who responds with more demands.

Does the cartoon sounds nondescript? Eyebrow-raising? For one man, it was the difference between life and death. Jordanian columnist Nahed Hattar was arrested last month after sharing the cartoon on Facebook; on Sunday, as he made his way to trial for offending religion, he was shot dead.

And today the man who drew the cartoon fears for his life, too.

Khaled Gueddar, a Moroccan cartoonist, originally drew the image which was published in satirical Moroccan newspaper Baboubi. After the shooting of Hattar he says he’s received a comment on Facebook regarding  the picture that clearly threatens his life, and he’s called on the Moroccan authorities to protect him.

I consider this comment a clear threat and an invitation to kill my right. It’s regarding the publishing of a cartoon which was the reason for the assassination of the Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar. I call on the Moroccan authorities to protect us and protect our lives from people like this.
Post reads: God’s curse upon you, may God make your fate slaughter and killing

Gueddar’s appeal to Morocco’s authorities is especially pertinent. One of Morocco’s most famous cartoonists, he’s well known for satirising taboo topics like society, politics and religion. According to Al-Monitor, he faced a four year prison sentence in 2010, after creating cartoons that satirised the Moroccan royal family.

In Jordan too, Hattar was arrested and charged by the state. At a protest mourning his death on Monday, many mourners held the government at least partly responsible for his death.

The cartoon itself has been interpreted by many as mocking not Islam itself, but a flawed interpretation of heaven postulated by jihadi or extremist groups.

Following the threat, Gueddar shared quotes from Stephane Charbonnier – the late cartoonist killed in the attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine – asserting his commitment to resist threats against freedom of speech and expression. His posts on Facebook attracted hundreds of shares and supportive comments, and several news outlets including Morocco’s Rue20 reported on his plea.

Gueddar did not immediately reply to Al Bawaba’s request for comments.

Al Bawaba Staff

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