Spanish magazine publishes new Prophet cartoon

Supporters of the Pakistan Muslim League (Like-Minded) burn an effigy and a U.S. flag with a portrait of U.S. President Barack Obama displayed on it, during a demonstration in Peshawar September 27, 2012. About 25 protesters gathered on Thursday to protest against an anti-Islam film made in the U.S. that insults Prophet Mohammad. REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz

MADRID: Spanish political satire magazine El Jueves has published a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad on its cover, soon after violent protests rocked the Muslim world over a U.S. film and French caricatures deemed insulting to Islam. El Jueves’ latest edition, which hit Spanish newsstands Wednesday, shows several Muslims in a police lineup under the title “But ... does anyone know what Mohammad looks like?”

Any depiction of the Prophet is considered blasphemous by Muslims, but the issue has sparked a debate in the West about censorship and freedom of speech.

The magazine declined to comment to Reuters Thursday on the motives for the publication.

But in comments to the Huffington Post, editor Mayte Quilez said it was a decision to take a humorous position on a contentious issue.

“If you can’t depict Mohammad, how do you know it is him in the cartoons?” she asked.

Last week, French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad soon after protests against a film made in the United States provoked a torrent of anti-American unrest in Egypt, Libya and other countries.

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed in one of the first protests, on Sept. 11.

The Spanish Embassy sent a message to its citizens in Egypt Wednesday asking for caution in the event of any backlash from the El Jueves cartoon but has not said whether it will step up security in other Arab countries.

“We’re still analyzing what steps to take,” a Foreign Ministry source revealed.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 28, 2012, on page 11.




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