Buffalo, NY magazine to publish Prophet Muhammad cartoons

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

The magazine Free Inquiry, issued in Buffalo, New York and published by the Center for Inquiry, is to publish some of the Islam's Prophet Muhammad cartoons. These cartoons were originally published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, causing waves of violence and protests among Muslims worldwide.

Tom Flynn, editor of the secular magazine, said that he was only acting alongside several European papers that reprinted the cartoons "demonstrating a commitment to free expression and a free press." He commented further that "no religious teaching, community, or institution should be held immune from criticism simply because of its religious nature."

Three articles will be published alongside the cartoons. In the first, Flynn will trace the controversy and explain the magazine's decision to publish them. A second, by R. Joseph Hoffmann, director of the Council for Secular Humanism's Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion, will present further commentary; the last will be on the history of the Prophet Muhammad.

Four of the original twelve cartoons are to be published: the image of Muhammad wearing a bomb with its fuse lit as a turban, another claimed to show horns coming out of the Prophet's turban, Muhammad [or an Imam] greeting suicide bombers in heaven, and one showing a male face on a Muslim with Islam's star and crescent. Flynn said this last cartoon "is included as an example of how the collection's less sharply focused entries fell flat."

Arif Desai, Imam of the Islamic Society of Niagara Frontier in Amherst, New York, said that the Muslim community felt sorrow over the magazine's decision to publish the cartoons.

"We feel sorrow, we feel hurt and insulted as these are very disturbing, insulting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Obviously, we know and believe in freedom of speech, but along with freedom of speech comes responsibility," said Desai.

The cartoons will be published next week on March 15, 2006.