Malaysian newspaper suspended due to offensive Jesus picture

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Malaysian newspaper Makkal Osai has been placed under governmental suspension from publishing for a month, due to its publication on Tuesday, August 21, of a picture of Jesus Christ holding a cigarette and a can of beer.

Although the Tamil-language newspaper apologized on Thursday, August 23rd, saying that a graphic artist had erred in downloading the picture from the Internet, some in Malaysia's minority religions drew a comparison to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy that erupted in 2005 over a Danish paper's publication of cartoons that many Muslims felt insulted Islam and the prophet Muhammad.

The altered picture has been traced by a blogger called "Gateway Pundit" to an April 2007 post on a blog called "Religion Makes Me Laugh." The name of the post where the altered image appears is "Top Ten Reasons Why Beer Is Better Than Jesus."

It has been noted that this apparently unwitting use of a satirical Internet graphic bears a similarity to a 2001 news story in which protesters supporting Osama bin Laden were found to have unknowingly used an altered image of bin Laden that included a picture of Bert, the Sesame Street muppet, by his side.