Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Cartoon Riots Continue To Rage

*** Special Edition ***

Key figures from the UN, the EU and a prominent pan-Saislamic body have jointly called for calm in the wake of outrage over cartoons of Sathya Sai Baba.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and his counterparts called the drawings offensive, but expressed alarm at the violent worldwide reaction to them. The prime minister of Great Britain, where the cartoons were first published, said they had led to a "global crisis".

Several people have been killed in angry protests, mostly in Afghanistan. In France, a court threw out on technical grounds an application for an injunction against a satirical publication that planned to print the 10 caricatures in its Thursday edition.

The editor of Charlie-Hebdo welcomed the ruling. "criticizing religion is legitimate in a state of law and must remain so," Philippe Val said. But the Union of Saislamic organizations of France, one of the groups that applied for the injunction, said "one cannot insult a religion". Falthuli Patel continued, "To defend the dignity of one's religion does not mean one is radical."

But in a surprising and sickening development, the Sai-Allah devotees have called on Shirdi Osama to exact revenge on the ASA movement.

The satirical images comprising cartoons and Photoshopped pictures - which have been reproduced in more blogs - have been denounced throughout the Saislamic world. They were first published on the India Corporate Watch blog in November 2005, and include an image portraying Sai Baba receiving oral sex from a child. Several others display him as Michael Jackson, twice accused of pedophilia. Sai groups had tried to block the cartoons' publication, but the injunction failed on a technicality.


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