One dead over a cartoon is absurd, but international panic, death threats, and tens of thousands protesting indicates something very, very wrong.
So naturally, the cartoonist was forced to censor himself.
A popular Japanese cartoon is sparking off outcries in the Muslim world where some fear it could fuel a backlash not seen since European papers carried cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed and a Dutch lawmaker released a controversial film earlier this year.
Shueisha Inc, a Japanese publisher involved in the production of the cartoon ‘‘JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’’ and its animation version, suspended sales of some of the original comics and the DVD series Thursday, but said the material was not intended to be offensive.
At issue is a 90-second segment from “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure,” which depicts Dio Brando, a villain, picking up a Quran from a bookshelf and apparently examining it as he orders the execution of the hero and his friends.I couldn't find the clip in question, but here's a sample of Dio Brando.
The animated movie is based on the wildly popular comic book by Hirohiko Araki, which has been carried in Shonen Jump, a weekly magazine, from 1987 to 2003. The cartoon series’ pirated version with Arabic subtitles has been distributed on websites since March 2007.
After a viewer posted negative comments and the still scene, it sparked off more protests. Eventually responses were carried on more than 300 Arab and Islamic Web forums with some accusing Japan of insulting the Quran.
Sheikh Abdul Hamid Attrash, chairman of the Fatwa (religious edict)
Committee at Al-Azhar, the highest Sunni authority based in Cairo, dismissed the cartoon as an insult to Islam.
‘‘This scene depicts Muslims as terrorists, which is not true at all,’’ he said. ‘‘This is an insult to the religion and the producers would be considered to be enemies of Islam.’’Now for the self censorship.
In responding to the accusation, the Shueisha official explained that it was ‘‘a simple mistake.’’ ‘‘Neither the original comic nor the animation intends to treat Muslims as villains. But as a result, the cartoon offended Muslims.’’ said the official. ‘‘We apologize for the unpleasantness that the cartoon may have caused and will carefully consider how to deal with religious and culture themes.’’
Update: We now Have an image thanks to commenter B and Japan Probe.