Letters: Cartoon struck sensitive nerve

In the aftermath of the Danish cartoon controversy, it may be tempting to conclude that as a group, we Muslims can’t enjoy a good joke, particularly when it comes at our own expense.  However, in an era of racial profiling, no-fly lists, and security certificates, it should come as no surprise that jokes conflating Islam with terrorism tend to strike a sensitive nerve.

Caricatures linking Muslims and terrorists, such as the cartoon published in the Feb. 1 edition of the Law Times, serve to cement negative stereotypes that far too often result in harmful consequences.

While we appreciate that the cartoon was meant to be satirical, we would be remiss if we failed to point out that for too many, such jokes are just not funny.
Nafisah Chowdhury,
Canadian Muslim
Lawyers Association, Toronto

A LITTLE HELP HERE - WHAT'S THE PUNCHLINE?
While no longer solely relegated to sidebars or as the villain in many pop-culture representations, Islam and Muslims are still, for the most part, alien to a large part of the population whose only contact with them comes in their weekly instalment of Little Mosque on the Prairie.

What this show and others demonstrate is that, far from not having a sense of humour, many Muslims can and do get jokes that are made about them.

However, in the cartoon published in the Feb. 1 edition of the Law Times, it’s not clear what the intended joke is. Read one way, it can be a fair, if unclear, commentary comparing some aspects of the current terrorism trials to clown trials. Read another way, it could be construed as conflating Muslims and Islam with terrorism and even women wearing the niqab (face veils) with clowns.

Both assertions are highly inaccurate as well as offensive.
If the purpose of satirical cartoons is to poke fun and make a point about the subject, then please let us in on the punchline.
Ihsaan Gardee, executive director,
Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations,

Ottawa

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