Thursday, September 20, 2007

Not everyone thinks cartoons are funny

This was a story on the front page of our Daily Star newspaper this morning. I haven't seen the cartoon myself, but here's what I've heard:

A little background: In Bangladesh people have anywhere from 2 to 5 names. In the west, we usually have 1-2 given names and 1-2 family names. Here, all Muslim names are given names. Frequently, the first given name for males is Mohammad, after the name of the prophet who founded Islam. Mohammad Rafiqul Islam or Mohammad Jahangir Hossain, for example.
The incident: The cartoon reportedly depicted a man talking with a young boy. He asked the young boy, 'What is your father's name?, What is your mother's name?, What is your brother's name?', and so on. The answers all begin with 'Mohammad....'. When the man asks about the name of the boy's cat, the answer also starts with 'Mohammad'. Apparently, suggesting that a cat would be named after the prophet was offensive enough to get the cartoonist thrown in jail. We have also been advised by the US Embassy to avoid all mosques tomorrow because they're expecting protests.

Bangladesh is still struggling with issues like freedom of speech. Bangladeshis typically love satire- especially when it's aimed at politicians- but it's clear that religion is still a very touchy topic.

Highlights from our lives this week:

Lily suffered from viral conjunctivitis. There's a massive outbreak going on in Dhaka now.

Odin played at home most of the week, happy as a clam.

Eric is enjoying being back in a regular workout routine post-baby.

After a couple of sleepless nights with Lily, I'm looking forward to the weekend!


Elaine Blakeley said...

Emily, love your rules! sounds exactly like Casablanca, and I drive here. Crazy. now that it's Ramadan it's even scarier, is it for you? what do they eat to break the fast there?

Eline said...

Hi Emily
The issue of freedom of speech is on the agenda here in Norway because of cartoons portraying the prophet as well:) Interesting to read your blog about it happening in Dhaka.