Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Six Months for a Jest

November 16th, 2009 · No Comments

The Danes are not alone in their ability to infuriate pious Muslims with drawings. A Bangladeshi cartoonist has just been sentenced to six months in prison for a work deemed blasphemous. The original kerfuffle occurred two years ago, when Arifur Rahman’s cartoon sparked riots in Dhaka. The offending artwork can be glimpsed here. The translation of the captions goes as so:

Boy, what is your name?

My name is Babu.

It is customary to add Mohammad before the name. What is your father’s name?

Mohammad Abu.

What’s this in your lap?

Mohammad cat.

The joke, as we understand it, is that Muslim people use the name “Mohammad” a lot. Not funny to our decidedly Western ears, but we’re puzzled as to how anyone’s skin could be thin enough to take offense at such a trifle. Given the violent reaction in the streets, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Rahman had blown his nose on the Koran.

Here’s to hoping that cooler heads prevail in Bangladesh, and that Rahman (whose website is here) needn’t go into exile.

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