The Cartoons! The Cartoons!

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They just won’t go away.

In Sweden, the “row” has entangled the foreign minister and she got herself in such a nasty fix the only way out was to quit:

The row about cartoons of the prophet Muhammad yesterday claimed the career of Sweden’s foreign minister, who resigned after allegations that she shut down a far-right website for soliciting new caricatures. Laila Freivalds, who succeeded the popular Anna Lindh after she was stabbed to death in 2003, said she could no longer continue in the face of intense media criticism. Opponents said Ms Freivalds, 63, broke Sweden’s strict freedom of speech laws when her department allegedly took steps to close down a website that was trying to publish fresh cartoons of Muhammad.

And in Great Britain, a church magazine editor lost his job for a most innocent cartoon depiction of the Prophet.

A senior Anglican priest resigned yesterday as editor of a Welsh language church magazine after publishing a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad. The Venerable Meurig Llwyd Williams, archdeacon of Bangor, included the drawing, reprinted from the French newspaper Le Soir, in Y Llan, which has a circulation of 400. It showed Muhammad sitting on a heavenly cloud with God and Buddha and being told: “Don’t complain – we’ve all been caricatured here.”

Members of the Church in Wales said yesterday it was ironic that the cartoon had been used to illustrate an article calling for tolerance between members of the Abrahamaic religions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) on the basis of their common roots.

All copies of Y Llan (“Church”) will now be collected and destroyed.

Mr Williams’s use of the drawing was denounced as “a gross error of judgment” by the Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan. “The article was perfectly OK, but for some reason the editor decided to print one of these cartoons,” he told the BBC. “It no way reflects the policy of the Church in Wales and when I saw it I was horrified. We recalled all the papers, I personally picked up some from some churches, and they have all been pulped.”

… “A letter from [Dr Morgan] was sent to all the publication’s subscribers last week requesting that they return their copies. The archbishop has also been in touch with the leaders of the Muslim community in Wales to proffer an apology for any offence caused.”

Saleem Kidwai, general secretary of the Muslim Council of Wales, said Dr Morgan had telephoned him immediately to say sorry and had apologised again at a face-to-face meeting.

Lovely, truly lovely. I suspect my Welsh Quaker ancestors, who held their freedom and their faith as dear as their lives, would be infurated at such self-castration masquerading as tolerance.

Meanwhile, frequent commenter Probligo notes on his own blog a case of a New Zealand TV outlet deciding not to run the “South Park” episode mocking Catholicism.

The outlet’s CEO says:

“We have detected a shift in the public’s perspective on matters of a religious nature. As a result, we have reviewed our internal processes for dealing with religious programmes, particularly in relation to religious satire.”

Anyone care to guess what that “shift in the public’s perspectives” might be a result of?

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