Hindu American Foundation Condemns Blasphemous Muslim Cartoons

TAMPA, Fl (Feb. 7, 2006) - The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) condemned today a collection of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed that were first published by a Danish newspaper.

Twelve cartoons, including one that depicted the Prophet Mohammed hiding a bomb under his turban, were first printed on September 30, 2005 in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and have since appeared in various newspapers in Europe, the United States, New Zealand and Jordan. Muslims around the world have been outraged by these illustrations. Several Muslim groups held boycotts and protests, some that were violent and led to several fatalities. Cartoonists and newspaper editors have received multiple death threats.

"Though as Americans we are committed to freedom of speech and expression, cartoonists and their editors demonstrated a monumental lapse in judgment at best, and outright bigotry at worst," said Mihir Meghani, President of the Hindu American Foundation. "As a Hindu, having experienced painful depictions of my faith in this country, I can relate to the protests by the Muslim world, but violence is simply not an acceptable solution."

HAF has previously engaged several media outlets in the United States and Europe for inflammatory and vulgar depictions of Hindu symbols and sacred beliefs. Recent accounts in the American press depicted Hindus as cannibals, believers in "capricious gods" and adherents of mythical religious texts.

Aseem Shukla, Member of the HAF Board of Directors, added, "In the age of globalization, it is especially important that mainstream media, rather than being the cause of undue provocation, works with religious minorities to promote tolerance and mutual understanding of cultural sensitivities."