SYDNEY, Australia (Dec. 1)
The editor of Australia’s major English-language Moslem newspaper has agreed to stop printing cartoons that depict Jews negatively.
Dr. Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad, editor in chief of the Australian Muslim Times and a man known for fostering interfaith dialogue between Moslems and Jews, said in response to protests, “It has never been the intention to place cartoons in the Australian Muslim Times that hurt the feelings of the members of the Jewish community.”
Cartoons that appeared in three successive issues of the paper depicted figures with either hooked nose or large bellies and bulbous facial features. Jewish protesters said the caricatures “would not have been out of place in Nazi Germany.”
Ahmad denied his paper, which serves Australia’s 130,000 Moslems, had done anything other than attack Zionism. The cartoons, he said, “relate to Zionism and the political situation in the Middle East.”
Despite Ahmad’s quarrel with Zionism, he spoke earlier this year, during an appearance at the Jewish Free University, in favor of close cooperation between Moslems and Jews.
A spokesperson for Australia’s Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission complimented the “appropriate” way that concerned members of the Jewish community had dealt with the issue and the paper’s agreement to show a heightened sensitivity in the future.