This Friday the Organisation against Islamophobia in Belgium (CCIB – Collectif contre l’Islamophobie en Belgique) called for the creation of cartoons mocking Islamophobia in a bid to respond in a positive manner to the controversial cartoons published after the summer holidays in the Het Belang Van Limburg and De Gazet Van Antwerpen newspapers. The Het Belang Van Limburg cartoon shows a Kindergarten pupil shouting “Allahu akbaaaar” as he slits a teddy bear’s throat. Another one depicts a playground with a pupil wielding a bomb, just back from a holiday in Syria. The CCIB notes that the papers have apologised. However it highlights that by focussing on Muslim children and portraying them as murderers, these caricatures contribute to the “racist perception” of Islam and feed a serious xenophobic conflation.
Faced with growing Islamophobia, the CCIB believes that media and creators must understand the impact of their work and how it can contribute to reactions of hate and rejection. “Fighting Islamophobia is complicated and we must bounce back after events such as these,” said Hajib El Hajjaji, CCIB Vice-President. “Our call is trying to send the following message to cartoonists: we treasure your talent. Please use it to help us all live together. It is a powerful means of making people think about the consequences of Islamophobia in our society. We think is this the best answer there is.”
The call is directed first and foremost to media professionals, but also fans. It is in harmony with the #ISLAMOPHOBIA21 (Fight Islamophobia Week) from September 11th to 21st.
Christopher Vincent (Source: Belga)