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BANGLADESH CARTOON CONFUSION

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On Friday 09/21/2007 a leading Bangla-language newspaper published a cartoon in which, during a conversation between a Mullah (Preacher) and a small child, the child called his cat “Muhammad” – the name of the prophet.

Islam is Bangladesh’s state religion and past governments have banned publications insulting Muslims.

Although demonstrations are officially banned under the country’s state of emergency, after Friday prayers, hundreds of protesters from the Baitul Mokarram Mosque tried to break through barricades in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital,  put up to prevent them from reaching the “Prothom Alo” publishing offices responsible for distributing the weekly satirical magazine, Alpin, where the cartoon was published.     

The demonstrators demanded the execution of Alpin’s editor, Matiur Rahman, and burned effigies of him and his Bengali-language daily. The cartoonist, Arifur Rahman, was already arrested on 09/17/2007 and sentenced for a month in jail after the government said his drawings had insulted Muslims.

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