Monday, April 7, 2008

CAIR’s war on Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist

BEHOLD! CAIR’s dreaded cartoon of blasphemy (courtesy IBD)

Today editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez of Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) won a Pulitzer Prize today — his second — for editorial cartooning. (See IBD’s write-up and Editor & Publisher’s article)

CAIR will not be pleased with this development since it was just a few months ago that they launched a nationwide campaign against Ramirez for his cartoon (above) criticizing Iranian involvement in the spread of terror and extremism across the Middle East. As reported by Central Ohioans Against Terrorism, the trouble began when the Columbus Dispatch published Ramirez’s cartoon.

CAIR immediately fired up their Microsoft Outlook and issued an action alert (conveniently now removed from their website) entitled, “Incitement: Cartoon Portrays Iranians as Cockroaches Fleeing Sewer”, stating:

Send polite comments about this Nazi-style cartoon depicting Iranians as roaches fleeing a sewer to:,

This might strike the average reader as a bit hypocritical, as CAIR has not said a single word about the avalanche of racist hate cartoons published throughout the Islamic world; then again, CAIR has never had much of a problem with its hypocrisy.

But let’s leave that aside for a moment and focus on the fact that CAIR substantially misrepresented the cartoon. Ramirez clearly did not have all Iranians themselves in mind, as the cockroaches are streaming from a grate emblazoned with the word “extremism”.

And did CAIR really believe that these “cockroaches” were “fleeing” Iran, as if Ramirez was saying that Iranian refugees were insects? No, but to grant the obvious meaning wouldn’t make for nearly as compelling an action alert. And how many times do they get to use the “Nazi” label against someone demonstrating anti-dhimmitude sentiments? Another possible explanation, of course, is that CAIR doesn’t believe that Iran, “Axis of Evil” member and state sponsor of terrorism, isn’t spreading extremism. (For some background of Iran’s spreading terrorism and extremism, see today’s Washington Times editorial, “Tehran’s murderous role”.)

So why might CAIR be so touchy about criticism of the Iranian regime?

Oh, that’s right!

Yes, that would be CAIR’s Executive Director Nihad Awad and national vice-chairman Ahmad Al-Akhras playing hostess for Iranian Ayatollah Khatami at a September 2006 CAIR fundraiser, a photo that was prominently displayed on the opening page of CAIR’s 2006 Annual Report. (For more details on CAIR’s fundraiser featuring Ayatollah Khatami, the godfather of the Hezbollah terrorist organization, see this post: “A Smile and Handshake for the Iranian Dictator”.)

In a rare display of anti-dhimmitude, the usually obeisant Columbus Dispatch rejected the argument of their Islamic overlords by issuing the following response to CAIR’s complaints raising these very points:

Dear sir or madame:

Thank you for writing to The Dispatch.

You apparently are responding to a call from the Council of American-Islamic relations to write to me and to cartoonist Michael Ramirez to complain about a cartoon about the Iraqi regime’s support of violent extremists and terrorists throughout the Middle East.

CAIR claims the cartoon demeans all Iranians as cockroaches. But since the drain cover depicted in the cartoon is clearly labeled with “Iran” and “extremism” it is clear that the cartoon refers only to those elements of the Iranian regime who support extremism. In other words, it doesn’t come close to labeling all Iranians as cockroaches.

CAIR also likens the cartoon to Nazi propaganda. This is a remarkable display of intellectual gymnastics. Iranian President Ahmadinejad has called for the destruction of the Jewish state and questions the Holocaust, while his regime tries to develop nuclear weapons. If CAIR is truly concerned about the promotion of Nazi ideas and the use of Nazi methods, it should direct its attention to Tehran.

CAIR’s claims that its mission is to promote understanding of Islam and combat anti-Islamic information and anti-Islamic attitudes. That’s an honorable mission when it is directed at legitimate grievances.

In this case, CAIR has misrepresented this cartoon and missed the mark by fabricating a false grievance.

All the best,

Glenn Sheller
Editorial Page Editor
The Columbus Dispatch

Congrats to Michael Ramirez! Your artistry and commentary are greatly appreciated.

Thank you.