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OPINIONS 101: Quershi to Cartoonist: "You go squish now"

February 17, 2006

It’s every cartoonist’s dream. One-million dollars for a cartoon you’ve drawn. Lot of money for one drawing and it’ll buy so many things—new car, new house, trip to Martha’s Vineyard. There’s just one catch—the money isn’t going to you, it’s going to your assassin.

In what has become the socio-spiritual-poltical equivalent of the OJ Simpson trial, there’s a new twist to the furor over The Cartoon That Launched a Thousand Wasted Hours and Countless Deaths. I’m by no means implying that the Eastern Muslims are lazy, of course, but they do seem to have a lot of free time on their hands to vent opposition.

You’ve probably read or heard about this, though in case you slept in late, a Pakistani cleric has offered a $1 MILLION DOLLAR bounty to the person or persons who assassinate the cartoonist who drew the Prophet Muhammad caricatures. And you thought Darth Vader’s Empire paid well.

Demonstrations and protests have been occuring across the East for several weeks with growing momentum. In Hong Kong, thousands rallied across the country today and authorities arrested numerous protesters. As demonstrations continue throughout the Eastern world, police have placed another Islamist leader under house detention fearing that religious radicals would incite more deadly protests following Friday prayers. This week alone the cartoon-related deaths grew by five in Pakistan (including a child who was caught in the crossfire between police and protesters) amidst protests and rallies in which merchant shops were ransacked, torched, and otherwise ruined.

Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi, prayer leader at the historic Mohabat Khan mosque in the conservative northwestern city of Peshawar, has announced the mosque and the Jamia Ashrafia religious school (over which he presides) is offering a $25,000 reward and a car to the indivudal who kills the notorious cartoonist who etched the prophet caricatures which, as we’ve all now learned, are regarded by Muslims as blasphemous. He also stated that a local jewelers’ association is offering a $1 million bounty. Is it me, or can you almost see the Muslim equivalents of Bob Barker and Johnny Olson standing on stage before a studio audience?
“Tell them what else they’ve won, Johnny.”
“Certainly, Bob. One-million dollars, and a NEW CAR!”

Following Friday’s prayer service, Qureshi told an estimated 1,000 persons outside the mosque that “This is a unanimous decision of by all imams [prayer leaders] of Islam that whoever insults the prophet deserves to be killed and whoever will take this insulting man to his end, will get this prize.” To clarify the statement for the less-intelligent Westerners, Qureshi answered that the message to blashpemers is, “We kill you now.”

Qureshi didn’t name any cartoonist and he appeared to be unaware that twelve different illustrators had drawn the satirical sketches. The crowd outside the mosque, never shy of matches, butane lighters, or material to burn, torched a Danish flag and an effigy of the Danish prime minister, roasting marshmallows and making s’mores for the younger participants. When asked by reporters from the World Press Corps, “Where do you find effigies of the Danish and other prime ministers?” Qureshi proudly cited www.Danisheffigies.com as the primary source for the items, an e-store in which he, coincidentally, is a principal partner.

A member of the United Press Association asked Qureshi if he expected the guilty cartoonist to surrender voluntarily so that they could exist harmoniously. His reply was short and stoic.
“No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.”
Qureshi then apparently laughed maniacally before unleashing a 975-megaton atomic bomb that he purportedly intends to “shove up the tuckas” of the insurgent illustrator.

When approached by a FOX executive about developing the cartoonist hunt into a reality show, a myopic Qureshi shrugged and said, "Talk to my agent."

There’s a lesson for all cartoonists to learn here: Do not insult anyone’s diety. Of course, if you absolutely MUST ridicule, poke fun at, or otherwise blasphemy a God, just make sure it’s one whose followers are Starbucks-drinking slackers. Your work may not garner as much attention, but you’ll likely live a lot longer.

"SHOP!" he said, enthusiastically.

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