As a cartoonist with over 30 years' experience, I am outraged by the way cartoons are being used to inflame a world religion.
Freedom of speech does not give us the right to ridicule, to flaunt power, or to invent explosive cover stories for the sake of sensationalism.
Freedom of speech allows a controversial point of view to be published. If this point of view is derogatory, is it "free speech" to then publish it again and again and again?
Like pornography, inappropriate material can be found if inquisitive people want to find it. I am therefore appalled by the lack of respect and total disregard for human life-- all for the sake of a headline.
People who wear the apparel of their faith live their faith 24 hours a day as a statement of their constant and unwavering devotion. Comedy and sarcasm of our concept of God may not be liked by many, but we have a history of tolerating it.
They do not. Can we not respect this deeply religious way of life?
I believe these cartoons have a right to exist. The media does not have the right to use them callously in the name of freedom. Freedom for whom? If one innocent person dies because of this capricious incident, publishers must accept the blame.
On behalf of conscientious humorists and illustrators worldwide, I want to say to the nation of people who have been understandably offended – an apology is due. This is not comedy. If a cartoon or a statement causes such pain, it enters the category of hate literature and should be treated as such.
Laughter is a language we can all understand. For the sake of decency and good taste – stop reprinting this inflammatory image and allow a people already in crisis to heal.