Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Dubai newspaper says sorry for Prophet companion cartoon

The Dubai-based Emarat Al Youm has run a 'clarification' after the Foreign Minster, Sheikh Abdullah, demanded an apology for a cartoon that denigrated a companion of the Prophet.

DUBAI // A Dubai based newspaper has apologised today for publishing a cartoon that was regarded as denigrating a companion of the prophet.

"We would like to apologise for publishing the cartoon drawn by cartoonist Imad Hajaj, particularly those segments the readers considered offensive to the companion Wahshi," the Emarat Al Youm newspaper, owned by Dubai Media Incorporated, said.

The apology was issued after the Foreign Minster, Sheikh Abdullah, demanded an apology for the cartoon published on Wednesday. The cartoon contained two images, one captioned "Syrian drama", the other "historical drama".

In the first image, Bashar Al Assad, the Syrian president, is depicted as throwing a spear at Hamza Al Khatib, a 13-year-old boy tortured and killed by Syrian authorities last year.

The other image depicts Wahshi, a former slave, killing Hamza, the Prophet's uncle, with a spear - an action for which he was freed by his master and later forgiven by the Prophet after his conversion to Islam.

Both images bear the sentence "Wahshi killed Hamza". "Wahshi" means "a brutal person".

However, the paper said the use of historical events was a common practice in media organisations as it gave the cartoonist the space to express his ideas. It added that the use of imagination and exaggeration was legitimate and acceptable.

"We understand the feelings of the readers, who were provoked by this comparison, as he converted to Islam at a later stage and due to his role in the battles carried out by Muslims," the clarification says.

However, the paper goes on to explain that the comparison in the cartoon was not intended to be between two people, but was more an effort to capture the act of killing in both cases and its effect on the human soul and even in the soul of the prophet, where he told Wahshi after he converted to Islam; “You killed Hamza, Can you not show your face in my presence”, the same pain which was felt by people over the boy Hamza.

The cartoonist wanted to use this historical moment to indicate the brutality of what is happening in Syria, it said. "We assure the reader that irony and sarcasm on historical or religious personalities has never been the paper's approach. We would like to apologise for publishing it..." the newspaper said.

It is not clear if the newspaper will face any repercussions considering Sheikh Abdullah had tweeted that the paper should be held liable even after apologising. "Apologising does not drop the public right to claim from Emarat Al Youm," he tweeted early on Thursday morning, referring to a legal term where a court case cannot be dropped except by the Public Prosecution.

WIssa1@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Lionel Richie performed many of his hits from the 1970s and 1980s at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. Jaime Puebla / The National

Lionel Richie dishes out the hits to Dubai crowd

At his Dubai concert on Thursday, Richie greeted the audience with “Yalla habibi” – a statement of intent as his energy rarely let up.

Tyrese reunited with Fazza

Tyrese today posted on his social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) his pleasure at being reunited with the Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

 Falconry is an activity where they demonstrate how falcons catch prey while flying at a speed of almost 360 kilometres per hour. Mona Al-Marzooqi / The National

In pictures: Adventure in the desert at Abu Dhabi's Qasr Al Sarab

Mohammad Ashfaq, an adventure guide at the Qasr Al Sarab resort, Abu Dhabi, showcases a day in his working life.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 An Egyptian Orthodox Christian priest give communion during the Palm Sunday service inCairo, Egypt. Mohamed El-Shahed / AFP

Region in focus - April 18, 2014

The best images of the last seven days from around the Gulf and across the Middle East.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National