x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Sheikh Abdullah demands apology for Prophet companion cartoon

A Dubai newspaper has said it will run a 'clarification' after the Foreign Minster, Sheikh Abdullah, demanded an apology for a cartoon that denigrated a companion of the Prophet.

ABU DHABI // A Dubai newspaper has said it will run a "clarification" after the Foreign Minster, Sheikh Abdullah, demanded an apology for a cartoon that denigrated a companion of the Prophet.

On Wednesday Emarat Al Youm, owned by Dubai Media Incorporated, ran a cartoon with 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".

But hundreds of people posted their objections to the cartoon on Twitter, with many pointing out that Wahshi repented and became a sahabi (a Prophet's companion), and that his act was committed in wartime and before his conversion. The Prophet said that once a person converts, all his previous actions are absolved.

After tweeting that the newspaper needed to apologise for the cartoon, Sheikh Abdullah later tweeted that it should be held liable even after apologising.

"Apologising does not drop the public right to claim from Emarat Al Youm," he tweeted early yesterday morning, referring to a legal term where a court case cannot be dropped except by the Public Prosecution.

A staff member at Emarat al Youm said the paper's editor-in-chief, Sami Alreyami, was out of the country and that a "clarification" would run today.

osalem@thenational.ae