Canadian newspaper withdraws cartoon after complaints from Muslim community

Canadian newspaper withdraws cartoon after complaints from Muslim community
Photo: Clinton Davis

On 17 August, the French-language Canadian newspaper L'Acadie Nouvelle de New Brunswick, who declares himself as an "independent media since 1984", published this cartoon by Marcel Boudreau that some considered Islamophobic and racist.

Boudreau's cartoon shows a caveman dragging a woman by grabbing her by the hair and is associated with an image of a turbaned man using a leash to pull a burqa-clad woman, all under the headline "Evolution?"

The image was immediately removed from the newspaper's website leaving only its trace in the paper's print copies of Wednesday 17 August.

According to agency and media reports, several people expressed their dissatisfaction with the publication of the cartoon. Hafsah Mohamed, a Moncton activist, said that the cartoon "objectifying and degrading Muslim women"

Olivier Hussein, also an activist, considers the cartoon objectionable and believes the cartoonist should "apologise to the Muslim community in Moncton."

For Ivan Okello:

"The image points to rhetoric that harms minority communities, especially those of Muslim origin or descent."

Other criticisms point to the lack of context, the abuse of stereotypes and the danger of spreading hate messages.

Clinton Davis asks:

"What is this - simple political satire? Or racist?

"...And while I can't speak to the intent of the artists, as there is no clear message here, it is all too easy to interpret it as highly inappropriate, racist and hateful. We question the logic of those who participated in the creation and those who allowed it to be published".

In response, Francis Sonnier, editor and CEO of the newspaper L'Acadie Nouvelle, told Global News in French:

"The cartoon was a commentary on the behaviour of the Taliban in a specific part of the world, Afghanistan. Nothing more.

Sonnier added that he had accepted an invitation to a meeting with the people who had complained to the newspaper in writing to discuss the publication of the cartoon and the issues surrounding it.

I have not been able to find the cartoonist's opinion on the matter, as he apparently decided to pass on the matter

Some media outlets and websites decided to illustrate their reports on the controversy using the censored cartoon.

Screenshots from Global News

Humour in trouble, collection of cases (III)
Cases of cartoonists who have had problems of some importance because of their cartoons or satirical illustrations. There are also some stories of other people who, without being cartoonists, have got into trouble for sharing them.

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