Rev. Lobenstine: Printing Cartoons Like Shouting Fire in a Crowded Theatre

February 17, 2006


On February 17, 2006 reported, "Cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammed in a negative light were so offensive to Muslims around the world that their publication was tantamount to yelling "fire" in a crowded theater, according to a participant at a panel discussion sponsored by the Council for American Islamic Relations.

'We live in a world that is a crowded theater,' the Rev. Clark Lobenstine, president of the Interfaith Conference, said. He urged media discretion in dealing with the controversy surrounding a dozen cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed that were first printed in a Danish newspaper last September.

'It's not about freedom of the press, it's about discretion,' Lobenstine said.

Since their publication on Sept. 30, 2005, the cartoons have caused riots and the deaths of about 20 people. The Danish and Norwegian embassies have been burned in Syria and Lebanon.

'There is only one purpose to these cartoons --to incite hatred,' said Parvez Ahmed, board chairman of the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR). 'Muslim outrage is justified, but violence is not justified.'"