Issue 282, Friday 26 October 2012 - 10 Dhu al-Hijjah 1433
Spanish magazine depicts Prophet Muhammad
By Elham Asaad Buaras
The Spanish satirical magazine El Jueves (Thursdays) became the latest magazine to publish a cartoon depicting Prophet Muhammad.
The Barcelona-based weekly featured a police line-up of brown bearded men in turbans with the headline ‘But how do they know which one is Muhammad?’ on its September 27 cover.
It is not known if El Jueves will face any legal action.
Earlier this summer a Christian group tried and failed to sue a left-wing folk singer under Article 525 of the Penal Code which covers crimes “against religious sensibility.” It was the first time the law was used.
The Tomás More Legal Studies Centre also lost its case against Javier Krahe for his 1978 spoof film which showed how to cook Jesus Christ ‘for two persons’. The Lo + Plus TV programme broadcast a clip on December 14, 2004.
Krahe was absolved of the crime because the judge believed the video was an artistic expression in criticizing the religious phenomenon not made with the intention to offend.
Referring to the recent infamous anti-Islam film The Innocence of Muslims, El Jueves Editor, Mayte Quílez, denied the cover actually portrayed the Prophet insisting his magazine “does not intend to portray Muhammad. It’s a parody of the situation we are experiencing.”
“If you can’t depict Muhammad, how do you know it is him in the cartoons?”
Quílez added that the magazine had not been notified of any possible consequences of the cover but according to the media, a day before the cartoon was published, the Spanish Embassy sent a message to its citizens in Egypt asking for caution in the event of any backlash from the El Jueves cartoon but has not said whether it will step up security in other Arab countries. “We’re still analysing what steps to take,” a Foreign Ministry source said.
This is not the first time the 35 year-old magazine has referred to drawings of Muhammad on its cover; in 2005 it paid tribute to the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten that published its own images of Muhammad. The headline depicted El Jueves’ mascot, a joker, saying, “We were going to draw Muhammad, but we shit ourselves!”
Two of El Jueves’s cartoonists Guillermo Torres and Manel Fontdevila were fined €3,000 each in 2007 under laws 490.3 and 491 on insults to the Crown.
The cartoon in question referred to a proposal of the Government, where €2,500 will be given to parents for each newborn child. As the Crown Prince Felipe has never held a paid job, the cartoonist depicted the Prince and his wife having sex, in which the caption said that if the Princess got pregnant and they got the money, it’s the closest he would ever come to working.
The magazine’s website was also briefly closed, but has since re-opened. On November 13, 2007, Torres and Fontdevila were found guilty of having offended the crown by vilifying “the crown in the most gratuitous and unnecessary way”.