Egypt has banned an edition of the Wall Street Journal because it ran an illustration of the prophet Muammed that the Egyptian authorities found offensive.
On February 15 the Journal published my commentary to the foiled murder plot against catoonist Kurt Westergaard who has been in hiding for the past three months. The oped was illustrated with a photograph showing the front pages of Danish newspapers that republished Westergaard’s cartoon depicting Muhammed with a bomb in his turban. The cartoon was on many of the papers’s front page, so readers were able to identify it in the Journal.
According to a statement on the Journal’s website no one told the newspaper about the decision by the Egypt government.
“We have not received any notification from the Egyptian government about its banning of sales of the Journal in Egypt,” a spokesman said.
Brand Republic reports from London that the Observer and two German newspapers, Die Welt and Frankfurter Allgemeine, also have been removed from newsstands in Egypt.
Egypt’s information minister said in a statement published by the Middle East News Agency:
“Any newspaper or magazine which publishes anything offensive to the prophet and reprints the offensive caricatures of the prophet or anything offensive to the three heavenly religions will be banned.”
I remind you that an Egyptian newspaper in October 2005 published eight of Jyllands-Posten’s cartoons without any reaction from the authorities or the public.
In fact, this is the first time one of the major American newspapers showed Westergaard’s cartoon. Great! All the news that fit to print.