ALL THE RAGE – VICTIM OF US BLOGGERS’ CARTOON HITS BACK
Thousands of miles away in the US, the two bloggers who re-imagined Mr Bhat as a cartoon character have put Islamic Rage Boy on T-shirts, beer mugs, hoodies and Valentine cards in a variety of bloodthirsty and furious poses, and copyrighted it.
The bushy beard, scowl and crooked nose bear an uncanny resemblance to Mr Bhat, but his creators deny the image is Islamophobic or based directly on him. . .
A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Ibrahim Hooper, is unconvinced. Mr Hooper says: “I find the term Islamic Rage Boy offensive, as would anyone who applied the term to their own faith. It’s an Islamophobic product by Muslim-bashers on internet hate sites.”
He compares the cartoon to the anti-semitic imagery of 1930s Nazi Germany. “The cartoon is part of an overall growth of anti-Muslim rhetoric in this country. Someone is trying to link Islam with violence and anger and profiting from it.”
He quotes a recent Newsweek poll, which paints a complicated portrait of US attitudes towards Muslims: 63% of Americans surveyed believe most Muslims do not condone violence and 40% believe the Koran does not condone violence, but 28% believe it does and 41% felt Muslim culture glorifies suicide.
Mr Hooper says: “While the majority is not hostile towards Muslims, there is a minority who are, and cartoons like this do not help. You cannot combat one form of extremism with another.”