The Chicago Tribune published a cartoon Saturday July, 8 2016 depicting and equating ISIS to Islam.
A call to action was sent to the Muslim community by CIOGC and the following Letters to the Editor of the Chicago Tribune have been published to their website:
A Tribune cartoon does a disservice to Muslims
The man shown prostrating (in a Michael Ramirez cartoon published in Saturday’s Tribune) is not a depiction of ISIS, so the cartoonist had to write ISIS on his clothes. Had the cartoonist worked with a picture that does depict ISIS — for example, the beheading of James Foley — he wouldn’t need an identification.
The cartoon, instead, maligns 1.6 billion Muslims around the world by associating ISIS with a praying Muslim and by associating prostration with the most degraded condition of a human being. The position of prostration is well known as the position of Muslim prayer. Muslims readily put their head down on the ground in front of their creator. Muslims regard that as a position that brings them closest to God. Muslims take that position not just in designated worships but also when they seek something special from God. The cartoon does a great disservice to Muslims and promotes further Islamophobia.
Had the cartoonist chosen another depiction of human in the degraded position and associated ISIS with it, most Muslims would have no problems with it and would applaud it. We hope that this erroneous cartoon by an experienced and decorated cartoonist does not reflect his own bias against Islam and Muslims.
— Mohammed Kaiseruddin, chairman, Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago
Maturity needed when commenting on religion
— Tariq Laliwala, Morton Grove
For Muslims, faith does not mix with terror
Five times a day, I put my forehead to the ground several times in the ultimate gesture of love and longing to God Almighty. Hundreds and millions of Muslims do that around the world; this includes about 3.3 million Muslim Americans.
I was saddened to see Michael Ramirez’s cartoon on Saturday showing a person in that position with “ISIS” written on his clothes. Muslims face a twin challenge of refuting the Islamic State and debunking Islamophobes. Your cartoon associates an ultimate gesture of our faith with the horrible terror of the Islamic State. These things are becoming a part of the bullying Muslim students face in public schools.
— Abdul Malik Mujahid, Hazel Crest
A Tribune cartoon missed the key symbolism
I, and I am certain most Muslims, would agree with the suggestion that the Islamic State is a backward evolution of humanity. But it is not the form of prayer, shared by the majority of its victims (Muslims), that makes the Islamic State lower than apes; rather, it is its violent ideology of hate.
Toward that end, cartoonist Michael Ramirez could have depicted the Islamic State figure crouching down in combat with a rifle in hand, or about to detonate a bomb, thus making the key distinction clear. Instead, he chose symbolism (prostration in prayer) that is not only representative of all Muslims, but also of the greatest biblical figures, including Abraham, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, David, the elders of Israel and, yes, even Jesus, all of whose prayer the bible describes as “falling on their faces” to the ground in worship.
We are tired of the conflation of all Muslims with the Islamic State. The Islamic State kills multiple times more Muslims than anyone else. More Muslims than followers of any other faith give life and limb on the battleground fighting the Islamic State. Commentators need to vilify the uniqueness of the Islamic State, not the features that it happens to have in common with the more than 1.5 billion people who not only detest them, but die fighting them.
Ramirez seems to understand that the Islamic State could still be deemed lower than apes “despite” them being human, not because of it. Can he understand that they could also be deemed so, “despite” them being Muslim, not because of it?
— Ahmed M. Rehab, executive director, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Chicago