Radio Netherlands Worldwide writes about this week of our joint project 360 Degrees. Read the original article in Arbic on the website of RNW.
For our 360 Degrees project, RNW asked people this week to tweet about the question: Freedom and religion – do they clash? Cartoonists from the Cartoon Movement network are drawing cartoons based on the tweets. The question was answered in many different ways.
Some people got angry with RNW for the first cartoon we posted on Facebook to invite reactions: a vote box surrounded by a crowd. “You are insulting the Ka’ba,” said one Facebook commenter. Turkish cartoonist Eray Özbek tells RNW why he drew this cartoon.
“I drew the cartoon in December 2011, because I shared the people's excitement with the expected democratic voting in the Islamic world,” he says. The artist, who is a Muslim himself, was surprised by the negative reactions. “It was not drawn to belittle anything, but to glorify democracy,” he explains. “The voting box itself is a respectable symbol, too. There is a referral to Ka'ba here for sure, but its surrounding doesn't look like Mecca; Casablanca was taken as the example.”
To this week’s question, Özbek answers that all disciplines clash with freedom, “from ideologies to religions, from ethic rules to kinds of education. It does even more if there is no tolerance.”
@MostafaAbdelf18 finds an easy way out: It might not clash and they might not even meet each other at all if we considered graffiti freedom and the eating of sheep religion.
Sure they do clash, says Nidal Fuad Abu-Younis: Religion is compliance and restriction and freedom is letting go… they surely contradict!
To Nada Younis, the boundaries of your freedom are the religion. It inspired Greek cartoonist Spiros Derveniotis to a cartoon he called “Ruligion”:
Other people say religion and freedom don’t clash at all. On the contrary, freedom is a genuine part of religion, say several commenters. Mustafa Elamin adds that Islam calls on freedom and justice and equality between people even if their religion or group are different.
The problem comes not with religion but with religious leaders, says Yehia Alkattan. Bernard Bouton then drew a “religious extremist busy removing dangerous branches in his garden” to this tweet.
Baher Emad even puts it sharper: The extremists are the ones who convinced people that there is a clash between freedom and religion! In reality the extremists fear that people free themselves and will start thinking and alienate from their extremism. This fitted with Saad Murtadha’s cartoon about East and West relations:
Emad is not the only one unhappy with extremists. @yehiazak says: Your freedom of expression is granted but if your opinion is to terrorize and kill me, just go to hell with your opinion. Another commenter thinks hell is not such a bad place: If paradise is in the company of Bin Laden and Zawahiri and the Brothers and the Salafis, please reserve me the worst place in hell.
Religious leaders? According to @delomb, you don’t need them at all 'as long as you’ve got a brain'. Cartoonist Emilio Agra took @delomb’s thought and expanded it: he built the following thesis: “A brain immersed in religion experiences a loss or rationality proportional to the time of immersion.
And cartoonist Elchicotriste does not even see the necessity of a brain: love is all you need!
What do you think of it? You can still tweet your views about freedom and religion under the hashtag #360D and your tweet may become a cartoon too.