Vatican Blasts Muhammad Cartoons and Condemns Texas Extremists

The Vatican’s semiofficial newspaper blasted a series of cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad as “blasphemous” but also condemned the “mad and bloodthirsty” extremists who opened fire at a Texas exhibit of the cartoons.

The front-page article in L’Osservatore Romano likened the exhibit in Garland, Texas, to pouring “gasoline on the fire” of religious sensitivities and was critical of its sponsors, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, and professional provocateur Pamela Geller.

Advertisement

Police on Sunday (May 3) shot and killed two gunmen who opened fire outside the exhibit that was designed to provoke Muslim sensitivities; the so-called Islamic State has since claimed responsibility for the attack that injured a security guard, and promised more to come.

The newspaper said the Texas event “resembles only remotely the initiatives of ‘Charlie Hebdo,'” referring to the French satirical weekly whose office was attacked by Islamist extremists in January. Twelve people were gunned down at the Paris premises by the Islamist militants, who targeted magazine staff for publishing similar cartoons.

After the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Pope Francis condemned the idea of killing “in God’s name” but warned that “you cannot provoke, you cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

While L’Osservatore Romano said the Texas exhibition could be compared to Charlie Hebdo “for its provocative intention, almost a desire to throw gasoline on the fire,” the Vatican newspaper reserved a stronger condemnation for those behind the attacks.

Garland was “certainly not Paris,” while the anticipated “participation of some ultra-conservative European politicians” was also noted. The Vatican newspaper went on to urge respect, which it described as “the necessary attitude to approach the religious experience of another.”

L’Osservatore Romano is largely autonomous from the Vatican but rarely publishes anything that does not have the tacit approval of Vatican officials.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

The news from Ireland and the United States reminds us of Herod, of Pharaoh. What culture betrays its children?
The EditorsMay 26, 2018
A woman religious casts her ballot May 25 in Dublin as Ireland holds a referendum on its law on abortion. Voters went to the polls May 25 to decide whether to liberalize the country's abortion laws. (CNS photo/Alex Fraser, Reuters)
The repeal of Ireland's Eighth Amendment, which guarantees the right to life of the unborn, has passed with a nearly 2-1 margin.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies at a House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
The Secretary of Education stirred up controversy when she said it was up to schools to decide if an undocumented student should be reported to authorities.
J.D. Long-GarcíaMay 25, 2018
Thousands gathered in Dublin May 12 to say "Love Both" and "Vote No" to abortion on demand. They were protesting abortion on demand in the forthcoming referendum May 25. (CNS photo/John McElroy)
“Priests and bishops get verbal abuse by being told, ‘How can you speak for women? You don’t know what it’s like!’”
America StaffMay 25, 2018