Muslim Action Committee

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

We at MAC would like to congratulate Brian Kelly and his brave collegues who have left their jobs working for the Blanket website because the website decided to publish the Danish cartoons. Mr Kelly phoned me because some unscrupulous characters had tried to use my piece at against him. He had claimed the cartoons were racist, I had said we had reacted to them primarily because it was an attack on our faith not because of politics not race. That doesn't mean there is no politics or racism behind these cartoons and it is dishonest for these people to place those words in my mouth. I have sent a letter clarifying my position to Brian to use as he sees fit. Meanwhile we republish his and others joint letter of resignation:

Letters to the editor
Publication of cartoons step too far
As writers and activists who have contributed in the past to The Blanket and who had hoped, for a time, that it might play a positive role in pushing forward the coalescing of a principled, anti-sectarian left in the North of Ireland, we write to disassociate ourselves completely from the journal and to request that the editors immediately remove from The Blanket archives any articles or letters submitted by us in the past. While the quality and the political integrity of The Blanket have been visibly deteriorating for some time, the recent decision of editors Carrie Twomey and Anthony McIntyre to republish deliberately provocative, racist anti-Muslim cartoons, commissioned originally by the right-wing Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, is a step too far. In our view, their publication marks the end of any positive role that The Blanket might play in a world saturated in anti-Muslim prejudice, a world being dragged from one bloody war to the next in the name of superior “Western civilisation”.The Belfast Telegraph commented that The Blanket was “known for its anti-establishment views” but this decision is just the latest confirmation that it has instead been transformed into the cyberdarling of an establishment now set on permanent war footing. We will not allow ourselves to be associated with such an endeavour at a time when people are being assaulted in the streets, subjected to harassment by governments across Europe, hunted down by Iraqi “death squads”, kidnapped and tortured in far-flung concentration camps, subjected to aerial bombardment and chemical warfare, and shot down in their homes under the guise of bringing “civilisation” to the Muslim world.
Brian Kelly, Belfast;Eamonn McCann, Derry;Barbara Muldoon, Belfast