Satires Annoy Iranian and Lebanese Muslim Leaders

Interfax-Religion reports that cartoons poking fun at the late Khomeini and other Iranian leaders and published in Azerbaijan has provoked a strong response from the Iranian embassy in that country

“On the eve of the anniversary of Imam Khomeini’s death, which is grieved by millions of people across the world, U.S. and Israeli proxies in neighboring Moslem Azerbaijan committed an act of disrespect for Imam Khomeini, the Islamic Revolution leader Ayatollah Khamenei, and former and current Iranian state figures. The Iranian embassy absolutely condemns such actions,” the embassy said in a statement circulated on Monday.

A poor translation of other parts of the statement can be seen here. Apparently the cartoons were produced in retaliation against an Iranian cartoon that compared ethnic Azeris in Iran to cockroaches – that incident led to rioting, and to the newspaper concerned being banned (the situation of Iranian Azeris can be read about in this interesting article). The report ends on a sinister note:

The embassy thanked the Azeri authorities for acting promptly to prevent a repetition of similar occurrences and said that most Iranians expected the culprits to be punished.

This, of course, is also just months after an Iranian newspaper announced a competition to find the best cartoons that mocked the Holocaust. Last December, MERIA published an academic article on Islam in Azerbaijan, and noted some of the differences with Iran:

One startling point about the shallowness of the Islamic revival in Azerbaijan is that it is probably the only country in the Muslim world where the quota allocated by the government of the Saudi Arabia for a Hajj pilgrimage remains unclaimed. Vacant places are resold to pilgrims from the Chechen Republic and Dagestan. In 1998, the king of Saudi Arabia offered to cover the expenses of 200 Azerbaijani pilgrims. However, there were some ardent atheists among those who accepted and went, and these individuals continued to spread anti-Islamic views after their return…

Another indicator of the unique Azerbaijani view of Islam concerns women’s rights. Nayereh Tohidi, a researcher from California State University, describes the attitude of the average Azeri woman towards veiling. “In June 1992, when a delegation of 22 Islamist women headed by Zehra Mostafavi, daughter of Khomeini, visited Baku, Azerbaijan, wrapped in heavy chadors in the heat of summer, they were met with stares and disdainful reactions everywhere they went. On one occasion, a middle-aged Azeri woman asked, ‘Do not you feel hot under this heavy black garment in this hot summer?’ ‘But the fire in hell is much hotter if one fails to follow Allah’s orders,'” one of the Iranians replied. Baffled by her response the Azeri woman mumbled, “What a cruel God you have! The Allah that I know is much kinder to women.”

Meanwhile, Lebanese supporters of Hizbullah are enraged at a comedian getting a few laughs out of their leader Sayed Hassan Nasrallah. Arab American reports:

Thousands of Shi’a Muslims enraged by a TV comedy that mocked the leader of Hizbullah took to the streets of southern Beirut on Thursday night, burning car tires and blocking roads, police and witnesses said…A Hizbullah broadcast said the TV show had “insulted the symbol of the resistance and its leader.”… “This program is part of a campaign aimed at liquidating the resistance,” Hizbullah MP Ali Ammar told reporters during the overnight protests.

Nothing worse than a public figure who can’t take a joke…