Cartoon Controversy Roils Local Muslim Leaders | WBEZ
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Cartoon Controversy Roils Local Muslim Leaders

Some Muslim leaders in the Chicago area are calling foul on an editorial cartoon published by the Chicago Tribune on Saturday. Titled “De-evolution,” the image by Michael Ramirez parodied the iconic “ March of Progress” illustration, which shows human evolution as a series of figures evolving from apelike ancestors to modern humans standing erect. Ramirez’s work reverses the order, starting with a modern human and ending with the most devolved figure: a man lying prostrate as if in prayer, labeled with the word “ISIS.”

“It makes it as if ISIS is just your average, mainstream Muslim who’s prostrating in prayer - something we all do - as opposed to what is unique and problematic about them,” said Ahmed Rehab of the Council on American Islamic Relations. Rehab penned his concerns in a letter that ran in Tuesday’s Chicago Tribune.

“The cartoon does a great disservice to Muslims and promotes further Islamophobia,” wrote Mohammed Kaiseruddin, chairman, Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, in another letter to the paper.

In addition to publishing letters of concern from members of the Chicago-area Muslim community, the Chicago Tribune removed the cartoon from its website. “We understand the deep concerns about Michael Ramirez’ cartoon and have moved quickly to publish responses from Islamic leaders and other readers that reflect those concerns,” said John McCormick, Editorial Page Editor at the Chicago Tribune.

Odette Yousef is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her @oyousef and @WBEZoutloud.

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