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Muslim advocates react to New Yorker’s Obama cover

by Brad A. Greenberg

July 14, 2008 | 6:28 pm

It didn’t take a genius to realize that Muslim Americans would be the folks most offended by the New Yorker’s cover this week, which depicts Barack Obama as a Muslim fundamentalists and his wife as an AK-47-toting revolutionary, bumping fists in the Oval Office as the American flag burns and Osama bin Laden’s portrait looks happily on from above the mantle.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council just issued a news release urging supporters to contact the New Yorker and register their disgust.

“One would think that a magazine as highly regarded as this one would not feed into the terrible rise of anti-Muslim sentiment in this country with its iconic cover. The problem with this kind of so-called “spoof”—which taps into deep and far-reaching racist imagery—is that a lot of people just won’t get the joke. Or won’t want to, and will use it deliberately for their own Islamophobic purposes.”

It’s important to note that this is not the beginning of a new cartoon war; that would be a ridiculous exaggeration. I agree with MPAC that the cover could be offensive to Muslims and also agree that New Yorker cartoons often contain obscure references. But I find it hard to believe that any high-minded magazine snob (like me) would miss the joke here.

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