In early May, organizers in Tehran will stage the Second International Holocaust Cartoon Contest. Given the horrors of the Holocaust — in which the Nazi regime systematically killed more than 6 million Jews, as well as millions of Roma, homosexuals, political dissidents and other undesirables — and current fears about a rise in global anti-Semitism, an event with that name ought to raise myriad red flags.
An exhibition will feature some of the 839 pieces of “artwork” submitted as part of the contest by artists from more than 50 countries, reports Iran’s semiofficial Fars News Agency.
Its stated goal is to provoke Western sensibilities — particularly as a response to satirical cartoons of the pr0phet Muhammad published in numerous European outlets in recent years. The “contest and exhibition intends to display the West’s double standard behavior towards freedom of expression as it allows sacrilege of Islamic sanctities,” Fars reports.
But this isn’t just about Iranian anger with publications such as France’s Charlie Hebdo, which has published cartoons depicting the founder of Islam.