>>Netherlands: Cartoon Exhibit Closed
School Exhibition Cancelled following Violence by Muslim Pupils
Netherlands. A school in Nijmegen yesterday cancelled a cartoon exhibition about discrimination following threats by Muslim pupils. Before this decision was taken, the exhibition was already literally destroyed. Muslim pupils of the ROC Nijmegen, a large school with largely immigrant pupils, pulled cartoons from the walls shortly before these were to be presented officially. They also threatened to set the school alight. The school management decided to call off the opening.
In the exhibition, artists expressed their vision on discrimination in a humorist manner. “My expectation was that the pupils would be able to laugh about it”, Ralph Sluis stated. He heads a local anti discrimination organisation. Sluis was the exhibition’s coordinator.
A total of fifteen cartoonists worked on the exhibition. According to Sluis, the trouble was sparked by a work by cartoonist Peter de Wit, which shows two women in niqabs, the all-covering Islamic garments.
In the cartoon, one niqabed woman tells the other: “You filthy Muslim”. The other one replies: “Yes I know, I’ll wash”. This woman smells bad, the cartoon shows.
The cartoon’s message is that someone is not filthy if they wear a niqab. “A small group of pupils interpreted the cartoons in an entirely different way than the artist intended”, Sluis stated.