Al-Rahi's Caricature in Saudi Daily Sparks Anger on Social Media

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Al-Watan Saudi newspaper published on Tuesday a caricature criticizing Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi's visit to Syria, which sparked popular outrage on social media websites.

Jihad Awrati's caricature replaced al-Rahi's mitre with a rocket and highlighted the common letters between the patriarch and the Syrian president's names in Arabic.

The depiction was met with anger and criticism on social media websites.

“Political differences are no excuse to depict al-Rahi in this manner,” television personality Bassam Abu Zeid tweeted.

Meanwhile, radio Jaras Scoop said it strongly condemns al-Watan's caricature.

Al-Rahi's visit to Syria, through which he aimed at taking part in the inauguration celebration of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of the Levant and Antioch Youhanna al-Yaziji, created a heated debate locally as several officials including President Michel Suleiman called against politicizing it.

The March 14 and 8 alliances are deeply split over the revolt in Syria as the opposition backs the collapse of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

However, sources in the church described the visit as “religious,” and supported by the Vatican.

Comments 24
Missing 12 February 2013, 23:04

Al-Rahi was within his right to visit Damascus. Others are within their rights to criticize the visit. We should stop this nonsense about making people above criticism.

Missing 13 February 2013, 01:08

Just because some idiots proclaiming to be "Muslims," reacted in this fashion, it does not mean it makes it right. As well, you will not find Muslims mocking Jesus which I believe is within everyone right to do.

Missing 13 February 2013, 01:08

I agree. Freedom of speech is sacred.

Missing zanzibar 13 February 2013, 04:30

No need for the pope to lead a crusade like was done in the past, as leaders of the US and Europe are doing it instead and it has been going on long before the protests against a silly cartoon. Now i am smart enough not to blame christianity for the g4imes of the US and european armies against several Muslim and non-muslim people even though they themself (especially the US) view themselfs as such, bush even used the term crusade and US soldi3rs have actively tried to convert poor afghans among others to chriatianity.

Missing zanzibar 13 February 2013, 04:37

Anonomoustexas, yes it is indeed a disgusting picture. Dont forget who posted it, its the biggest slaves of the US leaders. Leaders of the US and The arab gulf are enemies to muslims and christians alike yet they want us to fight amongst eachother while they drink wine behind the screens. I disagree with this drawing and consider a saudi website the last one to have the right to criticize al ra'i when they have plenty of actual murderers among their leading folk.

Missing zanzibar 13 February 2013, 04:45

Sorry about the spelling misstakes, my phone is slow.

Missing 13 February 2013, 07:31

anonymetexasusa - I am sure that if I publish a caricature mocking Jesus, our takfiri mufti will be hard working on his latest fatwa. With regard to the cartoon, I do not see anything wrong with it. It smartly convey a message that by visiting Damascus, the Patriarch is being used as a weapon (in this case a propaganda weapon). As in smartly done caricatures, others will draw different interpretations.

Missing 13 February 2013, 07:34

anonymetexasusa - This is my facebook entry on Feb 1.

أ طلب من سماحة المفتي التكفيري: إستقيل

Default-user-icon vicking007 (Guest) 13 February 2013, 00:01

Tfeh on this country and these child mollester country... Let them dare to come again in Lebanon for this summer...

Missing 13 February 2013, 01:22

Versus those that fill their pockets from Iran and make the "Sunni" community as their favorite scare crow. For me (no a m14), freedom of speech is scared whether I agree with what is being said or not. Also the right to criticise and counter criticise is sacred. In the choice between freedoms afforded in Canada and those in Iran (where you can end up in jail for criticising Kamanei, I take Canada anyday and anytime - despite my intense dislike for the current government.

Missing 13 February 2013, 07:40

FlameThrower - You should know that I have only three masters and two of them are toddlers. Regarding to your other statements:
1) Iran has economic problems because of sanctions, lousy economic policies, over-expenditure on military and its assistance to Syrian regime, hizb and their allies in lebanon.
2) Where do you think Hizb gets its weapon and funding from? The last I knew, they did not start pumping oil and do not have a direct channel with God. Paying off FPM is small investment to maintain the political cover for Iran's forward base in region.
3) I would like M8 to decide: Is Hariri in favour or out of favour with KSA? I thought Miqati is now their point man? Wait, we need to reshuffle, Hariri is their man now!!

Missing 13 February 2013, 07:50

FlameThrower -

4) It is true that somewhere between 20-25 (and some argue 30) percent of Sunnis support the resistance. They do so despite their tremendous dislike for Aoun who they see as targetting their community. There WERE good number of Sunnis who initially supported FPM. I know you will find hard to believe, I was one of them. But as with many Christians, almost all the Sunnis abondoned him - not because of his support for the Hizb but because he is authoritarian and right down nasty. Even Miqati and Karami cannot stand him.
5) Arsal was the case of lies and liars. Almost all of m8 media outlets fabricated stories to make people believe the the soldiers were mutilated. SO yes, Arsal was targetted with the subtext: Sunnis as a threat. Hizb as the protector.

Default-user-icon cityboy (Guest) 13 February 2013, 16:21

oh try to dispute the mainstream version of the holocaust and see how far your 'freedoms' in canada will take you, right to jail.

Default-user-icon sunny (Guest) 13 February 2013, 01:48

How many wives does the king of KSA has? I do not think himself knows. That's why his aidshave to keep record ofhischildren, so he does not marry one ofthem. I think you should make one caricature with his wives.

Default-user-icon Holler (Guest) 13 February 2013, 05:37

Christians around the world need to realize that neither Sunni or Shias are friends to the Christians.

Missing 13 February 2013, 07:54

True - I am married to one and we all know, you can never be a friend to your wife.

Default-user-icon Canadianadam (Guest) 13 February 2013, 06:25

I am not saying I agree with the characiture, but it's predictable. Acting like he's going for religious reasons at such a contentious time... he's going to come across as a politician and now a religious leader.

Missing mansour 13 February 2013, 08:33

quick lets go behead people that dont follow our religion.....ALLAH AKBAR......TAKBIR ...

Long LIve The Syrian Civil War!
May the Civil War in Saudi Start!

Default-user-icon trueself (Guest) 13 February 2013, 10:23

If at every occasion we want to silence freedom of speech then we are a dictatorship and don’t deserve to be a nation where anyone could express his or her opinion clearly and without getting scared of repercussions. In this instance, a journalist in Saudi Arabia viewed Al Rahi’s visit to Syria as a sign of offense to the hundreds of thousands whose lives is affected by the Syrian regime and in this he might or might not be correct. However, it’s his opinion and is entitled to it. Others could criticize him on media outlets and this also is their free option which they enjoy. We can’t shackle freedom and put constraints on it. Either we have it or we don’t.

Default-user-icon Youssef (Guest) 13 February 2013, 10:37

Regrettable and shameful to attack any religious figure,Christian or Muslim.Does any Muslim accept to be abused by a Christian & vice versa? How Muslims,before christians, will act & what's gonna be their reaction with such topic? it's time to act like humans & to respect each other. this is how earth is composed & we can't change i, we should respect that.

Missing nawal84 13 February 2013, 14:13

Those of you who compare this cartoon of rai to that of the prophet (pbuh)... whats wrong with you? Rai is not a prophet. Had this cartoon been about christ (pbuh) then you could compare it to those cartoons of the peophet muhammad (pbuh). Saudi who is hypocrite make fun of all their opponents, especially the muslim ones!! Muslim sheikhs and religious leaders have been mocked a lot among muslims in cartoons, jokes and otherwise. Religious clergys whether muslim or christian ARE NOT PROPHETS. So mocking rai is not the same as mocking christians or christ (pbuh) as was the case of the danish cartoons etc. Saudi arabia is a joke created by christian colonialists in case you forgot it so dont turn this in to a religious attacks when it was a political one.

Default-user-icon pedro (Guest) 13 February 2013, 23:08

Imagin abou charoukh talking by caricature

Default-user-icon anonymos123 (Guest) 14 February 2013, 11:45

People and Media should know how they react and respect the rest of people and what they believe in.
I think that this Saudi Daily Sparks should presnt arab leaders as little dogs for not doing anything to help Lebanon in the 70 and 80 and now for letting the syrian people get killed.
It is not Al Rahi who has a problem but them first!

Default-user-icon شربل (Guest) 14 February 2013, 16:46

When we learn to accept criticism that's when we can count ourselves among cilivized people. I'm a Christian by faith and I think it's a good cartoon. The message is clear and on target. As Napoleon Bonaparte said " a picture is worth a thousand words" I challenge everyone in the middle east to teach themselves to be tolerant of criticism and when we learn tolerance at our level in everyday life, that's when we will BEGIN to have peace.