Iran General NewsAnnan questions Iran Holocaust exhibit

Annan questions Iran Holocaust exhibit

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AP: U.N. Secretary of State Kofi Annan, visiting Iran Saturday, raised concerns with officials over an exhibition of cartoons about the Holocaust that opened in response to Muslim outrage over the Prophet Muhammad caricatures. Associated Press

By NASSER KARIMI

Associated Press Writer

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – U.N. Secretary of State Kofi Annan, visiting Iran Saturday, raised concerns with officials over an exhibition of cartoons about the Holocaust that opened in response to Muslim outrage over the Prophet Muhammad caricatures.

Annan brought up the exhibit in talks with Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, said Annan’s spokesman Ahmad Fawzi.

Annan told Mottaki “we should avoid anything that incites hatred” according to Fawzi. The U.N. chief said he had not seen the Holocaust cartoons. “From what he heard, he would find them pretty distasteful, as he did the Danish cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad, which he strongly condemned at the time,” Fawzi said.

“While (Annan) respects freedom of expression, he believes it should be used responsibly with due respect for people’s feelings,” he added.

The Holocaust cartoon exhibit opened last month at Tehran’s Caricature House, with 204 entries from Iran and abroad.

The cartoons were submitted after the exhibit’s co-sponsor, the Hamshahri newspaper, said it wanted to test the West’s tolerance for drawings about the Nazi killing of 6 million Jews in World War II. The entries on display came from nations including United States, Indonesia and Turkey.

One cartoon by Indonesian Tony Thomdean shows the Statue of Liberty holding a book on the Holocaust in its left hand and giving a Nazi-style salute with the other.

The exhibit was a response to the prophet drawings published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten last year. The publication and subsequent reprinting in other European newspapers set off widespread protests in the Islamic world.

Many Muslims considered the cartoons a violation of traditions prohibiting images of their prophet, while many in the West defended them in the name of freedom of expression.

The exhibition runs until Sept. 13 and the winner of a contest for the best cartoon will receive $12,000.

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