the globe's middle east cover- age got downright ugly a few weeks back. That's when the Saturday, June 14 edition carried an editorial-page cartoon of a hook-nosed Arab gleefully receiving a suicide bomb belt and a Father's Day greeting from his son.
Hours after the paper hit newsstands, the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) began receiving complaints from horrified Arab Canadians. The group has requested a meeting with Globe editors to discuss the cartoon, but so far no date has been set.
"Canadians have seen so many images of Arabs that are completely negative," says CAF executive director Audrey Jamal. "Images like this work against a lot of our efforts to build intercultural understanding. It depicts Arabs as violent terrorists who raise their children to be terrorists."
A letter from Jamal, published in the Globe, reminds readers of the kind of racism often faced by Arab Canadians.
In response, Jamal and others who wrote letters received only a brief e-mail signed by Globe director of editorial administration Earle Gill claiming matter-of-factly that "the cartoon was not anti-Islamic; nor was it anti-Arab."
The e-mail went on to say that the cartoonist, Anthony Jenkins, was simply expressing his opposition to suicide bombing and observing that suicide bombers can be viewed as heroes by their children.
Jamal says the drawing was damaging because it lacked a context. It made no reference to a terrorist group, but simply showed an Arab man strapping bombs to himself, giving the impression that all Arabs support that kind of violence.
Globe higher-ups, meanwhile, seem eager to sweep this nasty piece of business under the proverbial flying carpet.
Drew Fagan, the Globe's editorial page editor, begged off, referring queries to comment page editor Patrick Martin, who did not return repeated phone calls from NOW for comment.