Published August 14, 2006
TEHRAN, Iran – An exhibition of more than 200 cartoons about the Holocaust opened Monday as Iran's response to last year's Muslim outrage over a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper.
The display, showing 204 entries from Iran and abroad, was strongly influenced by the views of Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who drew widespread condemnation last year for calling the Holocaust a "myth" and saying Israel should be destroyed.
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.
Masoud Shojai, director of the host Caricature House, said a jury looked through 1,200 entries received after the contest was announced in February by the co-sponsor, the Iranian newspaper Hamshahri.
It came following worldwide protests by Muslims against the Muhammad cartoon published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. Many Muslims considered the cartoon offensive and a violation of traditions prohibiting images of their prophet.
Hamshahri 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.
About 50 people attended the exhibition's opening.
"I came to learn more about the roots of the Holocaust and the basis of Israel's emergence," said 23-year-old Zahra Amoli.
The exhibition runs until Sept. 13 and the winner will receive US$12,000. The exhibition hall is next to the Palestinian Authority's embassy, which was Israel's diplomatic site in Iran before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.