Belgium’s Orwellian-sounding Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities has become embroiled in an argument over a cartoon in a regional newspaper. It is investigating the picture which the Editor In Chief of the journal says should never have been published.
Flanders News reports the cartoon, which depicts a child slitting the throat of a teddy bear and the distressed reaction of his fellow pupils, was inspired by the first day of term at schools in the Brussels municipality of Molenbeek. That particular municipality is an area with a large number of immigrants and a substantial Muslim community of mainly Moroccan and Turkish ancestry.
Editor In Chief of Het Belang van Limburg, Indra Dewitte says that the cartoon should never have been published: “Gazet van Antwerpen rejected the cartoon that then automatically appeared in our paper. This was a technical error. This cartoon has no place in our paper.”
The cartoon was removed from the paper’s online edition, but not before some readers had taken to Twitter to express their disgust and announce they would be terminating their subscription.
— Michel Baeten (@mbaeten) September 1, 2015
The Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities has now received several complaints. Deputy Director Patrick Charlier said: “The cartoon clearly displays prejudice. It may be acceptable in Charlie Hebdo, but is problematic in Het Belang van Limburg.”