By way of judy b., a piece from The New Republic on the case of Jihad Momani. He’s one of two Jordanian newspaper editors jailed earlier this month for reprinting some of the Danish cartoons of Muhammad that have prompted the recent orgy of outrage across the Muslim world. As The New Republic recounts the case, Momani’s paper, al-Shihan, “published three of the Mohammed caricatures on the grounds that people should know what they were protesting about. The cartoons were accompanied by an editorial that pleaded, ‘Muslims of the world be reasonable,’ and asked, ‘What brings more prejudice against Islam, these caricatures or pictures of a hostage-taker slashing the throat of his victim in front of the cameras or a suicide bomber who blows himself up during a wedding ceremony in Amman?’ ”
Momani and an editor from another publication that also ran some of the caricatures were thrown in jail. Coincidentally, Jordan’s “liberal” potentate, King Abdullah, visited Bush at the White House just after the arrests. As TNR’s James Forsyth points out, the White House has been the source of some pretty heavy rhetoric the last couple of years on the transformative power of liberty and its institutions. Presented with a chance to speak up about a case in which the issue of freedom was a hard-edged reality instead of a soft-focus romance, Bush said nothing.
According to one press account, Momani and the second editor have been freed on bail. But charges under Jordan’s Press and Publication Law are still pending. PEN Center USA, the national chapter of the international group set up to defend writers facing official sanctions for their work, is conducting a letter-writing campaign on the editors’ behalf.