Iran’s House of Cartoon and the Sarcheshmeh Cultural Complex announced it is holding another international contest based on the theme of Holocaust denial.
According to a report in the Teheran Times the secretary of the contest, Masud Shojaei-Tabatabaii, told a press conference on Saturday that the reasoning behind this contest is to protest the caricatures of Mohammed, which have appeared repeatedly in the French Charlie Hebdo magazine.
Teheran is now fighting back with a cartoon contest aimed and invalidating Western society’s greatest travesty, and most inhumane moment.
“If freedom of expression knows no boundary, the issue of the Holocaust must also be critically and freely reviewed,” said the Sarcheshmeh Center.
The contest will award the first place winner for the best Holocaust denying cartoon $12,000. The prizes for second and third place winners will rake in $8,000 and $5,000 respectively.
The competition is the second of its kind with the first having taken place in 2006. Approximately 750 cartoons were submitted the first time around. The winning cartoon depicted a crane with a Star-of-David building a wall around the Dome of the rock. Upon the wall was a picture of Auschwitz.
Iran has a long history of Holocaust denial and has used the tactic to continually deviate from western ideology. According to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal,various voices have attempted to downplay this political ploy that has been a major part of Iranian foreign policy ever since the Ayatollah seized power.
“Many observers, including some within the Obama administration, have sought to play down the matter of Iranian Holocaust denial,” the report stated.
In 2005, then Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad famously supported a research mission to Poland to investigate whether millions of Jews could have died at Auschwitz, a request which the Polish government declined. Today, Holocaust denial is rampant amongst the higher up social echelons of the Iranian regime.
The announcement of the second Holocaust denial competition came shortly after the first post-massacre issue of the Charlie Hebdo magazine, which also depicted a cartoon of Mohammed.
Islamic voices around the world cried foul at the magazine, with Iranian Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi among them. Shirazi said that showing another image of Mohammed “is equivalent to a declaration of war against all Muslims.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said in response to the publication that “if we do not respect one another, it will be very difficult in a world of different views, different cultures and civilizations.”