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May 22 2008

Jojo’s Bizarre Koranic Adventure and Fatwa

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , — entry @ 11:20AM

Here we go again…

Dio reading from a Qu'ran

Dio in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures

Sheikh Abdul Hamid Atrash said :

‘‘This scene depicts Muslims as terrorists, which is not true at all’’.


In a nut shell, Chairman of the Fatwa Committee at Al-Azhar, the highest Sunni authority based in Cairo, Sheikh Abdul Hamid Atrash has issued a Fatwa regarding JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, written and illustrated by Hirohiko Araki, due to the fact that Sheikh Abdul Hamid Atrash deems a scene in one of the episodes as being an insult to the Koran.

This morning while listening to a podcast from America by Hugh Hewitt (( Erwin Chemerinsky, John Eastman, Brent Rutemiller With Hugh Hewitt source )) there was a short segment on this emerging story. Hugh read from an article in Japan Today ((Publisher to suspend cartoon sales after Muslims say it insults Islam › Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion source )) .

Sheikh Abdul Hamid Atrash said ‘‘This scene depicts Muslims as terrorists, which is not true at all’’.

‘‘This is an insult to the religion and the producers would be considered to be enemies of Islam.’’ ((Publisher to suspend cartoon sales after Muslims say it insults Islam › Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion source )) While I have not watched this particular scene I have done a little checking and there is nothing that I can see that would suggest that there is any malice intended.

The JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures have nothing to do with politics or religion at all, at least nothing that I can see, unless you consider Vampires religious. While searching through multiple videos to try and find the actual offending image, I saw nothing that appeared to indicate that there was a negative portrayal of Islam, Muslims or Arabs in this series. My wife commented(she actually watched a whole episode of Jo Jo’s Bizarre Adventures) “they are in Cairo, there are people in Burkas and kaftans, there is a tram and an explosion, but the villain is causing all the violence, not the Muslims.” This whole stink created by the Fatwa seems totally unfounded.

Will the Japanese get their MoJoJo going or will they kowtow?

Japanese people’s JoJo battlecry

[youtube width=”600″ height=”501″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6dUmHY-s08[/youtube]

Somehow I doubt the Japanese are going to rise against the Fatwa from the Egyptian Sheikh Abdul Hamid Atrash. Who is this Sheikh anyway? Well, in Egypt during an invasion of locusts, Abdul Hamid Atrash issued an edict allowing people to eat locusts. encouraging people to “hunt the locusts and eat them to combat the crisis”, “contribute actively in wiping them out, instead of the fear that has consumed the hearts of millions of people.” ((Locust fatwa at The Arabist source )) This seems quite sensible, although it may be a bit disgusting to some people. Millions of people are going hungry, and the locusts are eating all the crops. Locusts are a high source of protein…, so it kind of makes sense to eat the locusts. That to me doesn’t seem to be the act of an irrational man, although I’m not sure that locusts are actually halal. Then we have the situation from back in 2005, where the US Embassy in Cairo refused to give Sheikh Abdul Hamid Al-Atrash, the head of the Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, an entry visa. ((Al-Azhar Boycotts US Over Visa Denial source )) This prompted Grand Imam Sheikh Mohammad Sayyed Tantawi’s decision to ban US officials from entering the headquarters of the Al Azhar Sheikhdom in Cairo. I don’t recall much about that. I don’t really know how many US officials que up to get into the headquarters of the Azhar Sheikdom in Cairo anyway, so that Fatwa seemed to be a measured and reasonable one.

The publisher of the various JoJo products has suspended sales of the original comic book and DVDs. We don’t know if this is going to turn out to be another Motoons crisis ((Gates of Vienna: The Modoggie Archives source )) ((Conservative Swede: Join the art project! source ))as the one we saw when Jyllands-Posten published 12 Mohammad cartoons to illustrate how the Media in the West has self censured itself with regards to anything relating to Islam.

This whole thing here with Jojo’s Bizarre Advanture would be BIZARRE if it weren’t such a typical example of the overreaction and orchestrated maneuvers of extreme elements in the Islamic world. Will people die because of this as was the case with Theo Van Gogh? ((Paul Belien – Vdare: “Islamic Immigration and Murder Among the Tulips” source )) .

In a free society we should not have to walk on eggshells or have to consider the hypersensitivities – real or feigned – by political design. This case regarding Jojo is innocent, without malice. There was no political point being made by the writers and producers of the anime.

Here are two videos that will give you the background to the Jojo series – and it really doesn’t take much to figure out who the villain is:

History of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure part 1

History of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure part 2

Publisher to suspend cartoon sales after Muslims say it insults Islam


A popular Japanese cartoon is sparking off outcries in the Muslim world where some fear it could fuel a backlash not seen since European papers carried cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed and a Dutch lawmaker released a controversial film earlier this year.

Shueisha Inc, a Japanese publisher involved in the production of the cartoon ‘‘JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’’ and its animation version, suspended sales of some of the original comics and the DVD series Thursday, but said the material was not intended to be offensive.

At issue is a 90-second segment from “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure,” which depicts Dio Brando, a villain, picking up a Quran from a bookshelf and apparently examining it as he orders the execution of the hero and his friends.

The animated movie is based on the wildly popular comic book by Hirohiko Araki, which has been carried in Shonen Jump, a weekly magazine, from 1987 to 2003. The cartoon series’ pirated version with Arabic subtitles has been distributed on websites since March 2007.

After a viewer posted negative comments and the still scene, it sparked off more protests. Eventually responses were carried on more than 300 Arab and Islamic Web forums with some accusing Japan of insulting the Quran.

Sheikh Abdul Hamid Attrash, chairman of the Fatwa (religious edict)
Committee at Al-Azhar, the highest Sunni authority based in Cairo, dismissed the cartoon as an insult to Islam.

‘‘This scene depicts Muslims as terrorists, which is not true at all,’’ he said. ‘‘This is an insult to the religion and the producers would be considered to be enemies of Islam.’’

In responding to the accusation, the Shueisha official explained that it was ‘‘a simple mistake.’’

‘‘Neither the original comic nor the animation intends to treat Muslims as villains. But as a result, the cartoon offended Muslims.’’ said the official. ‘‘We apologize for the unpleasantness that the cartoon may have caused and will carefully consider how to deal with religious and culture themes.’’

The official said one of animators came up with the idea of using an Arabic book in order to give the scene a more authentic feel as the villain was hiding out in Egypt.

With that in mind he went to the library and found a book, which turned out to be the Quran and inserted it. No one realized the mistake as no one could read or speak Arabic, the official said.

Other reactions included website postings citing their offense as the suggested correlation between the villain and his reading of the holy book, as well as the underlying message suggesting that children who read the Quran will become villains.

‘‘There are prejudiced pictures about the greatest and purest divine book, our Great Quran, in a new cartoon series called JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure…what is the purpose of putting these pictures?’’ a well circulated Internet message asks.

Although the Japanese publisher explained that the Quran was not included in the original comic book version, the scene appears in episode 6 of the cartoon’s first original animation video, ‘‘Stardust Crusaders,’’ which was produced by A.P.P.P (Another Push Pin Planning) Co in 2001.

‘‘There is a wicked man in a cartoon series called JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and this villain appears in a clip while reading Holy Quran…even the Japanese began to depict Muslims as evil persons and terrorists in their cartoon films,’’ said Qannas al-Jazira, one of al-Hesbah most active members.

Al-Hesbah is a major Islamic website used as a clearing house for Islamic militants’ statement.

Despite the apology from the company, some such as Aly Yassin, are not willing to accept the error.

As an Egyptian Internet cafe owner in Cairo, Yassin, believes the objective of the Japanese producers is to say, ‘‘This evil character derives its subversive ideas from this book, the Holy Quran…this indicates the deep-rooted rancor against Islam and the misconceptions about Quran meanings.’’ ‘‘This is unjustifiable,’’ he said.

Still others, such as Gamal Qutb, the former head of the Fatwa Committee at Al-Azhar, were even tougher, suggesting that Muslims would boycott Japanese products unless Japan takes action against the controversial video.

‘‘Muslims will be forced to adopt a position toward their civilization, from arguing their worship through boycotting their products to responding in the same manner if necessary,’’ he noted.

On the other hand, Henry, 50, a Christian administrator in Beirut, who only gave his first name, spoke about his concern about Muslims’ intolerance toward freedom of expression. He thought that a boycott of Japanese products or an attack on producers was going too far as he pointed to negative examples prevalent in the Hollywood film industry.

Muslims Complain Japanese Cartoon Insulted Koran, Kyodo Reports

By Stuart Biggs

May 22 (Bloomberg) — A Japanese cartoon depicting a character reading the Koran while ordering the execution of the animation’s hero and friends sparked protests on Islamic Web sites, Kyodo News reported today.

The scene from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, adapted from a comic strip published from 1987 to 2003, generated angry responses on more than 300 Arab and Islamic Internet forums, with many accusing Japan of insulting the Koran, Kyodo said.

The scene depicts Muslims as terrorists, Kyodo cited Sheikh Abdul Hamid Attrash, chairman of the Fatwa Committee at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, as saying. An unidentified official at Shueisha Inc., a Japanese publisher involved in the cartoon’s movie version, told Kyodo the Koran’s use was “a simple mistake” stemming from employees’ inability to read Arabic.

Cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb in his turban were published in 2005 in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, prompting protests in Muslim communities worldwide and consumer boycotts of Danish products.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stuart Biggs in Tokyo at sbiggs3@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: May 21, 2008 20:59 EDT

Shipments of popular anime stopped due to offensive scene

A leading publisher has stopped shipments of DVDs of popular animation “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure” and relevant volumes of the book after discovering that one of the scenes could offend Muslims.

Shueisha Inc. and animation company A.P.P.P. Co. said a scene in Episode 6 of “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure” depicted the Quran in an inappropriate way.

In the scene, Jojo’s enemy is shown dropping a book that contains some text from the Quran. The Quran does not appear in the same scene in the original cartoon book, but the staff of the animation company added the Arabic text to the book without knowing that the text was part of the Quran, according to Shueisha.

The companies announced on their Web sites on Thursday that they have stopped shipments of “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure” Episode 6 DVDs and the relevant volumes of the books.

“We would like to express our sincerest apologies to Muslims for these incidents. We will work harder to learn more about Islam and Muslims and to avoid giving misconceptions,” said the two companies on their Web sites.

The companies will not retrieve the products that have already been published.

“Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure” is a popular manga series published by Shueisha that has sold over 70 million copies.

More details coming…, so stay tuned…


Apology Letter

May 22, 2008

Dear Muslim audience of “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure”,

We, Shueisha and A.P.P.P Co. Ltd. Would like to express our sincerest apology to the Muslim audience of the animation “JoJO’s Bizarre Adventure”for the inappropriate scenes that appear in Part 3. A.P.P.P Co., Ltd. created the images for this animation, based on the original cartoon book published by Shueisha. Shueisha reviewed the content of the animation on behalf of the original author.

The animation, “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure,” is an adventure fantasy about JoJo and his friends traveling all over the world. We recently discovered that a scene in Episode 6 of the animation offended our Muslim audience. In the scene, JoJo’s enemy, Dio is shown reading a book that contains some text from the Holy Qur’an.

The Holy Qur’an does not appear in the same scene in the original cartoon book published in 1991, and the author did not know that text from the Holy Qur’an was added to the animation.

Immediately after becoming aware of the situation, we investigated how this alteration happened in Episode 6. We discovered the staff added Arabic text to the book., because the scene appears to take place in the Arabic world. Unfortunately, the staff could not read a single word of Arabic, and therefore was not aware that the text they used was a part of the Holy Qur’an. Shueisha and A.P.P.P Co. Ltd. also overlooked this important detail.

We would like our Muslim audience to know there was never any intention to insult Islam and Muslims. Shueisha and A.P.P.P Co. Ltd. had no intention to show any disrespect for the Holy Qur’an or to describe Muslims as enemies.

We are continuing to review all episodes of the animation and cartoon books in “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” Part 3. Unfortunately, during the first stage of our investigation, we found additional inappropriate scenes. Buildings that look like mosques were illustrated in fight scenes in the animation and the cartoon books.

We would like to express our sincerest apology to Muslims for these incidents. Please accept our heartfelt apology.

We have stopped shipment of “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” DVDs and the relevant volumes of the books to ensure they will no longer contain improper scenes. We will not make new copies without correcting these problems.

These incidents have made us more aware of our responsibility to the worldwide audience that enjoys our animation. We will work Harder to learn more about Islam and Muslims and avoid giving misconceptions. Pleas know that we deeply value our audience and your support.


Shueisha Inc.

A.P.P.P. Co. Ltd. source

So a few things strike me in the apology letter. First, they say “In the scene, JoJo’s enemy, Dio is shown reading a book that contains some text from the Holy Qur’an.” Big deal! Is there a difference if they would have been reading from a bible? We have these constant double standards. Then they state that “Buildings that look like mosques were illustrated in fight scenes in the animation and the cartoon books”, can you believe that the elements of Islam have acted in ways that it is deemed necessary to apologize for having buildings that look like mosques, in a cartoon set in the Middle East…

The last paragraph is what really makes me laugh.

“These incidents have made us more aware of our responsibility to the worldwide audience that enjoys our animation. We will work harder to learn more about Islam and Muslims and avoid giving misconceptions.”

You better believe that it is going to be some time before they depict a cartoon with anything to do with a mosque a Qur’an or anything related to the Middle East. I wounder where they are going to learn about Islam and Muslims? I guess they will have to learn about them from watching the News where mosques are not only pictured but pictured with smoke billowing out of them from bomb blasts and fires. Maybe they can watch the various extremists read from the Qur’an and learn about the radical side of Islam.

It seems to me that the majority of Muslims in the world would not take offence to any of the content of the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures. The world is walking on eggshells to placate the radical element that has monopolized the media and the restless crowds in the streets.

May 22 2007

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Prager H3: This is the image that many have of God, but is it misleading, even unfair? If you are religious, do you think faithful practice will protect you from danger or disease? If so, you are bound to be disappointed.



Hugh Hewitt – 2007-05-22


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