The Mail & Guardian on Wednesday met with leaders of the broader Muslim community from across South Africa to discuss its publication of a cartoon by Zapiro depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
The M&G communicated to the meeting its regret for the harm caused by the publication of the cartoon, and apologises for the effects thereof. The newspaper in no way intended to cause injury, or to associate itself with Islamophobia, which it repudiates in the strongest possible terms.
We have learned an enormous amount since the publication of the cartoon about the depth of reverence in which Muslims hold the prophet. We invite community leaders and ordinary readers to communicate their devotion in our pages, as some have already begun to do.
In light of the injury caused by the cartoon we are reviewing our editorial policies on religious matters broadly, and the depiction of the prophet in particular. This review process will be informed by consultation with religious leaders including, but not limited to, the United Muslim Forum of South Africa. We commit during the review period to honouring the prohibition on representation of the prophet.
Any final policy that emerges from the review process will be informed by the experience of the past week, and by what we now know of the depth of feeling in the Muslim community on this matter.
The M&G is committed to editorial independence and press freedom. We are guided by the Constitution and our own values of social justice in dealing with South Africa’s diverse religious and secular communities.