Editor Muhammad al-Asadi Yemeni lawyers have called for a newspaper editor to be sentenced to death for showing cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, his paper says. Muhammad al-Asadi was arrested after his publication, the Yemen Observer, showed the Danish cartoons in February. He denies the charges of offending Islam, under which he is being tried. The English-language newspaper has had its license to publish suspended, although its staff have continued to produce material on-line. Lawyers leading a civil case against publishers of the cartoons — in addition to the public case — cited precedents from Muslim history when the prophet was insulted by a woman and then praised her killer. Source: [BBC]

The death penalty! Geez! This is just out of control. There is an interview with him from jail right after his arrest that suggests he is at least somewhat prepared. Meanwhile, as expected, the cartoon row seems to have played an integral part in a new survey highlighting the growing negative image of Muslims and Arabs. Her are some excerpts from the Washington Post’s front page story:

As the war in Iraq grinds into its fourth year, a growing proportion of Americans are expressing unfavorable views of Islam, and a majority now say that Muslims are disproportionately prone to violence, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The poll found that nearly half of Americans — 46 percent — have a negative view of Islam, seven percentage points higher than in the tense months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, when Muslims were often targeted for violence.

The survey comes at a time of increasing tension; the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq show little sign of ending, and members of Congress are seeking to block the Bush administration’s attempt to hire an Arab company to manage operations at six of the nation’s ports. Also, Americans are reading news of deadly protests by Muslims over Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad.

As a school bus driver in Chicago, Gary McCord, 65, dealt with many children of Arab descent. "Some of the best families I’ve ever had were some of my Muslim families," he said in a follow-up interview. "They were so nice to me." He now works for a Palestinian Christian family, whose members he says are "really marvelous." But his good feelings do not extend to Islam. "I don’t mean to sound harsh or anything, but I don’t like what the Muslim people believe in, according to the Koran. Because I think they preach hate," he said. As for the controversial cartoons of Muhammad, he said Arabs seem hypersensitive about religion. "I think it’s been blown out of proportion," he said. Source: [Washington Post]