Israel calls on UN to condemn Iranian 'Holocaust denial' competition

The organisers say the contest is in response cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed published in Charlie Hebdo

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The Independent Online

Israel is calling on the UN to condemn an international 'Holocaust denial' cartoon competition being held by two Iranian organisations.

Iran’s House of Cartoon and the Sarcheshmeh Cultural Complex are organising the contest,and are offering a cash prize of $12,000 (£7,960) to the winner, $8,000 (£5,300) for the cartoonist that makes second place and £5,000 (£3,320) for third place, the Tehran Times reported. Entries are being accepted until the 1 April.

Established in 1996, the House of Cartoon aims to find talented cartoonists both in Iran and around the World, according to its website.

The secretary of the second International Holocaust Cartoons Contest, Masud Shojaei-Tabatabaii, told reporters in a press conference last month that this year’s competition is in response to the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed in French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo magazine.

Twelve people were killed when two gunman stormed the Paris offices of the magazine, four of whom were cartoonists. Witnesses said they heard the men shouting: "We have avenged the Prophet."

In a letter to the UN’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon released on Saturday seen by the Times of Israel, the state’s ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor complained that the contest “legitimises Holocaust denial.”

He added that it “encourages those who deny the Shoah to continue with their incitement.”

The last competition was held in 2006 in Hamshahiri, the country’s biggest selling newspaper, in response to a Danish newspaper publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed.

Competitors were asked to try and find the “cleverest” cartoons satirising the Holocaust, reportedly in an attempt to attack the West’s “double standards” over religious satire and free speech, according to the Guardian.

The winner of the first contest, Abdellah Derkaoui of Morocco, drew an Israeli crane erecting a wall around the Dome of the Rock. The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp is featured on the wall.

This year, what judges deem to be the top works from the upcoming competition will be displayed at the Palestine Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran and several other locations throughout the Iranian capital Tehran.