Iran Combats ISIS With Cartoon Contest

“Taking the war to the next level.” This is what Negar Mortazavi, an Iranian-America Journalist, posted on her twitter with regard to the anti-ISIS cartoon contest that Iran has launched. Organized by Iran’s House of Cartoon, the Daesh Cartoon & Caricature Contest has collected more than 800 cartoons from around the world, each attacking the atrocities of ISIS and using free expression to raise public awareness about the radical group as well as reveal its “evil face.”

“Nowadays everyone around the world knows about the parasite by the name of Isis and what crimes they have committed against humanity and art and culture,” said executive secretary of the contest, Mohammad Habibi in a recent interview with Iran’s Press TV. “Artists now have the duty to raise public awareness about this group by participating in such events.”

Organized into two categories — cartoons and caricatures — artists from more than forty countries have contributed cartoons for the contest. From Brazil to Indonesia to Australia, under their own name or a pseudonym for security reasons (ISIS has threatened cartoonists before), the outpouring of submissions demonstrates just how strongly ISIS has concerned people around world. The cartoonists are depicting satirical images of ISIS leaders, other notable global figures, or just showing in cartoon about their perception of how ISIS has affected their own home country. “In order to reveal the true nature of the Islamic State, we decided to hold this contest and have people submit their cartoons or caricatures,” commented the event organizer Masoud Shojaei Tabatabai. “The Islamic State tries to associate itself with Islam but in essence it has no idea about Islam.”

From the original 800+ submissions, 240 pieces have been chosen to be included in the contest. Along with announcing the winner of the $1,500 top prize on May 31, the cartoons will be part of a traveling exhibit that will be on display at four cultural centers in Tehran as well as in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon — countries directly effected by the group’s violent campaign.

As Mortazavi tweeted, the war is being taken “to the next level” through the non-violent power of the pen.

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Contributing Editor Caitlin McCabe is an independent comics scholar who loves a good pre-code horror comic and the opportunity to spread her knowledge of the industry to those looking for a great story!