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Angered By Comic Strip, Armed Muslims Storm Arab Times Newspaper

April 6, 1996

KUWAIT (AP) _ Five Muslim fundamentalists offended by a ``Hagar the Horrible″ cartoon burst into the offices of an English-language newspaper Saturday and chased an editor out of the building at gunpoint.

The five were captured, one by a worker at the daily Arab Times and the others by police after a car chase, an Interior Ministry statement said. No one was injured.

The U.S. comic strip, about a boorish but lovable Viking and his eccentric family, showed Hagar on a hill saying: ``I pray and pray, but you never answer me.″

A voice from the clouds answers: ``Sorry if you don’t get through right away, keep trying. These days everyone wants to talk to me.″

Many Muslims saw the cartoon as sacrilegious. A magazine published by a group of fundamentalist Sunni Muslims said the comic strip was ``mocking God and communication between humans and their God.″

The Al-Mujtama magazine accused the newspaper’s non-Muslim employees of poking fun at Kuwait’s laws and religion.

The newspaper ran an apology Thursday, 11 days after the cartoon appeared. It said the ``inclusion of the cartoon was inappropriate but unintentional and done without malice.″

``They took the mistake and turned it into a conspiracy,″ said the paper’s American managing editor, Tadeusz Karwecki. ``Everyone makes mistakes, but you don’t go out and shoot people for them.″

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