Saudi Arabia has decided to lift its 20 year ban on showing cartoons in public cinemas. Only women and children will be allowed to watch them:

“The experiment is seen as a prelude to the start of real cinema screenings, according to the Saudi-owned Arabic daily, al-Hayat. Mai Yamani, a Saudi-born writer and academic, recalls watching films in the kingdom during the early 1970s, in mixed audiences where women had their faces unveiled. But there was a backlash after the assassination of King Faisal in 1975. “He was too much of a moderniser for the clerics. He had introduced TV,” she said. “This is a good step because women don’t only want to go shopping for food. They are thought of as very sensitive and emotional and mustn’t be led astray. I’m sure they [the authorities] will make sure there isn’t anything in the cartoon films to excite them too much.

“These are small steps that King Abdullah is trying to take to live up to his reputation as the champion of reformers,” she said. “He is giving these small measures because he is unable to address some of the very big issues, such as who to appoint as defence minister.”

And, its not only Saudi Arabia which has gone cartoon-crazy:

The Union of Islamic Students Associations and Iran’s House of Cartoons are jointly sponsoring a global competition on caricature, painting and graphic design under the main theme of “A World without Zionism,” a morning English-language daily said on Wednesday. Students between the ages of 7 and 18 can submit their art works to the organizing committee of the competition … The competition will also focus on the themes “A World without America,” “A Mirage Named Zionism,” “The Wishes of a Palestinian Student,” and “The Intifada”…

Send your entries to The Gallery. Unfortunately they can’t return any paintings, but a prize (i.e. 72 virgins) is given for each one shown.

(Hat tips: the Religious Policeman and DR)