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Sectarianism and Extremism and the Fight against Terrorism

editorial cartoons on the same subject. Analyze each cartoon and then write an essay presenting the results of your analysis. The focus of your paper should be to illustrate that the cartoons present a consistent viewpoint about a controversial social or political issue OR that the cartoons present opposing viewpoints about a controversial social or political issue.


� Introduce the concept of editorial cartooning and state your thesis

� Write a well-developed background paragraph on the issue

� Write an analysis paragraph of each cartoon, one paragraph per cartoon minimum. Your analysis should
be thorough and include details from the cartoons to support your point. Use spatial organization in
your analysis paragraphs.

� Write a well-developed opinion paragraph on the issue. This is your chance to weigh in on the subject at hand.

� Write a well-developed conclusion that reiterates your thesis and offers some reflection on the nature
and value of the editorial cartoon as a type of argumentation.


Sectarianism and Extremism and the Fight against Terrorism

The issue of terrorism has turned out as one of the biggest concerns of the century for the United States. One thing has come out clearly in the country’s fight against terrorism; that global fight against terrorism requires major effort and greater coordination between nations. The U.S government recently announced that it had reached a crossroads in this fight and a time had come to redefine and recalibrate the war (Gürbüz, n.p). These sentiments have been echoed across the political defines all over the world with calls for international coordination and cooperation. However, the issue remains as controversial as ever with diverse view points on several concerns such as the role of the U.S in the Middle East conflicts, the use of drones, and the need for ceasefire. The four editorial cartoons about the controversial issue of terrorism illustrate the debate between the U.S government and its allies on one side and the proponents of the ceasefire campaign.

Background of the Terrorism Issue

The ‘war on terror’ is a term used to imply the international military campaign led by the U.S and UK that was started after the 11 September 2001 attack on U.S. it resulted in a global campaign to eliminate al-Qaeda and other militant groups such as the recent ISIS. Because of the diffuse actions involved in the counter terror war, the initiative has elicited numerous debates on the basis of the assumptions, justifications, ambiguities, and beliefs surrounding them (Gürbüz, n.p). Some critics cite that this war has been used to justify unilateral preventive war, violations of international law, and abuse of human rights.

# 1: John Darkow

(By John Darkow)

The first cartoon, drawn by John Darkow of the Columbia Daily Tribune depicts an attack on the White House by the ISIS militants as an attempt or direct attack on the U.S government. It implies the seriousness of ignoring such a group by the international community. The repercussions of letting such a dangerous group get away with their erroneous acts would equally impact on others across the globe. The carton attempts to elicit more focused reactions and imaginations from readers. It also elicits emotional reflections on the past attacks by terrorists on innocent people. Apparently, there are a series of emotions, viewpoints, and reactions that are the cartoon is likely to generate across the board.

#2: Jeff Darcy

(by Jeff Darcy)

The second cartoon, drawn by Jeff Darcy of The Plain Dealer sarcastically depicts the echoing by President Obama of Hillary’s 1996 message in her book that it takes the proverbial Muslim village to bring up a child who is not brainwashed by extremists. It exhibits the government’s stand on their war against terrorism as well as the call to thwart the radicalization of the Muslim youth. It is used as a vehicle in setting up the political agenda concerning possibly by reorienting and shaping the public opinion by the mirroring of the current standoff in the issue of Muslim radicalism especially in the Middle East.

#3: Paresh Nath

(by Paresh Nath)

The third cartoon, drawn by Paresh Nath of Cagle Cartoons is an illustration of the need for the international community to join forces in the fight against terror. The cartoon has been used as a communicative tool in passing the message of cooperation against a global social evil; terrorism. It has been used to construct the reality of the terrorism issue and to represent the social representation of the political and international cooperation. As illustrated in the cartoon, ISIS is in trouble following a grand coalition by fierce stronger forces against it. This cartoon exhibits the potential in cooperating among nations in the fight and in bringing the terror organization ISIS on its knees and brings about a more peaceful world.

#4: Steve Kelley

(by Steve Kelley)

The fourth cartoon, drawn by Steve Kelley of New Orleans Times-Picayunehas been  used purposely to communicate with the audience in persuading them towards perceiving the war and the ceasefire issue from a different point of view. It is used as a strategic tool to make those involved in the war in one or another to make them more receptive as well as to provide rational argument that a permanent ceasefire is the best solution in this case. By using ridicule of the situation on temporary ceasefire as has been the case in Gaza, the cartoon effectively creates an impression of irrationality and carelessness but the two sides of the conflict. This elicits a sense of thoughtfulness and rationality where the two teams should be more focused on what is good for the society; peace.


Terrorism poses a real threat to security and safety of innocent citizens in the U.S and in many other nations across the world. As a global treat that knows no nationality, border, or religion, it presents as a global challenge that the international community must tackle collaboratively. The use of cartoons to is an effective means of illustrating these concerns and issues. Indeed, editorial cartoons presents the controversial issue in a way that elicits rationalization and more effective thinking in a friendly and fun way’ one that is not offensive to others.


In recent years, the genre on cartoon has continued to gain considerable interest among scholars as a potent source of data used in the study of social, economic, and political phenomena. The editorial cartoons used in this analysis have been used, for instance, to shape and reorient the public opinion through the use of recurrent depictions mirroring the socio-political issue of terrorism in the current period. The analysis was particularly interested in the themes illustrated through the sign system founded on the denotation elements in the cartoons. The analysis established a number of themes revolving around the fight against terrorism such as the need for global coordination and ceasefire. These political cartoons were effectively used to set social and political agendas by encapsulating current and sensitive concerns on the terrorism issue.

Works Cited

Darcy, Jeff. Hillary Obama: It takes a muslim village to raise a child not radicalized.

Darkow, John. Ok, maybe we underestimated the rise of ISIS!

Gürbüz, Uğur, and Press IOS. Capacity Building In The Fight Against Terrorism. Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2013.

Kelley, Steve. If temporary ceasefire don’t work, maybe they should try a permanent one…

Nath, Paresh. Grand coalition.

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