Dominic Cummings once published an offensive depiction of Islamic Prophet Muhammad while responsible for The Spectator’s website.
The image, which was originally published in a Danish newspaper in 2005 and was republished on The Spectator in 2006, showed Muhammed with a bomb fizzing out of his turban, and generated huge outrage in the Muslim community.
Dominic Cummings briefly worked in journalism before climbing up the greasy pole of Civil Service advisers to become Boris Johnson’s chief adviser.
And it now appears that his ability to court controversy began long before his career in politics.
The cartoon of Muhammad, published by Cummings as part of a series of curated stories from external websites, was accompanied by text saying: “European newspapers reprint Muhammad ‘Bomb turban’ cartoon, but as European populations die and Muslim populations grow, and as more and more European students are taught Foucault and ‘literary critical theory’, the balance of power shifts every day; meanwhile Britain’s comic political class cannot even control Islamic terrorists when they finally lock a few up in prison…”
Aside from the offensive nature of the caricature, Cummings seems to be using a deeply Islamophobic trope – that Muslims are “taking over” the West and “corrupting” our values.
No other British news organisation printed the controversial cartoon, or 11 other images from the Danish paper, while some papers in European countries including Spain, Germany, Hungary and Italy printed them in a gesture of support of free speech.
At the time of the row, the Spectator’s then-acting editor Stuart Reid said that “the guy who has overall responsibility” for the website was Dominic Cummings.
The cartoon was replaced due to backlash but Cummings refused to comment on the situation.
Needless to say, his career in journalism didn’t last very long.