Germany’s postal service Deutche Post and the Protestant social-advocacy group Diakone chose an artwork by cartoonist Abdul Arts for a stamp that was issued last week to commemorate World Refugee Day. Abdul Arts (Abduallahi Muhiaddin) was himself forced to flee his country Somalia, first to Egypt, after threats from both Somali government agents and the militant group Al-Shaabbab because of his cartoons. In 2011, through the efforts of ICORN and CRNI, Abdul Arts was welcomed by the ICORN City of refuge Skien, Norway.
Abdul Arts donates the money paid for the use of his artwork to a fund for refugees.
After an objection by Deutsche Post, only an edited version of the original cartoons was approved. Abdul agreed to this change, if it could help the refugees. He says:
A local organisation which support refugees is selling the stamps to rise the awareness of their situation, and the money goes to donations. I agreed to edit the drawing because Mr Death who was leading the boat is against the moral of the immigrants on boat. I consider it a good censorship if they are helping the people it is supposed to. They will continue to print it if they are sold.
The stamp is available at Gertrud Nehls, email@example.com at cost price € 19.00 - forwarded donations will go to to the "Association for the Promotion of Refugee Work”, www.fluechtlingshilfe-hagen.de
Mr. Muhiaddin (pen name "Abdul Arts") is a Somali freelance cartoonist and journalist. He has published numerous cartoons in Somali and online newspapers, often on political and social issues such as Islamic extremists, Somali pirates, corruption, female genital mutilation and AIDS. Mr. Muhiaddin holds a press card from the Federation of Arab Journalists (FAJ) on the basis of his membership in the Somali Journalists' Society.
Mr. Muhiaddin left Mogadishu due to fear of persecution by both Al-Shabaab and government agents, arriving in Cairo, Egypt, in September 2008, where he successfully claimed asylum. Since October 2007 he was reportedly the target of attacks and threats in Cairo which he attributes to Al-Shabaab militants based in Somalia and Egypt who are angered by his depiction of the group in his cartoons. In December 2007, Muhiaddin's brother, a journalist and an environmental activist, was reportedly killed by Al-Shabaab militants. He arrived as guest writer in Skien City of Refuge in 2011.