Shahid Mahmood (artist)

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Shahid Mahmood is a Canadian architect and cartoonist of Pakistani descent.

Early life[edit]

Shahid was born in Toronto, Canada[1] and spent his childhood and teenage years in Pakistan,[2] attending schools in Lahore and Karachi. Early in his career, he drew political cartoons for the Pakistani publications Star, Dawn and Newsline Magazine. After graduation he studied architecture in Canada,[3] attending both Carleton and McGill University. Shahid’s cartoons focus largely on religion and politics, with his critiques targeting both Islamic fundamentalism and the aggressiveness of US foreign policy.[4] Over the years, he has received threats to his well-being from groups ranging from the Taliban to various government officials.[5]


His cartoons were a part of the exhibition showing at the 1997 APEC Conference.[6] Following the 9/11 Attacks, Shahid exhibited work at the Paris exhibition The New World Order.[4] In 2002 his exhibition Enduring Operation Freedom, criticizing the Bush policies in Afghanistan, resulted in the McMaster Museum of Art in Canada shutting down the event.[3][7] While working in Pakistan, Shahid faced repeated attempts at censorship by the government of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto,[8] who was featured in several of Shahid’s works.[7] His cartoons have been preserved in various institutions including the Museum of Contemporary History in Paris.[6] He has published his work in publications including The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Express Tribune, Courrier International, and The New York Times Press Syndicate.[3] Shahid has commented on both the Jyllands-Posten cartoon controversy[9] and the related Charlie Hebdo aftermath.[10][11][12][4][13]


Shahid is mentioned as being one of the first Canadians to be flagged on the US No Fly List.[14] The Canadian Parliament debated his story,[15] and in an open letter released by Amnesty International December 2007 Shahid’s case was cited as a prime reason to implement the recommendations[16] made by the Arar Commission that advocate for balanced and transparent security measures in Canada.[17] Shahid claims that his criticisms of US foreign policy and military interventionism resulted in him being denied boarding to a domestic Air Canada flight[4] in 2004. Following this, he began to receive extra screening on a routine basis by airlines in many countries.[18] In 2009 a racial profiling complaint regarding the incident was argued in front of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.[19] In 2010 Shahid settled the case with Air Canada.[1] The short documentary, “Listed” narrates some of the details of this incident.[20] In 2012 Shahid was again detained in the Santiago International Airport and interviewed by Interpol for 90 minutes, indicating he was still on a US government security list.[2] He was later assigned a specialized PIN from US Homeland Security to help deal with the appearance of his name on security lists.[21] Shahid has also received threats from Islamic fundamentalists for his works criticizing fundamentalism,[3] including an image of the Taliban depicted as an ape reading an upside-down Qur’an.[2] He has written and spoken[22] over the years on issues related to satire and censorship in newsprint, radio, and television.[21][23][24][25][26]


  1. ^ a b "Cartoonist who couldn't board flight settles with Air Canada - Toronto Star". 
  2. ^ a b c "Canadian editorial cartoonist just can't seem to get off no-fly list - Toronto Star". 
  3. ^ a b c d "Amplifying the Ludicrous - Sampsonia Way Magazine". 
  4. ^ a b c d "Pakistani Cartoonist on Charlie Hebdo, Satire and Islam - NBC News". 
  5. ^ Iacobucci, Edward M.; Toope, Stephen J. (7 April 2015). "After the Paris Attacks: Responses in Canada, Europe, and Around the Globe". University of Toronto Press – via Google Books. 
  6. ^ a b "Harper and Malala". 
  7. ^ a b "The trouble with the Charlie Hebdo drawings". 
  8. ^ "The Dream that was Benazir Bhutto". 
  9. ^ "The Cartoonist and the Pastor". 17 September 2010. 
  10. ^;
  11. ^ Mahmood, Shahid (9 January 2015). "Charlie Hebdo : What Offends Does Not Make It Factual". 
  12. ^ "Attack on Charlie Hebdo - Accuracy.Org". 
  13. ^ Iacobucci, Edward M.; Toope, Stephen J. (7 April 2015). "After the Paris Attacks: Responses in Canada, Europe, and Around the Globe". University of Toronto Press – via Google Books. 
  14. ^ "ICLMG Watch Lists Report - February 10, 2010 - Surveillance - U.S. Customs And Border Protection". Scribd. 
  15. ^ "Debates (Hansard) No. 78 - April 7, 2005 (38-1) - House of Commons of Canada". 
  16. ^ "CBC News In Depth: The Arar inquiry". 
  17. ^ "Open letter from Amnesty International Canada cites Benamar Benatta and Shahid Mahmood - Disability & Human Rights Law • BakerLaw". 13 December 2007. 
  18. ^ "Canada refuses to give answers about getting off no-fly list - Toronto Star". 
  19. ^ "Tribunal to probe Air Canada over boarding refusal". 
  20. ^ "Listed". 
  21. ^ a b "Getting off a no-fly list: the never-ending saga". 
  22. ^ "Association Of Canadian Cartoonists/Association Des Caricaturistes Canadiens - Ryerson Journalism Research Centre". 
  23. ^ "KMEC 105.1 FM - Audio - Political Cartoonist Shahid Mahmood". 
  24. ^ "Feature Guest - Shahid Mahmood - Nine To Noon, 10:08 am on 13 May 2010 - RNZ". 11 October 2010. 
  25. ^ "RCI // Masala Canada". 
  26. ^ Rocha, Leonardo. "BBC - World Service - World Have Your Say: What's wrong with immigration?".