Saturday, February 11, 2006

'N.C. College Paper Publishes Cartoon Depicting Muhammad'


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The Muslim Students Association at the University of North Carolina on Friday asked the campus' student newspaper to apologize for publishing an original cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

"The intention of bigotry was clear," the association wrote in a letter to The Daily Tar Heel. "One must question the DTH's ethics in advancing a widely protested issue to cause a riot of their own. The MSA not only found this cartoon derogatory but is also shocked at the editor's allowance of its publication _ one that incites hate in the current political and social context."

Caricatures of Muhammad, including one that shows the prophet with a bomb-shaped turban, were published first in a Danish paper in September, then reprinted in European papers in recent weeks in the name of press freedom. Their publication has sparked violent protests in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Islam is interpreted to forbid any illustrations of Muhammad for fear they could lead to idolatry.

The cartoon published in The Daily Tar Heel Thursday was drawn by a cartoonist at the paper, Philip McFee. It shows Muhammad appearing to decry both Denmark's role in the controversy and the violence that has erupted since.

Daily Tar Heel editor Ryan Tuck said the newspaper wanted to challenge fellow students to think about the issue. He said while he has apologized personally to individuals who told him the cartoon offended, the newspaper will not apologize.

"The point of any cartoon in any newspaper is to challenge belief systems," Tuck said. "We knew it would offend, but that doesn't make it the explicit goal of the cartoon."

The Daily Tar Heel has a long history of journalistic independence, but university officials would hope that it would use restraint around a topic such as this one, which is hurtful and offensive to members of the campus community, said Margaret Jablonski, vice chancellor for student affairs at UNC-Chapel Hill.

"Many of our national media outlets chose not to publish the original pictures or cartoons and we believe our student paper should have used the same editorial judgement," Jablonski said.

If the cartoon offends you don't look at it. No where in the US Constituition, Bill of Rights or the North Carolina Constitution does it state or imply that you have the right not to be offended. Everything you do and say will offend someone somewhere sometime. So shut up, grow up , get over it and live your life. If that offends you, I feel bad for you and if it doesn't offend you great.

posted by David at 10:32 PM :: Permalink ::

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