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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Mailbag

    Editor’s note: The following letters to the editor were written in response to Tuesday’s editorial cartoon.

    Likins: Wildcat owes apology

    One of the easiest pathways to humor is to inflict pain. What we call “”making fun”” of other people is actually hurting someone to make other people laugh. The cartoon in Tuesday’s Arizona Daily Wildcat is a classic example of a “”cheap shot”” designed to make some people laugh at the expense of others.

    Because the victims of the cartoon are Muslims, whose faith, as I understand it, decries images (not to mention caricatures) of religious leaders, and because tragic events are unfolding in the Middle East over similar provocations, the decision to print this cartoon by Abbey Golden was particularly offensive. Why do such a thing?

    What are your thoughts about the political cartoons?
    Discuss your thoughts here

    American culture and political tradition gives us all the freedom to print what we choose and criticize freely, so the Daily Wildcat is free to print this cartoon or any other within quite permissive boundaries of law. But why did the editors choose to isolate and ridicule the Muslim members of our community? In my opinion, that editorial decision reflects such poor judgment that some kind of apology is warranted.

    Peter Likins
    UA president

    Wildcat deserves kudos for stances

    Kudos to the Wildcat for opposing further out-of-state tuition hikes. These beggar-thy-neighbor policies make the states look silly and diminish the educational experience at all of our schools.

    Thank you also for taking a clear stand on the Muhammad cartoon controversy. Nobody has a right to demand that others respect their unverifiable religious beliefs. The right is to tolerance only, a very different thing.

    Will Nelson
    researcher, Bio5 Institute

    ‘Profanity’ not protected

    The editorial cartoon in Tuesday’s Wildcat depicting the Prophet Muhammad was not quite as offensive and demeaning as the cartoons that caused worldwide protests, but it shows that many are still not getting the point. Islam forbids drawings and pictures of Muhammad and other major religious figures – even if they are positive illustrations. There are many other ways the Wildcat could have covered the controversy without making yet another image. While freedom of expression is important, so is using common sense to avoid actions of religious insensitivity. Just this past Friday, Washington showed its support toward Muslims on this issue. State Department spokesman Kurtis Cooper said, “”We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression, but it must be coupled with press responsibility.””

    The U.S. Constitution confines freedom of speech when it crosses the line, to “”the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous and the insulting or ‘fighting’ words – those which by their very utterance inflicted injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.””

    Although unfortunate, this incident can be used as a learning opportunity.

    Unlike the European media, most U.S. publications have decided not to republish the cartoon depictions of our prophet. CNN has announced, “”CNN has chosen to not show the cartoons in respect for Islam”” and I hope the Wildcat learns to do the same.

    Miriam Hoda
    physiology senior

    More caution would have been wise

    I am not religious, but I have to admit that I was pretty shocked by the cartoon that was featured in Tuesday’s Wildcat.

    I really hope that this cartoon was made with an ignorance of Islam, because then at least the artist would have an excuse for being so offensive.

    Let’s get this clear: It is forbidden in Islam to portray the Prophet Mohammad. Drawing a picture of the prophet is offensive. It’s as offensive as portraying someone hocking a loogie on the cross, or showing a rabbi eating pork. Perhaps it is even more offensive, which would explain the riots that are occurring all over the world.

    I realize that the artist has a right to free speech, and that she can paint whatever she wants, but I wonder if she would have drawn something as offensive about Christianity or Judaism. I also think an artist should be more wise than to repeat a m istake that has already caused unrest throughout the world.

    Nell McCallum
    economics senior

    Cartoon ‘smeared’ UA student body

    The recent attacks by Muslim fundamentalists in several countries on embassies and cultural centers in response to the Scandinavian editorial-cartoon depiction of the Prophet Muhammad were wrong and should be condemned as so. With that said, opposition against publication of the Danish editorial must be defended. Would my Jewish friends appreciate anti-Semitic caricatures that dehumanize Judaism or the Holocaust? Would my devoted Christian friends enjoy opening up their newspaper to see Jesus Christ portrayed as a depraved individual or even worse?

    Such depictions clearly wrought pain in many devout Muslims over the past week, 99.9 percent of whom did not pillage an embassy or cultural center. Why the Wildcat would publish such incendiary material after what the world has witnessed over the past week is truly astonishing. The lack of sensitivity exhibited by the editorial board of the Daily Wildcat is a shameful smear on the entire student body of the UA.

    Aaron Gubi
    psychology graduate student

    Artist showed no understanding

    After the riots in Lebanon attained front-page status in the Wildcat, I thought the editorial staff would have more taste. Unfortunately, that was not the case. How disappointing to see something that is neither thought provoking nor inspirational grace the opinion pages of our school. The Tuesday cartoon depicting Mohammad was nothing more than immature and insensitive. The key to good political cartoons is understanding and having knowledge of world events. This cartoonist had neither. The obvious disregard for a religion outside of the author’s experience showed nothing more then intolerance. This cartoon illustrates the view of a sheltered person living a sheltered life in the U.S.

    Thank you, Wildcat, for once again proving our status as ignorant college students who remain uneducated on worldly events and acceptance.

    Rebecca Oemke
    mechanical engineering graduate student

    Muslim world sees cartoon as insult

    I feel that the publication of the Tuesday

    cartoon with Jesus advising the Prophet Muhammad he “”needs to learn how to take a joke”” is completely and totally inappropriate for two reasons. The first reason is that it has already been well-established throughout Europe since the original publication of the caricatures last September as well the recent re-publication that Muslims do not feel that anything about the situation is funny. The riots that have been caused, the deaths that have occurred and the deep insults to the Prophet Muhammad, which have been taken very personally, are not material for humor; they are material to further the alienation between those who want to become educated about the true teachings of Islam and those who are willing to accept any portrayal that furthers intolerant stereotypes. This stereotype is grossly reinforced by the way you chose to artistically express the Prophet Muhammad. Simply because we are geographically removed from the contested area does not remove the sting of this offense to members of the Muslim community; any portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad is considered offensive. It should not be up to simply followers of Islam to be offended; it should offend anyone who is tolerant and respectful of the religious beliefs of others.

    The second reason is that the Daily Wildcat should have been slightly more observant of the other articles it printed, namely the fact that the winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize, Shirin Ebadi, was giving a lecture that evening. This woman is an astounding leader in the Muslim community, who has accomplished extraordinary things. It is appalling to think what would happen if Ebadi picked up the Daily Wildcat to get a feel of what our student community was like and found a mockery of her religion. The Daily Wildcat has provided this university with a message of insensitivity to the situation in Europe and the Middle East, ignorance and misunderstanding of the practices of Islam as well as a probable chance to embarrass every member of this institution in front of the distinguished and inspirational Shirin Ebadi.

    Meghan Harper
    history and classical studies senior

    Diversity not served in offense

    I write this letter in response to the cartoon you have posted in the Tuesday Daily Wildcat issue; I believe that comic was not politically correct as it offended me as a Muslim. Personally I have no problem with criticizing Muslim behaviors or actions, but I find it extremely offensive to depict the Prophet Mohammad (May peace be upon him) in such a humiliating and inappropriate way as what has been shown in the newspaper. This comic that depicts the prophet in sarcastic manner first does not represent the historically accepted physical features of the prophet. And it is highly offensive for the whole Muslim community.

    My letter is not to condemn or constrain the freedom of expression; I totally believe in free press as a major aspect of a democratic society. However, we have been always told, “”My freedom in swinging my arm ends at the tip of the nose of the guy standing beside me,”” and the late Muslim reactions to the Danish cartoon instance made it clear how such sarcastic depictions affect Muslim feelings.

    I believe that such a depiction does not embrace the sense of diversity this community enjoys. And as the most widely read newspaper on campus, you have an obligation to foster that diversity.

    Mohamed Hegazy
    computer science graduate student

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