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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat



    Freedom of speech sometimes means hurting others’ feelings

    I’d like to respond to yesterday’s Mailbag onslaught regarding the controversial cartoons that appeared in the Danish press, and now the Arizona Daily Wildcat (thank goodness its offices weren’t incinerated). Mohamed Hegazy makes a brilliant point, but judging by the rest of his letter, it appears he himself missed it entirely. In his letter, Hegazy states: “”My freedom in swinging my arm ends at the tip of the nose of the guy standing beside me.”” For those unfamiliar with this adage, it means that our rights extend only so far as they do not infringe upon the rights of others. Publishing a comic that offends Muslim sensitivities is hardly the same as an act of physical violence. Hegazy then explains that the rioting “”made it clear how such sarcastic depictions affect Muslim feelings.”” Were the cartoons in poor taste? Sure. But freedom of speech includes the right to say things that may hurt some people’s feelings; it does not simply encompass those things that nobody finds offensive – otherwise, what’s the point?

    In a different letter, Aaron Gubi asks: “”Would my Jewish friends appreciate anti-Semitic caricatures that dehumanize Judaism or the Holocaust?”” Obviously not. They would complain, as Muslims have the right to. But they would not presume to force their religious taboos on the rest of the world. My question is: If such caricatures were drawn, would Jews start torching Arab embassies and taking hostages? If you’ve ever seen the comics section of say, an Egyptian newspaper – where you’ll find “”The Jew”” complete with blood-soaked fangs and swastika armbands – you know the answer is no. These comics are more than common in the Arab press and it’s the hypocrisy of the demonstrations in the Arab world (not to mention the irony of using violence to protest being stereotyped as violent) that has left Westerners stupefied.

    Using Hegazy’s litmus test, the comics, although tasteless, are permissible. The self-righteous violence that resulted is not. Maybe the Islamic world doesn’t need “”to learn to take a joke.”” Simply understanding that rioting, hostage taking and arson are not acceptable responses to a sacrilegious cartoon would suffice.

    Daniel Perezselsky
    Near Eastern studies and political science senior

    Criticizing religion not unconstitutional

    I was very distressed that Miriam Hoda claimed in a letter yesterday that criticizing Islam and the prophet are unconstitutional. It’s true that you cannot say things for the purpose of inciting violence, but if someone simply gets angry at your opinions, she has no right to tell you to stop. Imagine if criticizing any religious figure were unconstitutional. If we’re not allowed to criticize and lampoon Mohammad, then we have to give the same respect to L. Ron Hubbard. I’d like to point out that no one is particularly upset at offensive depictions of Christianity. I personally found the cartoon in the Wildcat to be funny, and it made an interesting point.

    Matt Ehrlich
    history sophomore

    Wildcat response to cartoons offensive

    I was outraged that the Daily Wildcat’s response to the offensive Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad was to publish a cartoon in equally bad taste. Humor is often a cover for prejudice. Stigmatized groups – the disabled, LGBT, women, ethnic and racial minorities, Jews and Muslims – are sick of being offended by hate speech or humiliating images only to be told they lack a sense of humor. Why have Jesus lecture Mohammad? Why not the other way around (perhaps Mohammad could stand at the foot of the cross)? Muslims object to images of Mohammad. Why have you not respected their wishes?

    Ana Alonso
    associate professor of anthropology

    Spaghetti Monster followers marginalized by society

    I would like to address the plight of a religious sect whose beliefs are regularly trampled on by the general public. We, followers of Flying Spaghetti Monsterism (FSMism), believe the world was created 5,000 years ago by a giant Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    One of the most important tenets of FSMism is the wearing of pirate attire. The distinct lack of pirates today greatly angers His Noodleness. In fact, it is scientifically proven that there is a statistically significant relationship between a decline in the number of pirates worldwide and global warming.

    As a Pastafarian, I am deeply offended by the refusal of the general public to accept those of us who would wear pirate attire in order to please His Noodleness. We demand that all members of the public immediately begin wearing eye patches, striped shirts and three-cornered hats.

    If this does not occur, we, the Pastafarians, may follow in the footsteps of other slighted sects and exact holy retribution (in the form of drive-by saucings) upon those who have oppressed pirates in the past. This shall be their punishment for bringing global warming upon us! FSMism is by nature a peaceful religion, but we can only tolerate so much!

    May you be touched by His Noodly Appendage, Ramen.

    Logan Gaither
    engineering senior

    Forbes visit handiwork of Sen. Ettinger

    Thank you to all those students and Tucson community members who attended the Steve Forbes event on Wednesday. It was a tremendous success, and we certainly hope those in attendance were able to glean wisdom from Forbes’ insightful commentary and inspirational words.

    While the Associated Students of the University of Arizona Speaker’s Board may have organized the evening, it would not have happened without ASUA Sen. Lexie Ettinger. She began laying the groundwork last summer and fervently pursued this goal until its ultimate fruition. Her dedication and commitment to the students of the UA is admirable and we all are certainly indebted to Sen. Ettinger for providing us this invaluable opportunity.

    Carrie Pixler
    political science senior director, ASUA Speaker’s Board

    College Republicans more threatening than Communists

    Sean O’Neill has suggested that the Young Communist League will attempt to use its UA chapter as an advance base for takeover/genocide/precious-bodily-fluid-impurification. I submit that we need to be more worried about a student club that has already existed at the UA for a number of years. After reviewing some of organization’s actions, maybe you would be willing to call for its censure too.

    In 2004, its national organization raised over $6 million through aggressive and sometimes misleading fundraising drives. A common tactic was to send the elderly a large number of charitable requests under different assumed names, all urgently requesting help and all paying out to the same group.

    The local chapter has been just as busy, staging disruptive protests and bringing in radical speakers to spread a hateful and divisive message. Even now, members are soliciting new members (and money; don’t forget the money!) to unseat local and state elected officials in favor of their own candidates, selected by a committee in Washington, D.C.

    Sounds pretty awful, doesn’t it? The group in question is the College Republicans.

    James Shira
    UA alumnus

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