Toon rage in Cambridge

The 19-year-old editor of a student newspaper in Cambridge has been moved to secure accommodation and faces disciplinary proceedings from the college for republishing a Motoon. Clareification, the weekly satirical paper of Clare College, released a special “religious satire” edition which included a paste-up of one of the Motoons standing next to college union president. The photo was captioned suggesting one of them was a “violent paedophile” and the other was a “prophet of God, great leader, and example to us all”.

Predictably, Muslims were outraged (that being the natural state of a significant proportion of Muslims in the 21st century). Rather more disappointingly, the editor of the magazine has drawn condemnation from both the college authorities and the students’ union. Even the local Cambridge Evening News described the cartoon as “racist” and said the edition included “other vile material”.

A senior tutor, speaking for the college, said:

Clare is an open and inclusive college. A student produced satirical publication has caused widespread distress throughout the Clare community.
The college finds the publication and the views expressed abhorrent.
Reflecting the gravity of the situation, the college immediately began an investigation and disciplinary procedures are in train.

The president of Clare’s student union also expressed his “deep regret”

This material does not reflect the views of Clare students.

At least the local police are not investigating, saying that it is a matter for the college to deal with. Small comfort to the poor editor.

Here for your entertainment are some reactions from local Muslims:

Asim Mumtaz, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association:

I’m horrified and shocked. In such a seat of learning, I am horrified that things could stoop to this level.

I’m actually shocked that intelligent people know how offensive this cartoon is and that they have decided to reprint it in such a horrible manner. It’s disgusting.

I hope the magazine and the JCR apologise for what they have done. We thought we had gone past this and that people realised there is a difference between freedom of speech and outright insult.

I am very shocked, I would not imagine this in Cambridge, maybe some other university, city or country. We have such intelligent people and they understand the consequences of their actions.

Abdul Arain, of the Cambridge Muslims website:

I feel a mix of emotions, but I am absolutely abhorred this has happened on our backdoor.

These kind of inflammatory remarks brings about the worst kind of character. We need to rise above it. It’s one man trying to set up tensions. The Prophet Mohammed in the Muslim world is the most revered figure.

What this person has printed is highly offensive and it has caused abhorrence and distress to many people. This person must realise what he has done and take responsibility for it and come out and make recompense for it.

OK, listen carefully boys. The editor did nothing wrong. The only abhorrent thing about this affair is the fact that he now finds himself in hiding, he has been condemned by people who should be supporting him, and will apparently be punished for committing no crime. All on our backdoor, too.

11 Responses to “Toon rage in Cambridge”

  1. Jake says:

    Heard this on the news the other day. It’s an absolute joke. I don’t think the editor was a 10-year old though… 😉

  2. Monitor says:

    Yeah, thanks. I fixed that 🙂

  3. Alonzo Fyfe says:

    Recently, the atheist community was outraged by comments that Karen Hunter and Schlussel on Paula Zahn Now on CNN.

    There is no fault at expressing outrage at an insult, or in demanding an apology, or in insisting that a respected news organization inhibit their reporters from making these types of comments.

    Indeed, it would be a violation of freedom of speech to condemn those who express outrage merely because they are expressing outrage – to say that speech which is expressing outrage is not to be allowed.

    I find it surprising how many people insist on the free speech rights of printing a cartoon, but not the free speech rights over expressing outrage over a cartoon.

    However, the proper limit for expressing outrage for words written (or cartoons drawn) is with words and private action (meaning, the types of actions people can perform every day, such as deciding with whom to do business, who to invite to a gathering, or who to go with to the football game).

    Free speech is not violated when words (or cartoons) are met with words (or cartoons) or private peaceful actions in response, but only when one escalates the conflict to threats of violence (including criminal punishment). Where none of that has happened, no rights have been violated.

  4. “Indeed, it would be a violation of freedom of speech to condemn those who express outrage merely because they are expressing outrage”

    Nuh-uh – would not either – it’s not a violation of free speech to express outrage at those who express outrage at those who express outrage at those who express outrage at those who express outrage. Keep up.

  5. Jeremy Hurlock says:

    What I found very worrying was how often the newspaper article refered to this as a ‘racist’ incident when it seems to be nothing of the sort.

  6. G. Tingey says:

    This is disgraceful, craven cowardice ….
    Also, pehaps Clare College, and several other places could do with the “JesusandMo” cartoons as another example, and watch their heads explode …

    and other cartoons on this site

    Also, I understand that the National Secular Society are preparing a formal protest to the principal of Clare College.

  7. […] News gives exactly one side of the controversy an opportunity to air its grievances, leaving MediaWatchWatch to take up the defense. (Thanks to “Holden Carver” for emailing me that last […]

  8. […] one, but two Muhammed cartoon stories (yes, it is still trundling along), both lifted from Media Watch […]

  9. Poustman says:

    The problem caused by some Muslims is the threat of violence and violent protest. Expressing outrage is perfectly in bounds.

    As was expressed above, the problem cause by the college is the ‘disciplinary procedures’ which are expected. (Arguably, an investigation has a cooling effect on free speech as well, but the idea of not investigating in order to not cool free speech seems to itself be problematic.)

  10. George Arndt says:

    There is a great deal of simularity between the Politically Correct, Jiahdists and the Religious Right. But, these three groups are natural allies, aren’t they?

    Call it the axis of small-mindedness or perhaps the “axis of the forever offended.”

    I say “fuck them all”

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