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.