Nov 2, 2006 12:17 am


The NYU Campus News report of a panel entitled:"Panel: Muslims face post-9/11 challenges" makes it clear that it was open to the public. In it a Muslim professor suggested that the appropriate way to deal with the editor who published the cartoons was to send him to hunt with Cheney. Fair enough.

What is not fair is the decision of the University to prevent the public from attending another panel, one on Free Speech dealing with the issue of the Danish cartoons which naturally included a display of them. For when all is said and done, it's not possible to have a discussion suitable to the academic community without a reference to the cartoon and, indeed, to the faked cartoons. But some Muslims threatened and the university surrendered.

FIRE is also appealing to the university to remember its commitment to free speech.

Do not hold your breath. We not know the precise reason NYU surrenderd: An email circulating amongst Muslim groups. Here it is:

Date Mon, 27 Mar 2006 22:43:35 -0800
Subject Action Alert - Racist Cartoons at NYU

Dear Community Leader,

This Wednesday, March 29th, an event is being sponsored by the Objectivist Club, an OSA club, and its purpose is to analyze the issue of free speech with an emphasis on a series of cartoons recently published in a Danish newspaper that depicted the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and Islam in a highly offensive manner. These cartoons have lead to riots, protests, beatings, and even deaths on an international level and now they are being displayed at NYU at the aforementioned event. We at the Islamic Center are all for discourse and dialogue and we would encourage the Objectivist Club to partake in whatever discussion they would like.

We, however, would not encourage racism is any shape or form, and to us and many others, these cartoons are racist and we adamantly oppose their display. As such, we are asking you and your club to help us speak out against and protest the display of these cartoons in any shape or form. The event itself and the topic that the students would like to discuss is not problematic in any way, but the pictures themselves are just hatred and there is no justification in preaching something that breeds that kind of hate. We will be organizing a protest for this Wednesday at around 5:30pm and will be having an organizational meeting for it tomorrow on the 7th floor of Kimmel at 7pm. If you are interested in helping us with this, please contact me at [...] as soon as possible. Even if you cannot attend the meeting and would be interested in helping, please send me an email to let me know.

If you can ask your membership to make the following announcement in their classes it would be greatly appreciated:

Tomorrow the Objectivist Club is sponsoring an event that will display a series of cartoons recently published in a Danish newspaper. These cartoons depict the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Islam in a highly offensive manner. These same cartoons unfortunately have lead to riots, protests, beatings, and deaths all around the world. We are asking all students to stand in solidarity with us as we seek to protest hatred and discrimination on OUR CAMPUS. On Wednesday we will be meeting at Kimmel at 5:30 PM in protest of the University’s decision to allow the cartoons to be displayed. Remember that this same type of manifestation of hatred has lead to the murder of many innocent people. We can look as far back as the 1930’s in the years prior to the Holocaust when Nazi Germany circulated hate-filled images of our Jewish brothers and sisters throughout society. Contemporary situations such as Rwanda have also caused bloody genocides. It is necessary for all of us to stand together and speak out against this, as hatred does not discriminate against any color, race, creed, or religion; all it does is hate.

“First they came for the Communists but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out; Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists but I was not one of them, so I did not speak out; Then they came for the Jews but I was not Jewish so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Martin Niemoller, 1892-1984

Thank you for your cooperation,

With Peace,
Maheen Farooqi


Maheen H Farooqi
Islamic Center at NYU

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More Comments:

Sulayman - 11/1/2006

I don't see any threat here. Muslims protesting an anti-Muslim speaker isn't news, neither is Jewish groups protesting anti-Semitic or anti-Israel speakers either.