Monday, February 27, 2006

Planned exhibit of Cartoons protested in UC Irvine.

Media: The student bodies have learned fast the threat of violence routine.

Plans by a Republican student group at UC Irvine to showcase the controversial cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that led to violent protests around the world are drawing condemnation from Muslim groups and university officials. The caricatures will be part of a panel discussion sponsored by the campus College Republicans scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. in UCI's Crystal Cove Auditorium. "We are firm believers in the 1st Amendment," said Kristin Lucero, a 21-year-old UCI senior and president of the campus College Republicans. "The public has the right to discuss as well as view the cartoons." Lucero said the cartoons depicting Muhammad, first published by a Danish newspaper, would be displayed along with what she called anti-Semitic and anti-Western cartoons that have been published in Muslim nations. Depictions of Muhammad are prohibited under Islamic law. She said the event was originally designed as a discussion about terrorism threats, but that the controversy over the caricatures of Muhammad offered another issue for debate. Muslim students at UCI see the event as a provocation, said Marya Bangee, 19, a sophomore and member of the Muslim Student Union. "First of all, unless they are living in a bubble, they have to know what has happened around the world" because of the cartoons, she said. "We don't want to limit anyone's freedom of speech, but with freedom comes responsibility." The cartoons, which have since been reprinted by other publications, caused riots that claimed dozens of lives in several countries. Bangee has asked the College Republicans to hold the event without showing the drawings. She said Muslim students fear the cartoons will incite violence locally.
Does Bangee know who would be happy to incite violence? Then it would be best to alert the police.

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