En student ved Clare College ved Cambridge-universitetet har måttet gå i dekning etter å ha trykket en av de danske karikaturtegningene av Muhammed i en studentavis.

Avisen til Clare College heter Clareification, men var for anledningen omdøpt til Crucification, fordi tema skulle være religiøs satire. På forsiden var en av tegningene av Muhammed og bildet av leder av studentforeningen, med teksten:

The caption below the cartoon of Mohammed bore the President’s name, and vice versa. Underneath the captions was a supplementary comment insinuating that one was a «violent paedophile» and the other was «a prophet of God, a great leader and an example to us all».

Men noe har åpenbart skjedd med klimaet, for spøken falt ikke i smak.

The publication of the cartoon provoked anger in Cambridge. The Union of Clare Students has been receiving letters of complaint throughout the week from enraged students. The Vice-President of the University of Cambridge Islamic Society reacted to the publication’s content with indignation. Speaking to Varsity, he said, «I found the magazine hugely offensive. Cambridge has a well founded reputation

for diversity, tolerance and inclusiveness and I was surprised to see such crude and unabashed prejudice. Freedom of expression does not constitute a freedom to offend and this clearly crosses the boundary of Islamophobia». A second year Clareification reader said «I can’t believe anyone would be so stupid. They are some of the most offensive things I have ever seen.»

Clare College tar sterk avstand fra bladet og har innledet disiplinærsak.

Det interessante er at tegningene ikke har vært trykket i noen britisk publikasjon av betydning, kun i studentaviser, og de er øyeblikkelig blitt inndratt. Nokså spesielt til å være et av trykkefrihetens pionerland.

The only other British publications to have printed the cartoons are Y Llan, the magazine of the Church of Wales and Gair Rhydd, the Cardiff University student newspaper. Two hours after Gair Rhydd was printed, all copies were withdrawn from circulation and the editors responsible were suspended. The Cardiff paper had printed the cartoon to illustrate a serious discussion of the impact of the riots in Denmark.

Danish cartoon printed at Clare

Sue Blackmore synes saken er latterlig. Satire har alltid vært en del av studentlivet. Vi snakker om et studentblad, som man kan velge å lese eller ikke.

We are talking here about a student magazine read by a handful of students at one college at one university. Student magazines have always been satirical and satire hurts. The president of Clare students might have been offended too, along with any other students who get picked on by their student mag.

And freedom of thought is fundamental to education, scholarship, and learning – all the things that Cambridge University should be standing up for. Great thinkers and scientists are always offending people by overthrowing the dogmas and false beliefs of the past. People were offended at the thought that earth was not the centre of the universe; they were offended at the idea that mountains and rivers were created by natural processes; they were offended at the idea that species were not immutable and they were offended at the suggestion that we humans might be descended from apes. Happily, in the end the evidence overwhelmed them.

Long live satire

In the name of academic freedom, Clare College, Cambridge, should have defended the pupil responsible for printing cartoons depicting Muhammad.