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

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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.

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