• Islam and Freedom of the Press

    by Al Ousseynou Ndiaye


    The cartoons controversy began after twelve editorial cartoons, most of which described the Islamic prophet Muhammad were published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on September 30, 2006. The newspaper staff claimed that this publication was an attempt to contribute to the debate regarding criticism of Islam and self-censorship.

    Hamline’s Al Ousseynou Ndiaye invited Nick Sikon, public education coordinator of the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union; Karen Murdoch, geography professor at Century College; and Farheen Hakim, a Muslim-American giving her response to the controversy, to discuss these cartoons in relation to freedom of speech.

    Hakeem goes beyond the debate about freedom of the press and views Murdoch’s posting of the cartoons in a Faculty bulletin board at Century College as an outrageous act of racism, a way of dehumanizing Muslims.

    ACLU representative Nick Sikon was mostly concerned with the precedent people would be setting by asking Murdoch to take the cartoons down. It was an interesting debate when one considers that the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and that mainstream media refrained from publishing the cartoons. Was that an act of self-censorship under religious pressure? We hope this debate will help you find an answer.

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