At University of California, Irvine, a Contentious Student Panel on Cartoons

March 1, 2006

Source: Beliefnet

Wire Service: AP

On March 1, 2006 the Associated Press reported, "A student panel discussion that included a display of the Prophet Muhammad cartoons descended into chaos, with one speaker calling Islam an 'evil religion' and audience members nearly coming to blows. Organizers of Tuesday night's forum at the University of California, Irvine said they showed the cartoons as part of a larger debate on Islamic extremism. But several hundred protesters, including members of the Muslim Student Union, argued the event was the equivalent of hate speech disguised as freedom of expression. Although there were numerous heated exchanges, no violence was reported. The panel, which included one Muslim speaker, was sponsored by the College Republicans and the United American Committee, a group that says it promotes awareness of internal threats facing America. During the discussion in a nearly packed 424-seat campus auditorium, six cartoons were displayed: three depicting Muhammad and three anti-Semitic cartoons."