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Campus events respond to cartoon controversy

February 16, 2006

by John Lucas, UW Communications

Three campus events have been organized to discuss
the international controversy over cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad as
a terrorist figure.

The Offices of the Dean of Students will hold a panel discussion
entitled “Free Speech, Civility and the Impact on Campus Climate” at
7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, in 272 Bascom Hall. UW-Madison Interim Dean of Students
Lori Berquam will help moderate a group of students and faculty concerned about
the issue as it relates to the campus community.

” My hope is to bring people together for a thoughtful and educational discussion of these important issues,” Berquam says, noting that the Badger Herald reproduced the cartoon on Feb. 13.

“The university stands by the principals of free expression, but also wants
to give voice to the fact that this episode has been deeply hurtful to Muslims
in Madison,” she adds.

The panel is expected to include Mac VerStandig, editor-in-chief of the
Badger Herald; Mir Babar Basir, president of the Muslim Students Association
(MSA); Adam Schmidt, opinion editor of the Daily Cardinal; Alexis Simendinger, White
House correspondent for the National Journal; journalism professor Dietram
Scheufele; and Tejumola Olaniyan, a professor of English and an expert on political
cartoons.

From 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, the MSA will hold its own
educational event called “Campaign for Truth: The Life of Muhammad.” The event
will be held in Tripp Commons in Memorial Union.

The events will include seven
stations with posters and information about the Prophet Muhammad and Islam, as
well as a short movie. Basir, who is organizing
the event, says that the cartoons depicting Muhammad as a terrorist projects
a negative image on all Muslims, and that the Herald should have withheld publication
of the images.

A final event, “Blasphemy and Free Speech: The Danish Cartoons and World Reaction,” will
take place from 4-6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, in 6191 Helen C. White Hall. The Center
for the Humanities is organizing the discussion and will focus on the cartoon
controversy through an internationalist perspective.

All events are free and open
to the public.

For more information on the MSA, visit http://msa.rso.wisc.edu/

Chancellor John
Wiley issued his own statement in reaction to the cartoon issue
on Feb. 14: http://www.news.wisc.edu/releases/12180.html

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