Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Clare College Motoons

The Clare College Motoons saga rumbles on.

The chairman of the Cambridge Mosque Committee has issued the following press release,

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate and Merciful

The Cambridge Muslim Welfare Society, the controlling authority of the Cambridge Mosque, has made the following statement on behalf of the Mosque Committee and congregation:

With sorrow and anger the Mosque notes the publication, in the student newsletter Clareification, of material which deliberately insults the honour of the Blessed Prophet Muhammad (s.w.s.). Mindful of its duty before Almighty Allah and before humanity to defend the honour and good name of the Final Prophet, the Mosque condemns this provocation in the strongest terms.

We note with satisfaction the statement by Clare College in condemnation of the students’ actions. We accept that the College and University in no way bear responsibility for this publication and the views which it contains.

We hope and trust that the College’s view of the matter will be reflected in a statement from the students concerned, and that the students will offer a full and unconditional apology for their irresponsible action.

The University’s record of freedom of expression is a matter of record and of pride. However it is clear that incitement to religious and ethnic hatred is at all times immoral, and that its consequences for harmony between communities and nations can be grave. It is particularly important that the boundary between fair comment and hate speech be respected and understood at the present time, when misunderstanding and sometimes hatred directed against ethnic minorities of Muslim faith living in the West is on the rise, a process often exploited by far-right and racist groups whose political and social vision is abhorrent to all decent people.

Hicham KwiederChairman of the Mosque Committee

University magazine, Varsity reports that Clare College's Senior Tutor has

“been in close contact with leaders of the local Muslim Community, and also with other religious leaders, to apologise for the offence that has been caused”.
So does this edition of Clareification contain 'hate speech'? Well, we don't know because the students at Clare are too scared/lazy/busy trying to get into Goldman Sachs to tell us. What is hate speech? Is it ridiculing religious beliefs? Are we no longer allowed to poke fun at religious authorities? The Catholic Church believes that rape victims must carry their baby. Must i just accept this and move on? The Islamic Church believes homosexuality to be a 'sin'. Is this belief now sacred?

Johan has penned a response.