Ethar El-Katatney

AUC Students Protest against Danish Cartoons

Posted in Dimensions (AUC) by Ethar El-Katatney on February 16, 2006

In a sit in organized by the Student Union two weeks ago, hundreds of AUCians gathered around to listen to fervent speeches given by various members of the SU.

Walid El Sallab, SU president, began and ended his speech by ardent cries of “Allah Akbar” (God is Great), and the students followed his lead. He told the AUC community that it was their job to tell people about our religion and our Prophet (PBUH), and that the insults were born out of ignorance. “If we are silent, then we will be silenced forever. France and Germany have sided with Denmark…what are we waiting for?”

Among the many things the speakers believed we should do was to increase awareness, take action, and address the newspaper that published the cartoons; the leaders of Islamic communities; and everyone who believes that freedom of expression must be regulated in some way. Mention of how any reference to the holocaust is never tolerated, or Nazi support allowed, also came up when defending how there are limits to freedom of expression. A petition was circulated demanding an immediate apology and action taken to make sure that this never happens again, with proper respect given to all religious prophets.

The boycott is currently on, with the speakers all giving it their seal of approval, and even listing the Danish products available in the Egyptian market. Abd-Allah Talib, professor of Anthropology, believes that “The boycott is a good idea in many respects…the disrespect of Islam is not right, and I was saddened to hear about countries republishing the cartoons. It should not have happened.”

The campus and the entire Egyptian community at large has been in an uproar over the Danish issue, rallying with the Islamic community at large. Just last week another demonstration was held at Cairo University, with students hanging up banners with slogans like “You are more precious than my father or mother, O Prophet of Allah.” Alfa market Maadi has participated, assuring customers as they enter that no Danish products are being sold. Messages and emails are bombarding everyone’s mobiles and email accounts. Bassem Abd El Raouf, SU’s services chairperson, believes that this is all for the best, and that “We have to continue what we are doing, and not relax…Because if we don’t react now, we won’t react at all.”

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