UC Irvine Muslims Protest Mohammed Cartoon Display

IRVINE, Calif. – At a University of California, Irvine (UCI) forum on Islamic extremism held March 1, approximately 200 Muslims and their supporters protested a display of drawings that lampooned the prophet Mohammed.

The cartoons were shown next to anti-Semitic and anti-Western drawings that event organizers said were run in Arab publications. The controversial images of the prophet were originally published in European newspapers and have incited riots internationally.

The forum was sponsored by a student Republican group and the United American Committee and was intended to spark discussion about the controversy the cartoons have created. Protesters, however, said the drawings offend believers of Islam because the religion does not allow depictions of Mohammed. The demonstrators also believed that displaying the cartoons would incite xenophobia against Muslims.

Although the protest included shouting, praying and sign waiving, it was peaceful and no one was arrested. Demonstrators included not only those opposed to the display, but also a few who supported it and waived American and Israeli flags.

At the event itself once the drawings were unveiled, speakers and hecklers shouted at each other, but there was no violence. At least two attendees were escorted out of the building by the police.

Another forum on the controversy that was scheduled to take place on the same day at a Charlotte, N.C. Islamic school was cancelled. School officials said they wanted to avoid the controversy.

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