Hundreds of Muslims protested in Toronto and Montreal yesterday, peacefully raising their voices against the insulting depiction of the prophet Mohammed in European newspapers.
According to the CBC, about 250 people demonstrated near McGill University in Montreal and another 200 people marched in front of the Danish consulate in Toronto. (Does that mean there were really 1,000 people at each? Veteran demonstrators will know what I mean.) Apparently there was one arrest in Montreal, of a man who was shouting profanities about Islam.
In Europe, there were several peaceful protests, many people condemning both the cartoons and the violent responses to their publication.
Four days ago, the student newspaper of the University of Prince Edward Island published the infamous cartoons. CBC: "Two thousand copies of The Cadre were distributed on campus Wednesday, but university administration ordered them removed. Officials say the cartoons have already caused enough violence around the world."
The school's student union came out in support of the administrators' decision, and the newspaper's editors complied, returning all the remaining copies.
In the US, student journalists often conflict with school administrators, with the school calling publications offensive and inappropriate, and newspaper staff citing principles of free speech. This can be a huge issue in the US, where high schools and universities routinely demand students surrender their Constitutional rights. Courts have divided over the issue.
In P.E.I., the newspaper was technically owned by the student union, which was demanding the return of the newspapers. It sounds like it was pretty clear cut and the editors didn't put up a fight.
I'm reading about free speech vs hate speech laws in Canada, and I'll post something for us to discuss. Please stay tuned and hold your comments.