Cartoon Controversies

After this whole rigmarole settles down I hope both Muslims and the Western media can reach some form of understanding between each other. The West can now see the deep love that is entrenched in the hearts of Muslims for the Holy Prophet. And the Muslims who protested violently should realize the damage they have done to Islam and the immorality of creating violence.

Muslims may take all the abuse against themselves-however when in comes to the Holy Prophet, their hearts are shattered. This love is the result of the beautiful values that Muhammad, peace be upon him, showed and taught and the link he provided for realizing God. I don’t know how this love could exist if he was a tyrant or terrorist. It is also worthy of note that the Arabs, most of whom initially hated Muhammad with passion because he spoke against idolatry, became his greatest lovers.

As far as depictions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, go, the reason that they are forbidden in Islam is because Muhammad came to rid the world of idol worship and associating partners with God. We see nowadays that there are images and idols that are worshipped, where people limit God to some sort of physical sphere. The reactions showed by many so-called Muslims to these depictions was not an expression of true love. Islam does not permit these types of protests. If they really loved their prophet they would have followed his example and replied abuse with humility and patience. I think these groups had something political to gain by doing what they did.

When people flaunt free speech, they should first take into mind the sensitivities of people. Muslims are not supposed to disrespect Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Krishna or the founder of any religion, because according to the holiest book of Islam, the Holy Qur’an, there has not been a place on Earth for which a prophet has not been sent. Due to this teaching, Muslims believe that most religions’ founders were true in their claims and that Islam holds the verities of every revealed religion into one. So not only do we respect the founders of each of these faiths, but we love them and accept them as well.

Free speech becomes a vice rather than a virtue if used to insult and degrade other people and their values. If the Muslim world and the Western world realize this, than there can definitely be more understanding and respect between different faiths and ethnicities.

Hassan Ahmed


Many a distorted fact has arisen from the smolder of flyers, rallies, and media attention generated over the campaign for better working conditions at UM. Among them: Why is it UM’s responsibility to pay a living wage? Why not UNICCO?

First, the obvious. UM employs UNICCO and it pays UNICCO. Also, as confirmed recently in a meeting with Pat Whitely, vice president of student affairs, UM has a 30-day clause in the contract, meaning that they can change it at any time.

Second, UNICCO has said several times in the Miami Herald that all UM would have to do is fund a living wage and it would change the contract. The term “neutrality” has been thrown around as a shield thus far, dodging the real question: Will UM fund a living wage? Union or no, workers can not subsist on the Momentum Campaign’s billion dollar prestige alone.

Also, UM’s “neutrality” is wholly unconvincing, for the conditions of which workers operate under are the direct result of a policy pursued by UM officials. In the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2001, UM’s vice president of business services was quoted as saying, “We allow them to pay whatever they want to pay as long as they can recruit and retain workers, and still make a buck at the end of the day.”

What is also little known is that President Shalala has already had the option of confronting the issue, when in 2001 student government and the faculty senate nearly unanimously voted on a living wage for all workers at UM. President Shalala responded instead by giving two floating sick days and access to a nurse. Unfortunately, that does not pay the bills. This despite the faculty senate at the time stating that

“UM has a civic responsibility to ensure that its contracting practices do not [lead to] a class of working poor whose income has to be subsidized by local government”.The report continues: “Employing service contractors who pay sub-poverty wags to literally hundreds of workers is fundamentally incompatible with the responsibilities of good citizenship.”

More than 35 universities and 120 counties have adopted living wages, and President Shalala has the option to adopt one here, and help 400 hard working people out of literal poverty. Workers like Martiza Paz who said, “why can’t they treat us like human beings?” Workers like her who receive less than $7 an hour with no health insurance and have families to support.

When we are the second-worst paying institution in the nation, when we are one of 12 universities that pay below the federal poverty line, it is the definition of exploitation. President Shalala, what are you doing, as an administration, and as a person, to bring them out of exploitation? More specifically, why did you not give a living wage when student government and faculty senate asked it of you? Students, faculty and community leaders want to work with you, but you have to take the first step.

Jacob Coker-Dukowitz