Proud to be an Illini

I want to commend the editors of The Daily Illini for publishing the Danish cartoons. As an alumnus of the University of Illinois, it makes me proud to be an Illini.

No doubt, some readers will find the cartoons offensive. To a Muslim, in fact, the cartoons are blasphemous. But, they are no more blasphemous than depictions of Christian or Jewish icons that have appeared in the past and regularly appear in Arab newspapers, and they are newsworthy. Reprinting the pictures isn’t about offending people; it is about informing people and having the freedom to do so.

I have actually been following this controversy for several months. It is a manufactured controversy, whipped up by radical imams that want to see whether they can intimidate the West. And to some extent, they have succeeded. The president has failed to clearly support freedom of speech and many major news outlets have failed to fully report the controversy by showing their audiences the pictures.

Therefore, I encourage all alumni to join me in congratulating The Daily Illini for its courageous stand in defense of freedom of speech.

-Darrell Hougen