"Life is a 4-letter word"
The worst possible thing that can happen on a college campus happened today: some people were offended. As students receiving our liberal education we've been inculcated with the sure knowledge that these are the heart of all the great evils in a society: racism, sexism, patriarchal oppression, xenophobia, and probably cancer somehow. We have drawn stick figures upon the land, and with those stick figures is the word "Muhammad." We can only wait in counted breaths to find out how society will respond to our crimes against humanity. If only there were such a thing as a "crime against inanity", we might not be so troubled.
The consequences are pretty harrowing. Behold:
Kidding aside, AAF has wrestled with its collective conscience. It has weighed the dangers, it has been assaulted by the wielders of white guilt, and in the end it has decided that standing up against the enemies of freedom is worth the discomfort of a few who are innocent and our friends. Silencing anyone, including Matt Stone and Trey Parker, via threats and aggression is intolerable; and it will never stop until all of us agree that no one's sacred cow unwrites basic human rights. You can cater to the whims of fundamentalists, or you can cater to fundamental rights, but you can't do both. And Muslim Student Association of U of I, you do cater to the fundamentalists in at least one respect. You talk all day long about peaceful means, condemn threats, fostering discussion, and mutual respect, but at the end of the day your position will still be "those extremists are evil and insane, now do everything they asked because they're totally right about the issue." They aren't right. No one has the special luxury in our society of not being offended. When that principle is threatened, all people of conscience, no matter their religion or politics, must oppose it in whatever ways are available. That's why we risk so much that is precious to us to do what we did. The prospect of your friendship is precious to us. I hope some day you can join us, AAF, and the entire community of religious groups who know that we can coexist only as peers for whom the same rules, not special rules, apply.
I want to thank everyone who helped out. The response was really inspiring- we almost had too many people. I'm very proud of you, to be among you, and to be your president.
PS - Check out our Flickr photostream here for some more images of our handiwork. Here are a couple from that set.