Response of US Muslims to Cartoons Reflects Assimilation, Tolerance

February 13, 2006

Source: Newsday,0,5448808.story

On February 13, 2006 Newsday reported, "While satirical cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a terrorist have drawn violent responses overseas leading to rioting and deaths, American Muslims say the more muted response in this country is due to a combination of factors, including greater assimilation and familiarity with western concepts of free speech - even when it offends... He said the fact that few U.S. media outlets have published the cartoons, coupled with condemnations by the Bush administration of the cartoons as needlessly provocative, creates quite a different scenario in this country. The cartoons met with violent protests in countries including Pakistan and Iran. 'What you're seeing people here say is that we understand this is hurtful, but look at the response of the American administration and media, which has been supportive of Muslims,' Mohammed said. 'When's the last time that happened?'... Sayyid Syeed, secretary general of the Indiana-based Islamic Society of North America, said American Muslims are more secure here than elsewhere about their place in society... 'As Americans, we should congratulate ourselves that it was not just an accident that American media did not publish these caricatures,' he said. 'The American media has come to terms with pluralism, and doesn't publish something that is offensive to a large group of people just because they can'... The controversy is also spurring American Muslims to action. The Council on American-Islamic Relations is to unveil a campaign on Tuesday in which local Islamic congregations will hold events to educate Americans about the life and legacy of Mohammed. Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Washington-based Muslim civil rights group, said such events give U.S. Muslims a constructive outlet for their grievances."