Crowd Occupies Daily Californian Office Over Controversial Cartoon

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More than 100 protesters clogged the lobby of The Daily Californian office for several hours late last night demanding an apology for an editorial cartoon printed in Tuesday's edition.

The protesters refused to leave without an assurance that a formal apology would be printed in today's edition of the paper.

In a statement prepared by the Senior Editorial Board-the student editors who make policy decisions for the independent paper-the board said it "will not issue an apology" for the cartoon, which "in no way reflects the views and opinions of The Daily Californian."

By press time, the protesters still had not been informed that there would be no apology. The Senior Editorial Board was continuing to wait for more police officers to arrive before releasing the statement to protesters.

The cartoon, drawn by

independent cartoonist Darrin Bell, depicts two men dressed in robes, with long beards and turbans, standing in a large hand amid flames. One man is saying, "We made it to paradise! Now we will meet Allah, and be fed grapes, and be serviced by 70 virgin women, and ..." The other man is dropping a book with the words "Flight Manual" on the cover.

"Look on page 5 of Tuesday's Daily Californian," said Will Youmans, a Boalt Law School student and a member of Students for Justice in Palestine. "You will see the most vile form of ethnic characterization because it comes during a time when many people are suffering a severe backlash."

By midnight, Vice Chancellor Horace Mitchell, Dean of Students Karen Kenney, UC police chief Victoria Harrison and Chief of Staff to the Chancellor John Cummins had arrived to deal with the situation.

Many students said they were shocked that a Berkeley-based publication would publish the cartoon.

"We set an example to the whole nation, and if our own paper does this, what do we expect from the rest of the nation?" asked Basim Elkarra, president of UC Berkeley's Muslim Student Association.

The Daily Californian's statement said the cartoon "falls within the realm of fair comment," despite concerns over appropriateness and timing.

"They have to be held accountable," said Wajahat Ali, a member of the Muslim Student Association. "The false representation by the media is directly responsible for the current hostile, angry and fearful attitude of average Americans toward Muslims and Arabs, and this is unacceptable."

Sikh Student Association Councilmember Jaspreet Saini said the cartoon's portrayal of Muslims with long beards and turbans may endanger Sikhs as well.

"Followers of the Sikh religion wear turbans and have long beards and have faced about as much hate as the Arabs and Muslims," Saini said.


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