Student newspaper containing Muhammad cartoons stolen at Illinois university

More than 2,500copies of an Illinois college student newspaper containing the cartoonsdepicting the prophet Muhammad were stolen May 5.

Kristina Zaremba,editor in chief of the Courier, the student newspaper at the College of DuPagein Glen Ellyn, Ill., said the papers went missing shortly after they weredistributed.

Zaremba said the cartoons were published along with anarticle about an editorial cartoonist who gave a speech earlier that week oncampus titled “Drawing Fire: A Discussion on the Art of Visual Satire andthe Muslim Cartoon Controversy.” The cartoons were also accompanied by aneditorial explaining why the paper chose to print them.

“Wefelt that if the school felt it was such an important issue as to pay someone tospeak on it, we should cover it,” she said. “And to effectivelycover it, we needed to show the cartoons.”

The cartoons, whichwere originally published in Denmark’s Jylland-Posten newspaper last year,have sparked riots in countries around the world by Muslims who were offended bythe depictions.

Several student newspapers at colleges in the UnitedStates have reprinted the cartoons.

Zaremba said she suspects thoseunhappy with the cartoons took the papers. She said paper staff told the MuslimStudent Association ahead of time that the Courier was planning on running thecartoons, and a lot of Muslim students complained about the decision beforepublication. A response from the Muslim Student Association was also printedalong with the cartoons in the stolen issue.

“We weren’tsurprised on Friday when we distributed the papers that they were systematicallyremoved from bins,” she said. “When we tried to circulate some onMonday, those were immediately removed as well. People literally followed usaround on Monday taking the papers out of the bins.”

Zarembasaid she has been in contact with administrators who originally told her therewas nothing they could do about the theft. Administrators told Zaremba thatstudents who stole the papers could be subject to judicial review by the schoolif she provided specific names.

Calls to College of DuPageadministrators were not returned. But DuPage President Sunil Chand said in astatement that the school “understands the need for freedom of speech, theimportance of embracing cultural diversity and the responsibilities thataccompany those commitments,” according to an article in the ChicagoTribune. Chand also said the newspaper “did not reflect the values,aspirations and commitments of the College, and certainly not of [Chand]”in publishing the cartoons, according to the article.

Zarembaestimates the Courier lost $3,000 in printing, staff salary and other costsrelated to the theft.