Illinois History Minutes

February 9 Illinois History Minute


It’s February 9th, and on this day in 2006, readers opened up the University of Illinois student newspaper, the Daily Illini, and found some of the cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad that the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten had printed four months earlier. The cartoons, some of which depicted Islam as a religion of violence, sparked global protests --- some of them violent.

The cartoons’ publication in the Daily Illini attracted both praise and complaints, including a demonstration on the Quad by Muslim students. It also led to the suspension by the Daily Illini’s publisher of the two editors who decided to run the cartoons, on the grounds that they kept their colleagues in the dark about it. Those editors denied the charge, and said they ran the Muhammad cartoons, not to endorse them, but to test principles of free speech.