Effects of cartoon caricatures are felt at Blair
The Spring Break trip to Iran, which included Blair students, has been canceled after cartoon caricatures of Muhammad prompted unrest in the Middle East, according to the trip's organizer and social studies teacher David Swaney. Swaney said that the decision to cancel the trip stemmed from the continuous demonstrations and protests in Middle Eastern countries.
"I made the decision to cancel the trip last week because I decided that the situation had gotten potentially dangerous in Iran," Swaney said. "My sources were telling me that before the cartoon episode things were calm in Iran, and that we would have no problems as tourists."
The situation changed after the publication of the cartoons, Swaney said. "Since the cartoon depictions, there have been protests, demonstrations and flag burnings, which would be a potentially dangerous situation for tourists."
Swaney began planning the 11-day trip to Iran, during which students would visit the cities of Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan, after he learned that College Board added Iran to the list of countries to study for the AP Comparative Government class. "I wanted to learn more about Iran from a first-hand basis and provide my students with the same opportunity," he said.
The violent protests in the Middle East began after a Danish paper published cartoons of Muhammad, one of which depicted Muhammad as a terrorist, according to BBC News. Because images of the Prophet Muhammad or God are banned in Islamic tradition, Muslims were outraged by the image.
The situation escalated after several European papers reprinted the cartoons, prompting diplomatic sanctions, boycotts and death threats in some Arab nations, according to BBC News.
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