A University Professor And A Hero
HALIFAX—A peaceful protest turned tense yesterday when some Muslim students confronted a Halifax professor who drew criticism for posting contentious cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad on his office door.
Peter March, a philosophy professor at Saint Mary's University, said he was merely trying to promote a reasoned debate when he suddenly showed up in the midst of 100 protestors.
"You can't do philosophy directly and honestly without causing inflammation," he said as the protest march was getting started. "It's one of the side effects, rather like surgery."
When students realized who he was, a group of angry youths started shouting, "Go away!" and "You don't belong here!"
But March stood his ground, attempting to debate some of them before organizers urged the students to ignore him and move on.
The shouting matches, all captured by TV cameras, are precisely what some Canadian Muslim leaders fear contribute to negative stereotypes of their religion. Passions flared again on the university campus when March engaged in several discussions that soon turned to heated arguments.
He was helped into a campus building by police who barred the doors to a group of angry students.