2009 August 18 Tuesday
Yale Press Chickens Out On Muslim Cartoons

How could a book entitled “The Cartoons That Shook The World” not show the actual cartoons?

So Yale University and Yale University Press consulted two dozen authorities, including diplomats and experts on Islam and counterterrorism, and the recommendation was unanimous: The book, “The Cartoons That Shook the World,” should not include the 12 Danish drawings that originally appeared in September 2005. What’s more, they suggested that the Yale press also refrain from publishing any other illustrations of the prophet that were to be included, specifically, a drawing for a children’s book; an Ottoman print; and a sketch by the 19th-century artist Gustave Doré of Muhammad being tormented in Hell, an episode from Dante’s “Inferno” that has been depicted by Botticelli, Blake, Rodin and Dalí.

Yale Press surrenders.

“We do not negotiate with terrorists. We just accede to their anticipated demands’. That is effectively the new policy position at Yale University Press,” Cary Nelson, the president of the American Association of University Professors, wrote in an open letter.

Got to avoid that repeated pattern of violence.

“There is a repeated pattern of violence when these cartoons have been republished,” University Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer said in an interview. Indeed, while the 2005 violence was the most severe outbreak, there have been subsequent incidents related to the republication of the images as recently as June of last year. In total, about 200 people have been killed in incidents related to the cartoons.

“The homework for us here this summer,” Lorimer said, “was to ask people in positions who could give expert counsel whether there is still an appreciable chance of violence from publishing the cartoons.”

I think the repeated pattern of violence serves an important pedagogical function: It reminds people that Islam is incompatible with Western values.

Update So glad I do not live in Pakistan.

Paramilitary troops patrolled the streets of a town in eastern Pakistan yesterday after Muslim radicals burnt to death eight members of a Christian family, raising fears of violence spreading to other areas.

Hundreds of armed supporters of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an outlawed Islamic militant group, set alight dozens of Christian homes in Gojra town at the weekend after allegations that a copy of the Koran had been defiled.

A few Muslims in Islington England recently demonstrated their strong feelings about burning hot literature. The West doesn't need this.

Three Muslim men who poured petrol through the letterbox of a publisher who they had heard was printing a controversial book about the Prophet Muhammed were today each jailed for four and a half years.

Ali Beheshti, Abrar Mirza and Abbas Taj planned to set fire to Gibson Square Books after discovering it was going to publish The Jewel of Medina, a book about the Prophet and his young wife.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 August 18 11:22 PM  Civilizations Clash Of

The Western Confucian said at August 19, 2009 12:38 AM:

No. They simply wanted to reach all audiences, including Muslims.

Randall Parker said at August 19, 2009 6:57 AM:

The Western Confucian, No, they said fear of violence was the reason.

Reaching Muslims: The book will probably be banned in Muslim countries anyway. Plus, all the Middle Eastern Muslim countries publish fewer books than Spain. It is not like Muslims read much in the first place. They aren't going to read this book with or without cartoons.

Louis Andrews said at August 19, 2009 8:52 AM:

"All we have to fear, is fear itself."

kurt9 said at August 19, 2009 8:54 AM:

Is this nature's way of saying that Muslim immigration is bad?

Wolf-Dog said at August 19, 2009 12:31 PM:

The demographically, it is impossible to compare the United States and Europe. Only about 1 % of the United States is Muslim, and many of these are African Americans. Additionally, the many Iranian Americans are fervently secular because they were the upper class who had escaped the Islamic revolution after the Shah was overthrown.


On the other hand, in several European countries the percentage of Muslims is increasing exponentially. In fact, in France it is already close to 10 %. At this rate, within a few decades a civil war is very likely in Europe. Also the European Muslims are far less educated and much less assimlated than the American Muslims.

AMac said at August 20, 2009 5:26 AM:

Back in 2005/06, the New York Times courageously declined to share images of the cartoons with their readers. In their coverage of the current episode, they courageously misrepresent the incident.

Meanwhile, the NYT magazine's house ethicist courageously endorses Hugo Chavez' condemnation of golf for the bourgeois values of its players (they're white, vote wrong, and failed to see Brokeback Mountain in theaters).

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