Not About Freedom

In 2005 the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published several cartoons satirizing the Prophet Mohammad. The newspaper’s editor said this: “The modern, secular society is rejected by some Muslims. They demand a special position, insisting on special considerations of their own religious feelings. This is incombatible with contemporary democracy and freedom of speech.” Violent protests by Muslims around the world resulted in over 100 people dying. Danish embassies in several countries were set afire. As late as January 1, 2010, a man was shot while attempting to kill Kurt Westergaard, one of the original cartoonists.

Professor Jytte Klausen of Brandeis University wrote a book about the episode called ” The Cartoons that Shook the World “. But unbelievably the publisher, Yale University Press, decided to omit the original cartoons about whom the book was written. Their reason was fear of reprisal.

Later, an episode of “South Park” aimed at the unique exemption the prophet Mohammad has from ridicule, was pulled by The Comedy Central Network. Why was it pulled ? A Muslim group threatened violence.

Newspapers and mostly those on the right in the United States considered the Muslim demands as outrageous as the freedom of speech was championed. On the left, liberals conceded that newspapers had a right to print the cartoons but just because you have a right to do something does not always mean you should do it.

Sound familiar ?


  1. John Foust says:

    Reminds me of what happened (and is happening) to Pharyngula’s PZ Myers when he desecrated a Host.