In an astonishing act, Yale University Press has told an author that her book addressing the controversy over the Muhammad cartoons will be published — without any of the 12 cartoons shown in the book. Muslims consider images of Muhammad to be blasphemous and particularly object to the insulting cartoons, which caused riots and deaths worldwide. Jytte Klausen, author of “The Cartoons That Shook the World” wanted the cartoons to be shown in the book.
While many in the West publicly defended the right of free speech, many countries have quietly passed blasphemy laws and cracked down on anyone insulting Islam or other religions, here. For a prior column criticizing this trend, click here.
While Yale University Press insists that it spoke to a wide range of “experts,” I cannot image the legal experts who supported such an act of self-censorship. I found the cartoons to be juvenile and insulting. However, an academic book on the cartoons — and censorship — should not itself be censored. Yale has caved into violent extremists who killed over 200 people and insist that other cultures must abide by their religious views. The decision must rest with the author, who clearly found the images to be important to a book on those very images. It is like publishing a book on the Sistine Chapel while barring any images of the paintings.
For a leading academic press to engage in such censorship is a major blow to free speech and will likely be cited by commercial publishers who censor authors in the future.
For the full story, click here.
8 thoughts on “Yale Publishes Book Addressing Controversy Over Muhammad Cartoons — And Deletes All of the Pictures of the Cartoons”
Why am I not surprised? A senator cheers a man who identifies himself as a “right wing terrorist.” Censoring an academic tome is the same as negotiating with terrorists. I guess Fatwas are feared after Salmon Rushdie, and the Dutch film maker. When will it end? Why don’t we go ahead and shred the Constitution while we’re at it. It seems truth and justice are not the American way any more. Who will tell Superman? I don’t have the heart. Any volunteers?
And, as if on cue…
First Amendment v. Fatwa. Amazon.com just this week agreed to publish “How Fatima Started Islam: Mohammad’s Daughter Tells It All”. This above book pulls zero punches as Mohammed is depicted at a drunken, moron pimp into little girls, little boys, and camels. The early history of Islam is followed but lampooned.
It will be interesting to see the orthodox Islamic response.
“While the West adopted a unified front in defending the right of free speech…”
Whoa, what history book were you looking at when you wrote this, Mr. Turley? According to my recollection, similar to the Yale Press, the vast majority of Western governments / news outlets cowered in fear at the threat of radical Islamist scum showing up at their doorsteps. Christopher Hitchens covered this sad episode quite well:
If you have any evidence for this “unified front,” I would like to see it, but I would suppose that your search would be in vain. After all, the Yale Press’ very actions in this article only confirm the point that Western civil society (academics, even!) still would rather stoop to censorship rather than raising the ire of murderous mullahs.
What is a cartoon book with out the pictures? I know.
So does that mean that this is why the Bush Cheney administration messed everything up so badly? They did not have picture in the play book? Or were they still trying to get the pages of playboy unstuck?
It’s not often one sees an example of spinelessness that also serves as an example of actual irony.
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