Monday, February 13, 2006

Paul Marshall on the Jyllands-Posten Cartoons

An article by Paul Marshall, senior fellow at Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom and author of a number of books on religious liberty and Islam, was published today on the National Review Online entitled, Misrepresentations of Islam. In it he writes:

In the aftermath of Jyllands-Posten's cartoons, as the Danish government and European media face death and mayhem designed to undercut freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion, we should rid ourselves of certain misconceptions. One is that Islam forbids any visual portrayal of Mohammed; another is that such depictions of Mohammed are extremely unusual.

There is a strong tradition within Islam that making portraits of Mohammed is wrong, but it is by no means universal. Some, especially Shiites, believe it is legitimate.

I would strongly recommend that you read this important article, as Marshall forcefully contends that supporting the publication of the Jyllands-Posten cartoons is vital to upholding religious freedom and freedom of expression. He concludes his article by stating, " If we yield now to pressures for censorship, Islamists and authoritarian regimes overseas will have learned that by undercutting our trade, attacking our embassies, and threatening our citizens, they can control our press, just as they do their own, and they will take those lessons to heart."

You can find the entire article at

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