Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Point Has Been Made: Islamic Violence as a Tool of Censorship

Apparently, when the editors of Denmark's Jyllands-Posten published the twelve cartoons of Muhammed back in September, it was done to demonstrate the point that free societies face an increasing fear of the threat of Muslim violence.

It began when an author of a book on the Muslim prophet Muhammad complained that he could find no artist willing to illustrate his book, because everyone he approached was afraid of being targeted for assassination by Muslims if the book was deemed “offensive to Islam.”

That this fear should cause authors to avoid writing and artists to avoid to illustrating on religious topics for fear of violent retaliation is tragic. Such fear is inconsistent with a free society and must be resisted with all diligence. It was with this in mind, that the Jyllands-Posten invited local artists to send in their illustrations of Muhammad. “We will not be intimidated” was the clear message that they wished to send.

Sadly, in the face of the explosive and violent response on the part of Muslims around the world, the Jyllands-Posten succumbed to the very fear that they were trying to speak against as they were eventually intimidated into apologizing for printing the cartoons.

But the point has been made. Make no mistake; these cartoons were not published to spread hatred or intolerance. They were printed to demonstrate that Muslim intolerance threatens the freedoms we value. The violent protest that we have witnessed in the past few days is clear evidence that the danger of self-censorship because of fear (which the Jyllands-Posten wanted to stand against) is entirely justified.

If self-censorship is necessary, let it be because one does not want to instigate intolerance and hatred and not because one is afraid of experiencing it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Free speech is not absolute and care needs to be taken not to deliberately insult. However, it seems to me that the present riots are abnormal and falsely inspired. And there are many implications that one can observe, like that many Muslims still think the crusades are going on, that their religion is so fragile that any insult has to be defended and that infact Islam is supreme and all have to submit! And the hypocracy is also clear, like how Muslim newsmedia portrays the Jews as killers but nobody seems to mind that. Also I saw a picture of a knife stuck in the middle of the cross on the Danish flag.