Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Free Speech, Islam, and Cartoons

The Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published several cartoons of Muhammad, including this one:

Cartoon of Muhammad as Terrorist

As I understand it, any depiction of a man or woman is forbidden by Islamic law and tradition, and pictures of Muhammad are considered especially blaspheomous. Making fun of Muhammad is even worse. And thus, throughout the Islamic world, there have been many protests, not only against the paper that published the cartoons, but also against the Danish government for failing to censure it.

And not only protests, but also boycotts against Danish goods.

As one who objects to censoring the Internet, whether by governments--including my own--or private individuals or organizations or by religious groups--and religious groups are, as this case shows, often the worst censors--I feel an obligation to make censored materials, that I normally would not publish, available on my web site and blog. My hope is that, if enough people publish censored materials on the web, the would-be censors will come to realize that their efforts are counter productive. And I guess that in this case we should all go out and buy some Danish butter--or butter cookies or Aalborg Aquavit.


Anonymous i.m.small said...


So a cartoonist gets a fine
In Spain, because he drew a line:
The Royal Couple, in flagrante--
But is this such a crime for Dante?

Where common folks are paid for birth
Of heirs, love ought to be a mirth:
"This is the nearest," King to wife
Declares, "I´ve worked in all my life."

There is a bit of humor here,
But rulers often find things queer,
As even in the old US
Free speech now counts for less and less.

But I say: "run it up the pole
To see if anyone salutes,"
A people ought to have more soul
Than merely humorless galoots:

America, it is a test,
Free speech--if you can´t take the jest
(As is a rarity) the shame
Is you must exit from the game.

4:52 PM  

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