Yale and the Muhammad cartoons
Was Yale University Press right to leave the Muhammad cartoons out of a book on the violent reaction to them?
Chalk up a win for radical Islamist bullies, said Wendy Kaminer in The Atlantic. Yale University Press has decided to publish Jytte Klausen's forthcoming account of the Muhammed cartoon controversy, The Cartoons That Shook the World—but it won't include the actual cartoons or any other images of Muhammad. By condoning "the heckler's veto," Yale is encouraging "threats of violence against other authors or publishers of allegedly blasphemous or presumptively hateful books."
Of course Yale is "wary of reprinting notoriously controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad," said Patricia Cohen in The New York Times. After the 12 caricatures were first published by a Danish newspaper a few years ago, "Muslims all over the world angrily protested, calling the images—which included one in which Muhammad wore a turban in the shape of a bomb—blasphemous," and at least 200 people died in the violence that followed. Yale just doesn't want to provoke any renewed bloodshed.
"Yale’s decision is playing it safe," said Nick Obourn in True/Slant. Nobody has threatened violence over the book, but why take chances? Still, Islam scholar Reza Aslan has a point when he says it's "idiotic" to exclude the actual Muhammad cartoons from Jytte Klausen's definitive book on the controversy. The tragedy happened, it's over, now it's time to learn something from it.