Yale University Press has come under heavy criticism for removing images of the prophet Muhammad from a book it is publishing.
The American Association of University Professors has hit out at the the university publisher for "acceding to the anticipated demands" of terrorists. Its president Cary Nelson wrote on the association's website: "We deplore this decision and its potential consequences."
According to the Guardian as well as leaving out the 12 cartoons which provoked riots across the Islamic world in 2006, Yale also bowed to recommendations not to include any other illustrations of Muhammad, including a 19th century sketch by Gustave Doré of Muhammad in Hell from Dante's Inferno, in the book, The Cartoons That Shook the World.
Yale said it was initially inclined to publish the cartoons and other images as proposed however after it decided to "consult extensively with experts in the intelligence, national security, law enforcement, and diplomatic fields, as well as leading scholars in Islamic studies and Middle East studies", it was advised that "republication of the cartoons by the Yale University Press ran a serious risk of instigating violence, and nearly all advised that publishing other illustrations of the Prophet Muhammad in the context of this book about the Danish cartoon controversy raised similar risk".
Author Jytte Klausen said the book had been ready to go to print when the illustrations were pulled, after Yale received some "quite alarmist" statements from experts to whom it had sent the title. A professor of politics at a Massachusetts university, Klausen argued for inclusion of the cartoons in the book, which is due out in November in the US and January in the UK. "People think they know the cartoons and actually, by printing the cartoons, I'm arguing that some of them are Islamophobic, and in the tradition of anti-Semitism. If we can't look at them, how can we discuss this?" she told the newspaper.
According to the New York Times, Klausen has requested that a statement from her be included with the book. "I agreed," she said, "to the press's decision to not print the cartoons and other hitherto uncontroversial illustrations featuring images of the Muslim prophet, with sadness."