Yale University Press has canceled the scheduled publication in an academic work of 12 cartoons spoofing Muhammad that appeared in a Danish newspaper four years ago. Its decision, which also affects any future pictures of Muhammad, came after consultations with Muslim clerics, diplomats and counterterrorism officials. (New Criterion editor Roger Kimball writes that it also may have been made out of fear of Saudi donors.) After the initial appearance of the cartoons, which are available on the Internet, violent Muslim protests resulted in widespread riots and more than a hundred deaths.
The book, authored by Brandeis University professor and Danish native Jytte Klausen, originally was titled "The 12 Little Drawings that Shook the World: The Danish Cartoons and the Clash of Civilization." Yale University Press rejected the subtitle as too sensational. Then it ruled that the book could not include the cartoons or even pictures of Muhammad, in deference to some Muslim clerics who rule against the practice.
My alma mater's gutless censoring of this book of cartoons reminds me of the recent book "Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West" by Christopher Caldwell. Europe's current Islamic immigration situation should certainly be a cautionary tale for the USA.
European governments serially sought to propitiate the most radical Islamists by not allowing that religion to be spoofed, as are all others, in their mass media. Now the infection has spread to America -- and to my alma mater. One of Yale's early grads was Nathan Hale, who told his British captors in our Revolutionary War, just before he was executed, "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country." Freedom is something Americans have fought and died for since our birth as a nation.
I suggest Yale President Richard C. Levin fire Yale University Press director John Donatich.
Remember France's 2005 riots? Those massive immigrant Islamic riots reminded me of the 1973 Jean Raspail book "The Camp of the Saints."
"Who were these rioters?" asks Mr. Caldwell. "Were they admirers of France's majority culture, frustrated at not being able to join it on equal terms? Or did they simply aspire to burn to the ground a society they despised, whether for its exclusivity, its hypocrisy, or its weakness?"
Should other important media outlets buckle as Yale has done, the huge number of legal and illegal Islamic immigrants here already might well be emboldened to take radical actions, keying off the European experience.
Noted American scholars such as the late Samuel Huntington of Harvard and Lawrence E. Harrison, director of the Cultural Change Institute at Tufts University's Fletcher School, have long warned us of the potentially dire cultural consequences of importing, without need or restrictions, radically alien immigrants into the U.S.
As Caldwell's book explains, many Islamic aliens in Europe have shown no interest in the European way of life, culture or history and, in fact, often come with dangerous animosities based on their extreme Islamic views.
Caldwell's comparison of Europe's plight with the Cold War puts ice down my spine: "Imagine that the West, at the height of the Cold War, had received a mass inflow of immigrants from Communist countries who were ambivalent about which side they supported," he writes. "Something similar is taking place now."
There has been nothing, he suggests, quite like the recent influx of Muslims into Europe -- he refers to it as "a rupture in its history."
"In the middle of the 20th century, there were virtually no Muslims in Western Europe," he writes. "At the turn of the 21st, there were between 15 and 17 million Muslims in Western Europe, including 5 million in France, 4 million in Germany, and 2 million in Britain."
These immigrants are further swamping Europe demographically, he adds, because of their high fertility rates. In Brussels in 2006, the seven most common given boys' names "were Mohamed, Adam, Rayan, Ayoub, Mehdi, Amine, and Hamza."
One of my Pakistani friends advises me that numerous newborn males in his country are named Osama!
The most chilling observation in Caldwell's book may be that the debate over Muslim immigration in Europe is one that the continent can't openly have, because anyone remotely critical of Islam is branded as Islamophobic. Europe's citizens -- as well as its leaders, its artists and, crucially, its satirists -- are scared to speak because of a demonstrated willingness by Islam's fanatics to commit violence against their perceived opponents. There exists, he writes, "a kind of 'standing fatwa' against Islam's critics."
In short, most of these European new arrivals are not assimilating, but rather dreaming of the world back home that never existed, enjoying the freedoms of the West while culturally reviling it.
Now, as our economy suffers the worst downturn in decades, we have reason to be even more careful of who comes here. If we fail to learn from the history now so clearly evolving in Europe, we will have only ourselves to blame.
Maybe Yale's glitch can serve as a wake-up call to all of us.