On Sept. 30, 2005, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten ran 12 editorial cartoons, depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad in a comical way. These cartoons were meant to illustrate the rise of Islamic terrorism.
Islam opposes any depiction of their prophet, even favorable, for fear it could lead to idolatry.
There was an almost immediate response that was irrational, out of line and anything but peaceful from the Islamic community. Danish embassies in Syria, Lebanon and Iran were set ablaze and mobs rioted political buildings throughout Europe, with a death toll nearing 100 lives worldwide.
It can be safe to say that Muhammad is not a prophet to mess with.
It�s been almost four years since the publication of the original cartoons. Yet again, they have managed to cause controversy. Only this time, it�s in America. However, this time the issue was that they were not published.
�The Cartoons that Shook the World� is a highly anticipated book by Brandeis University professor Jytte Klausen that was scheduled to go to print in late 2009. As the title suggests, it was based on the cartoons of Muhammad. As late as last week, the Yale University Press made the decision to not republish these cartoons in the book for fear of a repeat of the reactions in 2005.
It is no surprise that the Yale University Press decided to pull the cartoons. If the cartoons were printed, the publishers would be placing themselves at the vortex of a controversy. Fear of reprisals has become a prevalent concern for many people today.
Look at Piss Christ, the modern piece of art that contained a crucifix in a jar of urine. Granted, controversy did arise, but it was relegated to conservative radio. The sheer thought of displaying a group of people�s savior in a jar of urine is far more offensive than a simple cartoon.
I guarantee that if I were to create a piece of art labeled Piss Muhammad, not only would I not win any scholarship money like the creator of Piss Christ, but I would also be labeled a racist and would have incessant threats made against my life.
The latter is not uncommon. There have been multiple instances worldwide where someone has denounced the Islamic faith publicly, and within a short period of time, they would be receiving harmful threats, and in some cases, killed.
This is very disconcerting and seems to be the growing trend worldwide, where individuals make sacrifices to please � or in this case � not to anger a fundamental religious sect. This means that nations are going out of their way to implement laws, transforming their government to please one particular religion.
England is a prime example of this submissive behavior with the implementation of Sharia Law � the strict laws stated in the Quran � in September of last year.
There are signs of hope out there. Surprisingly, France is taking one of the staunchest positions, defending women�s rights by outlawing burkas in public.
I�m afraid that this self-censorship was the first widely publicized step toward America succumbing to the social demands of the Islamic community. If these passive behaviors towards religious extremists continue, common sense tells us that America may soon see an end to our secular era.