Four years ago this week, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published twelve cartoons featuring Mohammad. What followed, some months later, was an outright assault by Muslim activists and regimes on our freedom of speech. Aftershocks from that crisis continue to erode free speech in the West. A recent example was the decision by Yale University Press to cut all images of Mohammad from a book on the cartoons crisis(!). The stated reason for that move was the publisher's fear of violent Muslim reprisals.
In an interview with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Flemming Rose, the editor behind the notorious cartoons, talks about the incident at Yale and free speech. One of his comments — about the response of U.S. publishers to a book he's writing on the crisis — was particularly illuminating:
[FR] Yes, I am still in the process of writing this book. Hopefully it will be published in Denmark next year. In fact, I already have had contact with some top publishers in the U.S., but it was my impression—though I can't prove it—that they were quite positive to the book, but when I said that I couldn't imagine a book without the cartoons, they lost interest.
I wonder just how much self-censorship is going on today.
Regarding the Yale U.P. book that was stripped of all visual depictions of Mohammad, Mr. Flemming quips that it seems "…Al-Qaeda has been appointed editor-in-chief of Yale University Press." To me that aptly names the stakes: until our government takes a principled stand and firmly upholds our right to free speech in the face of intimidation and threats, we in effect subordinate our liberty to Islamic religious dogma.