April 01, 2006

Graven Images


See update below regarding the lines in the cartoon.

The jihad over the Danish Mohammed cartoons continues, and the West appears to be losing the battle for free speech:

From Middle East Times: Muslim gang forces Paris cafe to censor cartoon show. (via Dhimmi Watch and Tom Pechinski)

A gang of young Muslims wielding iron rods has forced a Paris cafe to censor an exhibition of cartoons ridiculing religion, the owners of the establishment said on Friday.

Some 50 drawings by well-known French cartoonists were installed in the Mer a Boire cafe in the working-class Belleville neighborhood of northeast Paris, as part of an avowedly atheist show entitled, "Neither god nor god".

The collection targeted all religions - including Islam - but there were no representations of the Prophet Mohammed such as sparked the recent crisis between the West and the Islamic world, according to Marianne who is one of the cafe's three owners. ...

Refusing to dismantle the exhibition, the owners have placed white sheets of paper inscribed with the word 'censored' over the cartoons that were targeted by the gang.

"To take down the cartoons would have been a surrender. But on the other hand we cannot expose ourselves to this kind of violence. This way you can still see the pictures if you lift the paper," said Marianne. ...

"Putting on this type of show in this place was not in the least a provocation. Unless you think that freedom of expression in itself is a provocation," the cartoonist Charb told Le Parisien newspaper.

From AP: Borders, Walden Won't Carry Magazine.

Borders and Waldenbooks stores will not stock the April-May issue of Free Inquiry magazine because it contains cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that provoked deadly protests among Muslims in several countries.

"For us, the safety and security of our customers and employees is a top priority, and we believe that carrying this issue could challenge that priority," Borders Group Inc. spokeswoman Beth Bingham said Wednesday.

The magazine, published by the Council for Secular Humanism in suburban Amherst, includes four of the drawings that originally appeared in a Danish newspaper in September, including one depicting Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban with a lit fuse.

From Western Standard: Western Standard sued from publishing cartoons.

Earlier this month, the Western Standard was sued in human rights court for publishing the Danish cartoons. Itís been ten years since Iíve graduated from law school, and Iíve never seen a more frivolous, vexatious, infantile suit than this.

But that's the point ó this complaint is not about beating us in the law. Freedom of speech is still in our constitution; weíll win in the end. Itís a nuisance suit, designed to grind us down, cost us money, and serve as a warning to other, more timid media.

From American Chronicle: Danish Muslims Sue Newspaper Over Drawings.

A group of 27 Danish Muslim organizations have filed a defamation lawsuit against the newspaper that first published the carricatures of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, their lawyer said Thursday.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday, two weeks after Denmark's top prosecutor declined to press criminal charges, saying the drawings that sparked a firestorm in the Muslim world did not violate laws against racism or blasphemy.

Michael Christiani Havemann, a lawyer representing the Muslim groups, said lawsuit sought $16,100 in damages from Jyllands-Posten Editor in Chief Carsten Juste and Culture Editor Flemming Rose, who supervised the cartoon project.

'We're seeking judgment for both the text and the drawings which were gratuitously defamatory and injurious,' Havemann said.

From the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education: NYU Surrenders to the Hecklerís Veto in Mohammed Cartoon Dispute.

In violation of its own policies, New York University (NYU) is refusing to allow a student group to show the Danish cartoons of Mohammed at a public event tonight. Even though the purpose of the event is to show and discuss the cartoons, an administrator has suddenly ordered the students either not to display them or to exclude 150 off-campus guests from attending. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is urging NYUís president to reverse course and stand up for freedom of speech.

The event was hosted by The Objectivist Club at NYU. More on this event at Atlas Shrugs, The Volokh Conspiracy and NoodleFood.

Two good commentaries on the Cartoon Jihad :

From The Ayn Rand Institute: The Fear to Speak Comes to America's Shores by Onkar Ghate.

In the face of such outrages, we must demand that the U.S. government reverse its disgraceful stand and fulfill is obligation to protect our right to free speech.

Freedom of speech means the right to express one's ideas without danger of physical coercion from anyone. This freedom includes the right to make movies, write books, draw pictures, voice political opinions--and satirize religion. This right flows from the right to think: the right to observe, to follow the evidence, to reach the conclusions you judge the facts warrant--and then to convey your thoughts to others.

In a free society, anyone angered by someone else's ideas has a simple and powerful recourse: don't buy his books, watch his movies, or read his newspapers. If one judges his ideas dangerous, argue against them. The purveyor of evil ideas is no threat to those who remain free to counter them with rational ones.

But the moment someone decides to answer those he finds offensive with a knife or a homemade explosive, not an argument, he removes himself from civilized society.

And from Rule of Reason blog: The Ruses of Domestic Islamic 'Rage' Against Freedom of Speech by Edward Cline.

The slippery slope of censorship and "responsible" public policy, also known as self-censorship. Someone please correct me, but I believe that Ayn Rand once remarked that at the rate the West is deteriorating, it will not end with a bang, but with a burp. The foregoing instances of submission to Islamic threats and pressure are warnings and guarantees of more to come.

If you have not already noticed it, endorsement of the display of the Danish cartoons -- indeed, any expression of criticism about Islam -- is steadily being equated with racism, hatred, and discrimination.

(Many of these links via Little Green Footballs and Instapundit.)

UPDATE I -- April 1: Thanks to everyone who notified us about the cartoon being messed up. We did that effect intentionally for a little April Fools Day fun. Such fun is becoming a tradition for us; here's what we did in 2004 and 2005. This year's joke kept evolving as we developed it and ended up somewhat playing into the cartoon's point. That is, the cartoon kind of looks like it might have been censored or hacked because of its content, which some readers suspected. The post itself is serious, and we recommend all the links. Nonetheless, Happy April Fools Day, everyone.

UPDATE II -- April 3: American Thinker has more on the NYU panel discussion by participant Andrew G. Bostom: NYU's Cartoonish Quarantine.

This past Wednesday evening, March 29, 2006, I participated in a panel discussion of the Danish cartoon jihad where life imitated (Grenierís) art as depressing farce through the actions of the New York University Administration. The NYU Administrationís toxic combination of moral cowardice and absurd, offensive "reasoning" forced a Hobson's choice upon the courageous NYU Objectivist Club student organizers†of this important forum ...

On April 11, another panel discussion of the Danish Mohammed cartoons will be hosted by the USC Objectivist Club (details here). Panelists include Daniel Pipes and The Ayn Rand Institute's Yaron Brook [CORRECTION: I had mistakenly billed Peter Schwartz].

Posted by Forkum at April 1, 2006 12:01 AM