Four years on from the international storm created by the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed by a Danish newspaper, the story continues with an academic book explaining the furore deciding not to reprint the pictures.
‘The Cartoons That Shook the World’ published by Yale University Press examines the reaction of the Muslim world to the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed and Muslims.
This sparked mass and sometimes violent protests in many Muslim countries, and a boycott of Danish goods.
The author of the book – Jytte Klausen – says
“I am sad personally because I feel it is a loss to the book to be published without the illustrations. It is also sad that we have a circumstance where an academic press feels compelled to go ahead and remove these illustrations.”
Director of Yale University Press John Donatich says they took advice from a number of diplomats, security experts and academics, and this was no longer a censorship issue, but a security one.
It’s also being reported that a Saudi lawyer is seeking an apology from several Danish newspapers for reprinting the original cartoons in Feb 2008.
So with the story and the controversy refusing to go away, did the world learn anything at all? Mona Eltahawy says it’s a victory for right-wingers on both sides of the argument. However, this blogger says we don’t need to see pictures to understand the full extent of the story.
Is an academic book explaining and discussing the incident bound by the same rules as a newspaper cartoon?
If something turns into a news event by it’s very nature, is it enough to discuss it, without examining the pictures that caused the controversy?
And after the protests, and continued debate about free speech on both sides, did the world learn nothing at all?