Flemming Rose Replies
Flemming Rose is the features editor of Jyllands-Posten, which published the Mohammed cartoons. In this op-ed piece (Why I published those Cartoons by Fleming Rose) published by the Washington Post, Rose explains the reasons for printing the cartoons. Here's the essence of Rose's argument:
"When I visit a mosque, I show my respect by taking off my shoes. I follow the customs, just as I do in a church, synagogue or other holy place. But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy."
Was Rose's argument undercut by today's trial of David Irving? Irving pleaded guilty to holocaust denial in a Vienna court, following which he was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment. Many countries in Europe have laws that prohibit any writings that "deny the genocide by the National Socialists or other National Socialist crimes against humanity."
In India, they unveiled a portrait of the mastermind behind Gandhi's assassination right in the Central Hall of the Parliament, and directly opposite the portrait of Gandhi (See The Larger Picture). There was a government in power for five years, whose members belonged to an organization once banned as a fascist and communal group. Yet, most people would rather that anyone could express any view, than that writings be banned.
The latest news comes from Britain, where any alleged espousal of support for terrorism could land one in jail. The world over, freedom is under attack, in the name of defending propriety. Michael Neumann's nuanced piece "Respectful Cultures and Disrespectful Cartoons" is worth reading where it exposes not so much the hypocrisy as the idiocy of this approach.
What next? Banning the Flat Earth Society?