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← [UPDATE-07-Jan: commentary by Russell Blackford] Prejudiced Danes provoke fanaticism

Eric Blair's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by Eric Blair

The issues at stake here have been discussed previously but it’s worth saying again that one can defend the right of the cartoonists to produce their work and newspapers to publish them without condoning this particular approach to social relations.

The cartoons were readily available on the Intranet and, besides being offensive, offered no perspective on the issue on Islam or Muslims in Western Europe. Showing support for the beleaguered cartoonists and newspapers, and for free speech, did not require re-publishing the cartoons.

We now know that the purpose of the cartoons was pretty much to see what Muslims would do in response, and to their discredit, in almost all quarters they responded predictably – that is, as terrorists and apologists for terrorists. The fact some fanatics are still seeking “revenge” is regrettable and highlights the ongoing need for vigilance but, again, isn’t unexpected.

I suppose it is worth knowing that this is the type of world we now live in, though had I been a newspaper editor at the time I would have declined to re-publish the cartoons. There was no particular reason to continue offending a community just to highlight how easily offended its members are.

This is not to suggest that any group has a right not to be offended, just that there is no need to repeat and compound the offense simply to remind them that they don’t have such a right.

EB

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 19:30:00 UTC | #428408