Muhammad cartoons redux - Macleans.ca

Muhammad cartoons redux

Yale University Press bans images of the prophet in new book

by

The prestigious Yale University Press plans to release The Cartoons that Shook the World in November, not only without any of the 12 caricatures that sparked violence in which 200 people died in 2005, but without any other illustrations of the prophet. (The book was originally supposed to include a drawing for a children’s book; an Ottoman print; and a sketch by the 19th-century artist Gustave Doré of Muhammad being tormented in Hell, an episode from Dante’s “Inferno” that has been depicted by Botticelli, Blake, Rodin and Dalí.) Its author, Jytte Klausen, a Danish-born professor of politics at Brandeis University, in Waltham, Mass., reluctantly accepted YUP’s decision not to publish the cartoons. But she was disturbed by the withdrawal of the other representations of Muhammad. All of those images are widely available, Klausen said, adding that “Muslim friends, leaders and activists thought that the incident was misunderstood, so the cartoons needed to be reprinted so we could have a discussion about it.” Klausen, who is also the author of The Islamic Challenge: Politics and Religion in Western Europe, argued that the cartoon protests were not spontaneous but rather orchestrated demonstrations by extremists in Denmark and Egypt who were trying to influence elections there and by others hoping to destabilize governments in Pakistan, Lebanon, Libya and Nigeria. The cartoons, she maintained, were a pretext, a way to mobilize dissent in the Muslim world. Although many Muslims believe the Koran prohibits images of the prophet, Muhammad has been depicted through the centuries in both Islamic and Western art without inciting disturbances.

The New York Times

Filed under: