Revisiting the Danish Cartoon Crisis

4 10 2007

Michael C. Moynihan in Reason Online

Over a year after the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published those now-infamous cartoons of Mohammad—one of which portrayed the Muslim Prophet carrying a lit bomb in his turban—the country is still noticeably on edge. When I recently visited Copenhagen, a week after a pre-dawn raid netted a handful of suspected Islamic extremists, the twin issues of Islam and integration were difficult to avoid. On television, the news and chat shows were dominated by discussions of coexistence with the country’s approximately 200,000 Muslims; newspapers were brimming with reader letters and editorials on Islamophobia, secularism and democracy; and a bookshop associated with the country’s left-leaning daily Politiken prominently displayed Norman Podhoertz’s latest book World War IV in the window, with a large stack on sale inside.

To get a sense of how this diminutive socialist country (previously famous for pork products, liberal views on pornography and Jante’s Law) was tranformed into a main front in Europe’s culture war, I sat down with the man responsible for printing the offending cartoons, Jyllands-Posten’s culture and arts editor Flemming Rose. In a wide-ranging discussion, Rose expounded on his years in the Soviet Union, free speech versus “responsible speech” and his Muslim supporters.

More here.

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