Yale nixes publication of Muhammad cartoons in new book fearing violence



New York, Aug.14: The Yale University Press is refusing to print cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in a new book out of fear that it might incite violence, and this has left the book's author, Jytte Klausen, disappointed.


A Yale University Press spokesman said in an e-mail to Fox News that such worries weighed heavily on them when deciding whether or not to publish the cartoons.

"As an institution deeply committed to free expression, we were inclined to publish the cartoons and other images as proposed," spokesman Thomas Conroy said.

But the Ivy League university in New Haven, Connecticut, was wary of arousing anger, so Yale consulted security experts and religious scholars who "confirmed that the republication of the cartoons by the Yale University Press ran a serious risk of instigating violence," Conroy told Fox News.

"I regard the experts' advice to the university as alarmist and misplaced," said author Klausen, who noted that the scholars consulted by Yale "never read my book (and) had no idea what my intentions were."

Klausen said the images were published widely before any protests took place, and she argued that the deadly rioting was fueled mostly by anti-Western sentiments.

Klausen told Fox News she would not have sought to publish the images were there a risk of a violent response.

"People are offended by (the illustrations), of course, but there's a difference between being offended and wanting to repress something," she said.

It may be recalled that the publication of similar cartoons and images in Denmark inflamed anger in parts of the Muslim world in 2006.

The cartoons set off a storm of rallies and riots worldwide and drew an assassination plot against leading cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.

In response, all of the major Danish newspapers and about a dozen others reprinted the cartoons in protest.

The Yale University press is set to publish the book titled "The Cartoons That Shook the World," in November.

The New York Times and Fox News said that it was "not at all surprising" that the school opted out of printing the notorious pictures of Muhammad, as many Muslims consider any depiction of Muhammad to be blasphemous.

But other writers and artists have been willing to risk even violent reprisals for the sake of free speech.

Author Sherry Jones has weathered threats for writing "The Jewel of Medina," a novel that depicts sex scenes involving Muhammad and his bride Aisha.

Her original publisher, Random House, put the book on an indefinite hold following concerns that its content would be offensive to Muslims.

"I decided to take a stand for free speech and publish my books in spite of threats and violence because I wanted to make a positive difference in the world," said Jones, who will publish a sequel, "The Sword of Medina," in the fall.

"Yale University Press's decision, like that of the executives at Random House, does the opposite. Self-censorship changes our world for the worse," she said.


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