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Duke University Prof Out-Wimped by Yale: Will Publish Mohammed Cartoons

1:07 PM, Nov 9, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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In a rare instance of political good news from my hometown,a Duke University professor is publishing a book about the Danish Mohammed cartoons controversy, which will include-wait for it-the actual cartoons in question:

The book includes all the images that were omitted by the Yale University Press from Jytte Klausen's The Cartoons That Shook the World - including the 12 Mohammed cartoons - plus many more historically significant items (a total of 31), together with brief discussions of the context behind each work. The images, reproduced in high quality and in full color, include works by William Blake, Gustave Dore, and Salvador Dali, as well as Muslim artists from the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires.

If you're interested in reading the book, you can order it here. You can also ask your local public or university library for it, which I think will increase the chances that the library will buy it, and make it available not just to you but to others.

A statement from the book's editors reads:

The "Banned" Images and the signatories who subscribe to the Statement of Principle argue that recent threats of violence against the use of particular words and images are creating a climate that hampers academic discourse, grants legitimacy to censorship, and eventually corrupts one of the most fundamental values of liberal democracy.

The book's editors also asked other academics and luminaries to sign onto a Statement of Principle about preserving free speech in the face of violent threats. Read the whole thing, here.

A group of Yale alumni criticized the Yale Press' decision in September to keep Mohammed images out of its book on the Danish cartoon controversy, "The Cartoons That Shook the World:"

Yale University Press, owned and operated by Yale, has embraced censorship.

The Press accepted for publication "The Cartoons That Shook the World," by Brandeis Professor Jytte Klausen. Then it deleted the cartoons from her manuscript. Why? Because the cartoons -- which ran in newspapers and are on the Internet -- might lead to more violence. So Yale's once-free press did away with them.

The Press's censors went further, deleting all pictures of Muhammed, including a 19th Century painting by Gustave Dore. Why? Because Islamic law forbids depictions of Muhammed, and -- there might be violence. So out went the pictures.

This surrender to unknown potential belligerents drew scorn from the American Association of University Professors. The AAUP summarized Yale's position: "We do not negotiate with terrorists. We just accede to their anticipated demands."