From the Times Online:
THE Danish editor who brought the fury of the Muslim world on his country by printing pictures of the Prophet Muhammad defiantly declared yesterday: “We do not apologise for printing the cartoons. It was our right to do so.”
As protests continued for a second day in Gaza with shouts of “Death to Denmark’, Flemming Rose, the culture editor of the centre-right daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten, sat in his book-lined office declaring his surprise at the reaction.
He said that he had to stand his ground because, as in the Salman Rushdie affair, freedom of speech was being threatened. “There is a lot at stake. It would be very naive to think this is only about Jyllands-Posten and 12 cartoons and apologising or not apologising.
“This is about standing for fundamental values that have been the (foundation) for the development of Western democracies over several hundred years, and we are now in a situation where those values are being challenged,’ he said.
“I think some of the Muslims who have reacted very strongly to these cartoons are being driven by totalitarian and authoritarian impulses, and the nature of these impulses is that if you give in once they will just put forward new requirements.”
Addendum: A French newspaper called France Soir has now reprinted the cartoons in question. From the BBC:
France Soir said it had published the cartoons to show that “religious dogma” had no place in a secular society.
Their publication in Denmark has led to protests in several Arab nations.
Responding to France Soir’s move, the French government said it supported press freedom – but added that beliefs and religions must be respected.
Islamic tradition bans depictions of the Prophet Muhammad or Allah.
Under the headline “Yes, we have the right to caricature God”, France Soir ran a front page cartoon of Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Christian gods floating on a cloud.
It shows the Christian deity saying: “Don’t complain, Muhammad, we’ve all been caricatured here.”
The full set of Danish drawings, some of which depict the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist, were printed on the inside pages.
France Soir has a website but doesn’t appear to have this story online.
Now, RWB definitely thinks it’s good practice and good manners not to make fun of anyone’s religious figures. This, however, has become an issue of to what extent Western societies will give in to threats, intimidation and violence in order to appease the followers of a radical Islam that daily proves itself incompatible with modernity and freedom. Vive la France Soir.
Addendum III: Michelle Malkin has a story of another cartoon, and a different way of expressing outrage.