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Yale criticized for nixing Muslim cartoons in book.

Byline: Daily Star Staff

Summary: <p>Yale University has removed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad from an upcoming book about how they caused outrage across the Muslim world, drawing criticism from prominent alumni and a national group of university professors.AaYale University Press, which the university owns, removed the 12 caricatures from the book "The Cartoons That Shook the World" by Brandeis University Professor Jytte Klausen, citing fears of violence.

John ChristoffersenAa

Associated PressAa

Aa

NEW HAVEN: Yale University has removed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad from an upcoming book about how they caused outrage across the Muslim world, drawing criticism from prominent alumni and a national group of university professors.AaYale University Press, which the university owns, removed the 12 caricatures from the book "The Cartoons That Shook the World" by Brandeis University Professor Jytte Klausen, citing fears of violence.Aa

The book is scheduled to be released next week.Aa

A Danish newspaper originally published the cartoons -- including one depicting Mo-ham-mad wearing a bomb-shaped turban -- in 2005.Aa

Other Western publications reprinted them.Aa

The following year, the cartoons triggered massive protests from Morocco to Indonesia. Rioters torched Danish and other Western diplomatic missions. Some Muslim countries boycotted Danish products.Aa

Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the Prophet, even favorable, for fear it could lead to idolatry.Aa

"I think it's horrifying that the campus of [American Revolutionary War hero] Nathan Hale has become the first place where America surrenders to this kind of fear because of what extremists might possibly do," said Michael Steinberg, an attorney and Yale graduate.Aa

Steinberg was among 25 alumni who signed a protest letter sent Friday to Yale Alumni Magazine that urged the university to restore the drawings to the book. Other signers included John Bolton, a former US ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, former Bush administration speechwriter David Frum and Seth Corey, a liberal doctor.Aa

"I think it's intellectual cowardice," Bolton said Thursday. "I think it's very self-defeating on Yale's part. To me it's just inexplicable."Aa

In a statement explaining the decision, Yale University Press said it decided to exclude a Danish newspaper page of the cartoons and other depictions of Muhammad after asking the university for help on the issue.Aa

It added that the university had consulted counterterrorism officials, diplomats and the top Muslim official at the United Nations.Aa

"The decision rested solely on the experts' assessment that there existed a substantial likelihood of violence that might take the lives of innocent victims," the statement said.Aa

Republication of the cartoons has repeatedly resulted in violence around the world, leading to more than 200 deaths and hundreds of injuries, the statement said.Aa

It also noted that major newspapers in the United States and Britain have declined to print the cartoons.Aa

"Yale and Yale University Press are deeply committed to freedom of speech and expression, so the issues raised here were difficult," the statement said. "The press would never have reached the decision it did on the grounds that some might be offended by portrayals of the Prophet Mohammad."

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Date:Sep 9, 2009
Words:538
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