The Free Press, Cultural Sensitivity and Religious Fundamentalism

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Last September, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten challenged cartoonists to draw the Prophet Mohammed, claiming it wanted to test whether the artists would censor themselves due to fear of violence from radical Islamic immigrants. Islamic clerics then circulated the drawings in Muslim countries, reportedly adding cartoons that were much more offensive than the originals. In Europe itself, re-publication in the name of press freedom has sparked Islamic protests that, in turn, have provoked anti-immigrant nationalism, and angry demonstrations, including violence and death threats, have spread to the Middle East, Indonesia and Africa. Why are the drawings so offensive? Is freedom of the press unlimited or does it require restraint? Is multicultural sensitivity really capitulation to religious extremists? (This segment was originally broadcast earlier today on To the Point.)

Jyllands-Posten's open letter to Muslims

Danish cartoons that have caused protest



Warren Olney


Frances Anderton