Thursday, February 23, 2006

Printing the cartoons

The Danish publisher defends his decision: Why I published the cartoons. I don't agree with all of what he says, or even necessarily with the decision itself, but this seems to me to be the biggest problem the whole controversy has brought out:

Has Jyllands-Posten insulted and disrespected Islam? It certainly didn't intend to. But what does "respect" mean? When I visit a mosque, I show my respect by taking off my shoes. I follow the customs, just as I do in a church, synagogue or other holy place. But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy.

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