Editorial: "Both Sides at Fault in Cartoon Row"

February 7, 2006

Source: The Nation


On February 7, 2006 The Nation ran an editorial on the controversy surrounding a Danish newspaper's publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The editorial staff commented, "Rioting crowds baying for blood and causing mayhem in the Muslim world and defenders of freedom of expression using it as a licence to insult others have a thing or two to learn from this dispute. Freedom of speech unbridled by decency and good taste can be ugly. Volatile minds that are not reined in by reason and a sense of proportion can be disastrous.

Instead of expending energy on defending freedom of expression or calling for deadly revenge, perhaps all parties should put this quarrel behind them and focus instead on our common decency, which is a prerequisite for rational debate. Surely for Western and Islamic civilisations, which have long been trying to come to terms with much worse atrocities over the centuries, offensive cartoons should not be all that difficult to let go of."