Opinion: "Enlightened Values"

February 18, 2006

Source: The Guardian


On February 18, 2006 The Guardian ran an opinion piece by Francesca Klug, a professorial research fellow at the London School of Economics, about the controversy over the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Klug writes, "Confusion and obfuscation have clouded every element of this morass. Torrid debates about the right to mock belief systems versus the obligation to respect religious sensitivities camouflage the essentially racist nature of the cartoons in question. Take the publication by a German newspaper this week of a cartoon depicting the Iranian football team as suicide bombers. Analogies with the Rushdie and Behzti affairs, in this sense, are misleading.

Liberal secularists cite Enlightenment heroes such as Voltaire, Kant and Mill to underline their cause. But they fail to distinguish between free speech as an essential means to challenge state or church monopoly power and stigmatising vulnerable religious or ethnic minorities in the name of a free press."