Since the holy crusades of the 12th century, a certain level of antagonism has existed between the Islamic world and the judeo-Christian world, an antagonism that is still alive and well as the latest conflict over certain Danish cartoons has revealed.
What is so offensive about the satirical depiction of a religious figure that embassies are attacked by firebombs and journalists fear for their lives?, Iranian leaders have claimed that the mere depiction of Mohammad is cause enough, but images of Mohammad have been plentiful throughout history, many originating from the middle east.
Was this conflict engineered by Islamic extremists? Some reports have stated that the catalyst for the Islamic worlds anger was not simply the 12 cartoons published by J...., but rather a series of 43 images that were some months ago taken on a 'road-show' of Iran, some, notably more offensive than those published by the newspaper, purportedly generated by the extremists themselves as an exercise in generating anger among Muslims
I believe that the western world cannot afford to bow and scrape to the demands of Tehran to follow their religious laws, We cannot afford our enlightenment to be smothered by the middle eastern equivalent of the Spanish inquisition. I congratulate those news organizations that have decided to republish the cartoons throughout the western world.
I strongly believe that all speech should be free, I believe that this includes religious or racial denigration, holocaust denial and support for ideals which go against the grain of society because we cannot have a truly enlightened future if our ideals are shaped by deliberate exclusion of controversial material. I believe that governments have a right, no, a duty to express disapproval of what they deem 'dangerous' or unduly offensive, but I do not believe they have the moral right to decide what individuals may share among themselves.