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Here’s a letter to the editor of the Washington Post regarding Yale’s cartoon controversy :

The Aug. 23 editorial “Self-Muzzled at Yale” criticized Yale University Press for its decision to exclude controversial Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad from a forthcoming book. We found this to be a curious opinion given The Post ‘s own decision not to publish the cartoons. This very fact validates Yale Press’s decision.

We were two of the many experts in diplomacy, national security and academia asked by Yale Press to assess the likelihood of violence if the cartoons and other images of the prophet Muhammad were published in a book about the cartoon controversy. We advised Yale Press that publishing these images was very likely to result in violence, as there was a clear record of violence following their publication. More than 200 innocent people have been killed, and hundreds more injured, as recently as June 2008.

We who counseled Yale understand the book is a balanced, scholarly work. However, experience shows the book’s purpose and tenor would not mitigate the risk of violence. In choosing not to print the cartoons, The Post made that very same judgment.

The letter is from Under-Secretary General Ibrahim Gambari and Under-Secretary Joseph Verner Reed of the United Nations. These are the same UN diplomatic and national security experts, of course, who are ever-so-anxious to prove that Islam is a religion of peace, that the second-class (if they are so fortunate) treatment of Christians, Jews, and other religious believers in Islamic societies has nothing at all to do with Islam but is a fallout from Western imperialism and colonialism, that the practice of dhimmitude is a relic of the ancient past, and that those who suggest that Islam might have a little problem with issues related to religious freedom and free speech are “Islamophobic.” One can only imagine the violence that would result were the book in question not a “balanced scholarly work.”

All of which leads me to think that First Things readers might be interested a lecture by Anglican Bishop Michael James Nazir-Ali titled “Aggressive Secularism, Multiculturalism, and the Islamist Threat to Western Culture and Society.” The lecture, sponsored by the Ethics and Public Policy Center, will be held in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, October 14 at a venue to be announced shortly.

Here is more information on the event and some background on Bishop Nazir-Ali.

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