Beyond the Burg: Yale Press cautious about controversial cartoon

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August 28, 2009

1:43 AM

The Yale University Press has opted not to republish cartoons of Muhammad in an upcoming book, according to the Yale Daily News.

The book, entitled “The Cartoons that Shook the World,” by Brandeis University professor Jytte Klausen, is an account of the reaction to a Danish newspaper’s decision to publish 12 caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005. The book is still slated to be published, but it will not include the controversial images.
The most violence occurred in 2005, but there have been incidents related to the republication of the images as recently as June of last year. Altogether, 200 people have been killed in violence related to disputes over the cartoons.

“The homework for us here this summer was to ask people in positions who could give expert counsel whether there is still an appreciable chance of violence from publishing the cartoons,” Yale University Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer said.

The director of the Yale Press alerted Lorimer of the book’s upcoming publication in June. The university then consulted experts, including counterterrorism officials in the United States and the United Kingdom to American and Muslim diplomats.

These experts told Yale officials that they had serious concerns regarding the violence that may occur if these images were republished, according to Yale President Richard Levin.

The book’s author does not share the same sentiment. She feels that her book should not be cause for alarm.

“I have a reputation as a fair and sympathetic observer,” Klausen said. “There’s absolutely nothing anti-Muslim about my book.”

She said her intention was to show the entire page from the newspaper, which most people have not seen. She added that the experts were not shown the cartoons in the context of her book.

Klausen has chosen to stay with Yale Press, even though she wishes it had made a different decision. She said she understands Yale’s position and adds that she has experienced an enthusiastic reception from the editors.

“The Cartoons that Shook the World” will be published in November 2009.

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