Monday, March 06, 2006

Danish Cartoons , Also Censoring Voltaire “Spirit of the Enlightenment”

Blame It on Voltaire: Muslims Ask French To Cancel 1741 Play
Alpine Village Riles Activists By Letting Show Go On; Calling on the Riot Police by Andrew Higgins front page Wall Street Journal article March 6, 2006 (subscription required)

- “Late last year, … Muslims raised a furor in this little alpine town over a much older provocateur: Voltaire, the French champion of the 18th-century Enlightenment.”
- “The play, Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet, uses the founder of Islam to lampoon all forms of religious frenzy and intolerance.”
- “a small riot broke out involving several dozen people and youths who set fire to a car and garbage cans.”
- “Editors in France, Germany and elsewhere have explained their decision to reprint the [Danish cartoons] by pointing to principles enshrined in a statement often attributed to Voltaire: ‘I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it’."

Note the contrast:
- "Jerry Springer: The Opera, which portrays Jesus as a homosexual who dances around in diapers, drew protests from Christian groups. Still, it ran for months in London and was broadcast by British state television.”
- “In January, the Belgian town of Middelkerke cancelled a planned art display that featured a fiberglass model of Saddam Hussein submerged in a fish tank in his underwear. The Czech artist, David Cerny, describes his work Shark as "a reflection on dictatorship." Officials say they worried it might upset local Muslims.”


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