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Oct 3

Written by: Diana West
Saturday, October 03, 2009 8:09 AM 

For the record:

Yale should have honored Kurt Westergaard with applause, accolades and gratitude for the Dane's brave, unflinching, unqualified defense of freedom of speech. Instead -- and I say this having read multiple reports and heard several first-hand accounts -- Yale as an institution treated Westergaard as an object of unconcealed derision, the distasteful and unfortunate consequence of a free society in which the right to free speech requires lip service even as the exercise of that right inspires only scorn and disapproval.

Yale's treatment of Kurt Westergaard, however, reflects on Yale, not Kurt Westergaard. Once again, in the wake of the Yale-Yale University Press decision to censor Mohammed imagery from its new book about Mohammed imagery (namely, but not exclusively, the Danish Mohammed cartoons), Yale has revealed a willful disregard for freedom of speech, particularly in regard to Islam -- indeed, particularly in deference to Islam. Given Islam's role today as the leading ideological opponent of free speech, this is a grave and shameful development.

Just as the Danish Mohammed cartoons revealed the cowardice of Western media, Westergaard's visit to Yale served to confirm the rot at the core of academia. At Yale, free speech about Islam has become a liability, something to censor, as with its book about the Motoons, something to oppose and denounce, as with comments from assorted campus voices. It has also become  something to eradicate, physically, from the campus itself. Such  is the symbolism of holding Westergaard's talk far from the heart of the campus, and imposing security precautions so extreme that they would seem to stand as an intimidating lesson of what happens to those who dare critique Islam. These extreme security measures -- dogs, SWAT teams, etc. -- may also have been so engineered as a bit of theater to justify Yale's decision to censor the cartoons in the first place out of fear of Muslim violence.

Having shrouded speech in the Islamic veil, Yale stands exposed.

On the other hand, Kurt Westergaard has emerged unbowed, unbroken, unphased, and as strong and unapologetic a defender of free speech as ever. See for yourself, in the interview with Kurt Westergaard and International Free Press Society president Lars Hedegaard below, conducted by James Cohen of the IFPS (Canada) at the end of Westergaard's US tour.   

Link: Interview james kurt Lars4-desktop

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