The Boulder Weekly's Pamela White has a long sitdown with a guy who really should be someone's man of the year, Danish newspaper editor Flemming "Wanna see my cartoons?" Rose.
BW: I'm a card carrying left-wing nut cake, but I was surprised when I originally wrote about the cartoons to find that almost no one on the left wanted to comment. Why, in your opinion, are the issues surrounding the publication of these cartoons such an uncomfortable topic for the left? Few on the left want to talk about this.
FR: I think the left has betrayed its own ideals in this case, because the publication of the cartoons is exactly about what the left has been fighting for in the past 150 years—free speech and the right to challenge religious authority and to challenge a religion that, in fact, favors the oppression of women. [Muslim extremists] do not accept the equality between the sexes. They do not accept equality from representatives of different religions. They specifically say, "Our religion is better and should have favorable treatment compared to other faiths."
But I think it has to do with the fact that the left—at least in Europe, I can't speak about the left in the United States—views the Muslims as the new proletariat. They're the new oppressed minority that they have to defend. It shortcuts all rational thinking. [Islamic radicals] can say and do almost anything, and it will be explained away by saying, "These people are victims."
It also has to do with the legacy of the Second World War and the Nazis and the establishment of the United Nations and the fact that it became taboo to speak about cultural differences in Western Europe because of the imperial legacy. It's very sensitive to be critical toward a culture. It's taboo, no matter how oppressive that culture might be in itself.