Mohammad Cartoon Editor: American Publishers Frightened to Publish My Book


When I visited Flemming Rose, the culture editor from the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and publisher of the now-infamous Mohammad cartoons, at his Copenhagen office last year, he was still reeling from a recent spasm of anti-Danish violence that had engulfed the Muslim world, the threats on his and the Jyllands-Posten cartoonists' lives, and the attendant controversy of free speech versus "responsible speech." There remained much to say, he told me, about the spinelessness of certain European heads of state, about members of the intelligentsia who admonished his newspaper for offending "a billion Muslims." Indeed, he was in the early stages of writing a book about what he calls the "cartoon crisis," and the resultant outpouring of sympathy for those religious extremists who felt slighted.

But in a recent interview with the Danish wire service Ritzau, Rose now says that while American publishers have expressed interest in the book, none have offered to publish it—for fear of reigniting the controversy. "They are enthusiastic about the project, but concerned about the consequences it would have if they published it," Rose said. In an article headlined "The US Doesn't Dare Publish Book on Muhammad Crisis," the left-leaning Copenhagen daily Politiken says that Rose "has had contacts with several major publishers in the United States, but they have all said no (takket nej) to publishing the book."

Neither Danish source mentions specific publishers, and Rose has yet to respond to my inquiry on the matter, so details are sketchy. That said, recall that this wouldn't be the first time this year a major American publisher has self-censored a book on Islam, out of fear of hurting the feelings of religious fanatics.