The “Islamic Inquisition” and the Blasphemy Police

Ten years ago, one of the editors of a Danish newspaper called Jyllands-Posten had heard that that no cartoonist in Denmark would depict Islam’s prophet for a set of children’s books on the major world religions. Did such self-censorship really exist in modern Denmark? He sought to find out. So he published a spread of twelve cartoons intended to depict the founder of Islam.

Attacks on the newspaper followed — the most outspoken attempt at enforcing censorship since the death threats against Salman Rushdie for his novel, The Satanic Verses, in 1988, and the murder of Theo van Gogh for his film, Submission, in 2004. The knife in van Gogh’s back also went through a note demanding death threats for Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Dutch MP at the time, and the Dutch MP, Geert Wilders.