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Swedes defend free speech

Radical Muslims are once again hurling death threats at people who sketch men with dark beards. This time the artist is Swedish. (I’m not a fan of his bizarre cartoons, but no one deserves death threats for drawing.)

You may recall death warrants issued by Muslims still hang over the heads of the Danish cartoonists and Jyllands-Posten Culture Editor, Flemming Rose.

Mr. Rose published 12 cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed back in 2005 to prove a point: Europeans are in imminent danger of losing their right of free speech. Without freedom of speech, there is no freedom at all.

The mild-mannered editor had been appalled that a children’s book author was having trouble finding an artist to illustrate his book about the prophet because all the artists were too fearful of the consequences. And, rightly so.

The violence that erupted in fundamentalist Muslim countries over the publication of the Danish cartoons led to the death of 139 people and the destruction of several Danish embassies. Rioters carried signs that clearly stated the issue: We love Islam more than life. Go to Hell Denmark.

On a bright note for Europe, it appears the Swedish government has learned a lesson from the Danes and has decided to defend its citizens’ right to free speech.

In response to Iran’s protestations, a government representative says they see no reason to comment on the matter at all.

What’s interesting about reading this story at the Guardian Unlimited is the list of related article links at the end.

Who knew cartoons would play such a pivotal role in history?

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