Brandeis politics professor Jytte Klausen’s new book on the 2005 Danish Muhammed cartoon controversy has been selectively censored by its publisher, the Yale University Press. The New York Times reports today that Yale ordered the images of the actual cartoons to be removed from the book. Entitled The Cartoons That Shook The World, the book was intended to be the definitive account of the incident which caused riots and 200 deaths, as well as a worldwide debate over journalistic ethics. The Yale Press stated that the publishing of the actual cartoons in the context of a book about them “could be interpreted easily as gratuitous.” But even more controversially, Yale removed images of Muhammed other than the cartoons from the book, and furthermore told Prof. Klausen that it would only allow her to read the reasons for the decision if she agreed not to disclose them to anyone.
Personally, I find the Yale Press’s action utterly unreasonable. Admittedly, I do not know the full reasoning behind the decision, since the Press will not disclose it. But seeing the cartoons is an important part of understanding the controversy about them, and the book will lose much of its value without being able to show its subject. I hope this decision is reversed or Prof. Klausen finds a new publisher.