Questions regarding the Danish Cartoons:

Since last week, the Rocky Mountain News website has included a link to all 12 of the controversial Danish cartoons. The link currently resides in the lower-left column on the home page. Have any other U.S. newspaper websites published a link (or republished the 12 cartoons directly)? Comments are enabled for answers to this question.

Comments are also enabled for answers to some questions about Islamic law. Please comment only if you have actual knowledge of the answer to at least one question:

1. Is the ban actually based on the Koran, or is it based on clerical interpration?

2. My understanding is that the clerical/legal scholar stance on the question has not, historically, been unanimous. Is that correct?

3. To the extent that Shari'a does prohibit depictions of Mohammed, is the prohibition part of a general prohibition on the depiction of any prophet? BTW, Bahrain banned "The Passion of the Christ" because of what was said to be a general prohibition on depicting prophets (including Jesus).

4. To what extent, if any, does Shari'a law claim to be applicable in a non-Muslim country? Only to Muslims in that country, or does Shari'a claim universal jurisdiction at all times?

Of course citations of legal sources, and links, would be welcome.

Instapundit had the following link to a page featuring historical depictions of Mohammed:

The art is from Islamic countries and artists. The page's owner suggests that the Muslim outrage over depiction of Mohammed is selective.
2.7.2006 5:12pm
It was reported that the Philadelphia Inquirer published at least one of them yesterday. The New York Sun had published them earlier, I believe.
2.7.2006 5:15pm
Craig Oren (mail):
The Philadelphia Inquirer published one of the cartoons last Saturday to accompany an article on the agonizing in the American media about whether to show the cartoons. The Inquirer was picketed today by Muslim groups, who promise they will be back. You can see details by going to the web site.

I wish I could comment on your other interesting questions. Islam seems to have a strong bias in general against "graven images" of any kind, but I do not know exactly how this is derived.
2.7.2006 5:17pm
Dick King:
I find it hilarious that some moslems are resorting to violence to protest depiction of Islam as a violent religion.

2.7.2006 5:19pm
David Matthews (mail):
Someone who might have answers to your questions is John Burgess at

an interesting blog.
2.7.2006 5:19pm
Chris D (mail):
Regarding #1:

"Of old we gave unto Abraham his direction, for we knew him worthy. When he said to his father and to his people, 'What are these images to which ye are devoted?' They said, 'We found our fathers worshipping them.' He said, 'Truly ye and your fathers have been in a plain mistake.' They said, 'Hast thou come to us in earnest? or art thou of those who jest?' He said, 'Nay, your Lord is Lord of the Heavens and of the Earth, who hath created them both; and to this I am one of those who witness: And, by God, I will certainly lay a plot against your idols, after ye shall have retired and turned your backs.' So, he broke them all in pieces, except the chief of them, that to it they might return, inquiring."
-Sura 21: 52-59

That's the most direct passage I know, and since it pertains only to the pagan idolatry practiced by Abraham's ancestors, the argument seems pretty weak. God help the writers of primetime television if the Arab Street has decided to take exception to negative portrayals of religious figures.
2.7.2006 5:24pm
David Matthews (mail):
More from

2.7.2006 5:36pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
The NY Sun picked up a London Telegraph story back in November. In the Sun's secret online repository, one of the cartoons is on the bottom of this page:

Publication:The New York Sun; Date:Nov 4, 2005; Section:Foreign; Page:6
Cartoons Provoke Outcry in Denmark
By KATE CONNOLLY — The Daily Telegraph
BERLIN — A Danish experiment in testing “the limits of freedom of speech” has backfired — or succeeded spectacularly — after newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad provoked an outcry.
2.7.2006 5:42pm
djd (mail):
On aniconism in Islam see
2.7.2006 5:46pm
A related aside to those that would judge Islam: during the early years of the Protestant Reformation, reformers took to destroying Church artwork and statues, claiming they were blasphemous. These demonstrations also included violence, and people were killed. (And of course, the Church itself for generations would kill and terrorize dissenters—including innocent women and children.)

If you’re a Christian and you feel comfortable passing judgment on Islam because of the actions of some of its followers, you might want to pick up a history book.

David, if you're planning on writing an article, I do hope you bring up the parallels.
2.7.2006 6:14pm

I take it, then, that you're excusing those earlier Christians on the grounds that they acted no worse than some modern Muslims?
2.7.2006 6:31pm
"If you’re a Christian and you feel comfortable passing judgment on Islam because of the actions of some of its followers, you might want to pick up a history book."

Unless someone invented a time machine and I missed the press release about it, who cares what Christians were like 1500 years ago? If I was living 1500 years ago I wouldn't have wanted to be around Christians either. But I'm living in the 21st century, when Islam is the problematic religion.
2.7.2006 6:36pm
I'm not sure why I wrote 1500; I meant to say 500. :)
2.7.2006 6:36pm
It may be very relevant to compare Christianity of 600 years ago to Islam today. Isn't Islam roughly 600 years newer than Christianity?

So that when Christianity was "only" 1400 years old, they were doing the same things that Islam is doing today.

Maybe intolerance and brutal suppression of dissent are just normal stages in the development of a trans-national religion.
2.7.2006 6:46pm
David Matthews (mail):

I have wondered the same, myself, but, being neither a theologian nor an historian I've never gotten farther than wondering.
2.7.2006 6:49pm
o' connuh j.:
FWIW, Malaysia banned the Passion of the Christ for the same reason that Bahrain did.

As to 4., where a country has a substantial Muslim minority (e.g. Singapore), there appears to be a parallel system of Sharia Courts that adjudicate on family law (marriages, inheritance, etc.) with the bulk of criminal and civil cases under the purview of secular law. Parties must be Muslim for the Syariah Court to have jurisdiction.

See here and here.

This is only one instance of a relatively successful/workable form of Sharia law existing in parallel with secular law. The scope of Sharia would appear to vary according to demographic - that is, how radicalized the Muslim population at large actually is: Malaysia, Turkey, Indonesia appear to have secular systems of law (Malaysia with parallel Sharia) despite their overwhelming Muslim majorities.
2.7.2006 6:54pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Interesting point, to ask if earlier Christians were to be excused because they are no worse than today's Muslims.
Of course, that could be an endless circle, since We Are Not To Judge. Of course, those we are not to judge always seem to be our enemies, so that stricture applies to Muslims today and not to similarly-acting Christians half a millenia ago. But if the Muslims are not to be judged and Christians did the same thing.... Man, I need to take a nap. Tough being selectively non-judgmental. Can't tell where to stop.

Anyway, it's an irrelevant point. It may be normal, if we could find Buddhists and Hindus doing the same thing, and Jews, but I think I don't want to be a "normal" victim of this coming-of-age, if it's all the same to you guys.
2.7.2006 6:59pm
Actually, I don't think Christians or Muslims should be excused for their barbaric acts of violence. I do think, however, that Christians who are using this to condemn all of Islam should realize that they’re also condemning their own religion as well.
2.7.2006 7:23pm
nk (mail) (www):
The Ottomans under Mohammed II conquered Constantinople in the mid-fifteenth century but preserved the cathedral of Hagia Sophia and all the Christian religious art in it. It is now the Topkapi museum in Instabul. There is a story of Mohammed II killing one of his soldiers with his own hand for defacing the mosaics, saying "The people are yours but the art is mine". There is a great deal of beautiful Moslem art, both from the Sunnis and Shiites. I have no citations, sorry Professor. But there was a news story a couple of years ago that Saudi Moslems bought a tzami (moslem church) in Bosnia, that was one of the oldest and most beautifully iconographed Turkish mosques in Europe, and defaced and painted over all the paintings. This "no depictions" seems to be reactionism/revisionism from the Saudi Wahabites. "My Name is Red" by Orhan Pamouk is a novel which may or may not truly relate the struggle between the stylized and realistic schools of portrait art but the whole book proceeds on the assumption that some form of representational art was flourishing during the height of the Ottoman Empire.
2.7.2006 7:24pm
It seems to me that the cartoon riots are an attempt to force non-Muslim countries to begin to adhere to sharia, or one understanding of sharia.

In the US, wouldn't this run afoul of the establishment clause as well as free speech?

BTW, since jihad is an attempt to extend the reach of sharia, these aren't riots. They're acts of war.
2.7.2006 7:34pm
Splunge (mail):
The people are yours but the art is mine.

I guess the armies of the Prophet were a 15th-century version of the neutron bomb.

What I want to know is, if some passing expert in Islam does all this free paralegal work for Mr. Kopel, does he at least get a free copy of Mr. Kerr's new book?
2.7.2006 7:40pm
te (mail):
Isn't the first question a bit like asking a Catholic whether a particular "Catholic" belief is actually in the bible?

It may or may not be but answering that question really doesn't change how strongly the belief is held.
2.7.2006 7:46pm
nk (mail) (www):
Splunge, we are all way off subject but I cannot resist. This Geneva Convention, rules of war phenomenon is pretty much a late western civilization thing. Not too long ago the only rule of war was "Vae Victis" ("Woe to the Vanquished"). By not too long ago I mean 1945.
2.7.2006 7:47pm
Space Potato (mail):
1. Re your first question, the Qu'ran is not the only source of Islamic law; there are also the Hadith (various ancedotes about Mohammed and his associates), which, together with the Qu'ran, have scriptural authority. The alternatives you give are therefore not exhaustive.

2. Your third question has been answered by a fatwa bank, which claims that depicting any of the prophets in film is not permissible. (Presumably, `prophet' here has its Islamic meaning, which is that of one of a long succession of monotheists, starting with Adam and ending with Mohammed.)

3. Apart from the question of depicting or defaming Mohammed or other prophets, Islam has a generic prohibition on making images (`tasweer'). As you say, it is not clear exactly what is covered by this. There are some hadith on this subject here.
2.7.2006 7:54pm
A Muslim (mail):
Prof. Kopel: I'll try to dig up the references to answer some of your questions as soon as I get a free moment; I have to do my reading for class tomorrow. Though I'm no scholar, I have some knowledge of Islamic law.
2.7.2006 7:56pm
Here's a good Explainer from Slate on this topic:
2.7.2006 8:06pm
Splunge (mail):
By not too long ago I mean 1945.

Oh, right. Silly me. I forgot about the broad enslavement of the citizens of the Central Powers imposed by the Versailles Treaty in June 1919, or the wholesale massacres in Paris following the Prussian victory at Sedan in 1870, and...uh...the summary execution of Protestants authorized by the Peace of Augsburg in 1555.
2.7.2006 8:07pm
Anonymoua (mail):
The vast majority of the abolitionists who fought against slavery were Christians, and they received the majority of their support from churches: Wilberforce, Weld, Garrison, etc. They would be derided as the "religious right" today for taking the Bible so seriously.
I have yet to see a similar "progressive" movement from within Islam, except by dissidents.
2.7.2006 8:09pm
SacSays (mail):
I think it's interesting that there is a question about newspapers publishing the cartoons any more. Once they've been published on the internet (and they have been) publishing them on paper seems a bit -- quaint. If the concern is how many people see them and are exposed to whatever harm they have in them, it would seem that publication on the World Wide Web would definitely make any other kind of publication mostly moot -- at least in those countries with wide internet access.
2.7.2006 8:09pm
stonedus (mail):
I have assembled about 200 pages of notes regarding this issue for use in a (hopefully) exhaustive essay on the subject.

As far as examples from The Hadith or Koran that prohibit the depiction of Muhammad, I have found these examples to be specifically nonexistent. However, I have found many passages in the Hadith that prohibit the depiction of ANY living thing, including animals, which are presumed to have souls.

Volume 4, Book 54, Number 448:
Narrated Abu Talha:
I heard Allah's Apostle saying; "Angels (of Mercy) do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or a picture of a living creature (a human being or an animal)."

Wouldn't this mean that any image of a person or animal contained in any newspaper or television would be a 'picture of a living creature' and hence prohibited by the Hadith? Should ALL newspapers in the world submit to this interpretation and omit the use of pictures of anything 'living'? It all seems absurd to me.

For more info and a searchable translation of the Koran and the Hadith, see:

USC Website
2.7.2006 8:14pm
djw (mail):
NK wrote:
"This "no depictions" seems to be reactionism/revisionism from the Saudi Wahabites."

No, concern over the making and use of images depicting the creator, other "gods", prophets, saints and creation in general is common to all three monotheistic religions. For Jews and Christians, this comes directly from the Decalogue (the "ten statements" or "commandments"). Jews have traditionally been very strict in their application of the second statement. In Christianity, "iconoclasm" has been a more controversial subject, with deep divisions among the faithful (compare, for example, the Eastern Orthodox veneration of icons with Calvinist iconoclasm). For Muslims, there is a general prohibition on figural images, applied most strictly in mosques, and often directed against the devotional objects of other religions, although, as in Christianity, the subject is controversial and both extremes of tolerance and iconoclasm have been exhibited. With regard to imagery, Wahabism simply represents one well-known and traditional viewpoint.
2.7.2006 8:22pm
nk (mail) (www):
Uhh, Splunge. Are you drunk? 1945 is after 1919, 1870 and 1555.
2.7.2006 8:26pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):

The Ottomans under Mohammed II conquered Constantinople in the mid-fifteenth century but preserved the cathedral of Hagia Sophia and all the Christian religious art in it. It is now the Topkapi museum in Instabul.

Hagia Sophia was desecrated (by conversion into a mosque) after the 1453 conquest of Constantinople. It is now a museum but it is not Topkapi which the new sultan built as a palace just after the conquest. See photos here. Topkapi was replaced as the Caliph's palace in the 19th century by Dolmabahçe Palace.
2.7.2006 8:32pm
The Orginal TS (mail):
Have any other U.S. newspaper websites published a link (or republished the 12 cartoons directly)?

In my opinion, the big news in this story is the near-universal cowardice of on-line media outlets. Very few provide links to the cartoons. You cannot write a story on this controversy without linking to the images themselves. It's a journalistic embarassment for an on-line news site to link to a dozen pictures of rioting Muslims but not link to what it is they're rioting about.

Before answering your other questions, I should point out that unlike, say, Catholicism, Islam has no organized structure. People are free to follow the interpretations of whatever scholar they believe to be the wisest. There are several schools of jurisprudence and they often reach contradictory conclusions. Even Islamic scholars within the same school can reach different conclusions. In other words, there are many answers to your questions, or none, depending on how you look at it.

1. Is the ban actually based on the Koran, or is it based on clerical interpration?

It's based on an interpretation of the Quran and on some Hadith which forbid images of Mohammed and all the major prophets. Once again, not all Hadith are accepted by all scholars.

2. My understanding is that the clerical/legal scholar stance on the question has not, historically, been unanimous. Is that correct?

Yes, some scholars even claim that any depiction of any human or animal violates Islamic law. This is, obviously, not the majority position. The rule about not depicting any of the prophets has substantially wider acceptence but it, too, is often ignored.

3. To the extent that Shari'a does prohibit depictions of Mohammed, is the prohibition part of a general prohibition on the depiction of any prophet? BTW, Bahrain banned "The Passion of the Christ" because of what was said to be a general prohibition on depicting prophets (including Jesus).

Yes. I don't think they were big on "Last Temptation" either.

4. To what extent, if any, does Shari'a law claim to be applicable in a non-Muslim country? Only to Muslims in that country, or does Shari'a claim universal jurisdiction at all times?

A more tricky question. Sharia, in general, only applies to Muslims. But certain things may impose a religious duty on Muslims to act.
2.7.2006 8:33pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
1. Checking the link from instapundit suggests (a) the images of Mohammed all seem to originate from Persia and (b) even on some Persian images, his face is obscured, suggesting that the prohibition dates back some centuries (even if it was not always followed, at least there).

2. The elaborate art of the mosques--I forget the term, but the elaborate designs and all that -- is reportedly due to the prohibition on images.

3. There may be an analogy in the Byzantine use of icons. I seem to remember hearing that the Greek church forbade three dimensional statues, but allowed two dimensional depictions.

4. Since the prohibition appears to extend to depictions of anyone, I wonder how they cope with newspaper photos, cartoons in general, or for that matter, television images.

5.The blogger at iraqthemodel quipped that any adult male moslem knows jokes about Mohammed and Allah that make the cartoons look very, very lame.
2.7.2006 8:48pm
Gregory R. Sudderth:
(Just found this site while searching google for a homicide in my town in middle-of-nowhere-OK...and had to check it out. Hey Eugene...I knew yaz when you were just a wee lad! (Introduced to you by Oleg Kisilev)...glad to see you on TV occasionally as I catch you.)

Let's keep it really, really simple.

Re: #1: Moses was a prophet in Islam too, and he carried those same tablets with those same words down from the same mountain. "...graven images..." is a commandment just the same.

The Prophet was big big not into figurines, pictures, depictions and all that. Consequently all the stricter flavors of Islam (Wahab, Taliban, etc.) forbid movies, pictures, and whatnot.

The same restrictions apply in differing amounts to Orthodox Judaism, as well as plain-living Christians (Church of God, Amish, Charismatics, etc.).

Re: #4: Sharia Law is intended to be the only law in the long-run, after The Saving Faith is brought (by whatever means) to the entire world, via a universal Caliphate.

To put that country simple: the rules are one-way, all day, anywhich way they want it to be :) The "cartoon controversy" is a perfect example.

Cheers, glad to be on a very interesting site.

2.7.2006 9:03pm
Just a thought, but is it not true that every time a Muslim burns a Danish flag, he is burning a Scandanavian Cross.
2.7.2006 9:39pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
To see the image of Mohamet on the North wall frieze of the Supreme Court's courtroom and Rehnquist's response to demands for it's removal see my post here.

He said no, BTW.
2.7.2006 9:47pm
logicnazi (mail) (www):
While I don't have any sources (or at least the time to go back and find them) my understanding is that the 'violates our religion' bit is just a smokescreen/distraction. Perhaps the infrequent depiction of the prophet makes this issue a bit more volatile than it would be otherwise but clearly the religious injunction is not at the core of it. Quite simply muslims are upset because they feel insulted the same way christians might feel about piss christ.

What is my basis for this claim? Well all the sources I have seen suggest the islamic ban on depictions of the prophet is to prevent idolatry, i.e., worshiping the image of the prophet rather than god. Now no one could seriously think that the danish cartoons were going to lure muslims into idolatry. Moreover, violation of other islamic laws happens all the time by muslims.

I could be wrong but I bet that if the depictions had been aimed at portraying islam in a positive light things would be different.
2.7.2006 9:59pm
Robert West (mail) (www):
Bobbie - there were also intermittent iconoclastic movements in the Byzantine Empire, with extensive fights between the anti- and pro- icon forces.
2.7.2006 10:24pm
Robert West (mail) (www):
NK - it isn't strictly accurate to say that they preserved the Christian religious art in the Hagia Sophia. They actually plastered over the mosaics; the mosaics you see there today have been painstakingly resurrected by carefully removing the plaster. They're still de-plastering the dome.
2.7.2006 10:25pm
nk: Splunge's point is that the decline of "Vae Victis" began well before 1945.

logicnazi: had the depictions all been positive, it would have been harder to get rolling; additionally, some (at least 3) of the cartoons that have been circulated an associated with this matter were not part of the original group... and were VASTLY more offensive, one possibly even exceeding US free speech protections both on "fighting words" and "obscenity" grounds.

As to the original point, I recall some commentator saying that Islamic culture doesn't distinguish between secular law and religious law; there is only One Law. Alas, I can't recall who.

And for a related matter... is the crime under shari'a law as great for those who make duplicates, as for the one who made the original?
2.7.2006 10:50pm
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
The site Ask the Imam (“Islamic Q&A Online with Mufti Ebrahim Desai” — the “online fatwa resource”), which can be found here, has this to say on the subject:

“Photography, taking of pictures, video, etc. are all totally prohibited in Shari'ah.  Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘Verily the people who are punished the worst by Allah are the Musawwiroon (picture-makers).’ (Bukhari)

“Therefore, no matter where photography, video, etc. of animate objects are done are all Haraam.  however, photographs at time of severe necessity only, e.g. passport, will be allowed.”

See also this and this.
2.8.2006 3:13am
Wintermute (www):
This column may help.
2.8.2006 3:30am
Bob Bobstein (mail):
Re #1-- As others have pointed out, this prohibition emerges from hadith, which are analagous to midrash in Judaism. That is, they don't appear directly in the holy book, but they are traditional interpretations taken (and debated) pretty darn seriously.

When you are looking at crowds willing to rampage, though, you're talking about social and political factors that are larger, and more deeply felt, than an esoteric Talmudic debate.

There's an interesting discussion above about modernization and tolerance-- it took Christianity a millennium and a half to hit upon it, someone noted. For Christians, it was a mostly internally-driven process, I think, though they borrowed lots of scientific and philosophical knowledge from Arabs and others. Galileo might have had even a rougher time if his ideas were not only contrary to religious doctrine, but sponsored and promoted by foreign nonbelievers.

I don't know where that leaves the West in trying to encourage such a process in Islam. I find it hard to believe that hostility from the West will accomplish it, even if hostility and scorn are an understandable reaction of outsiders to the rampages of the past few days.
2.8.2006 9:17am
John Burgess (mail) (www):
As I'd noted on my blog Crossroads Arabia, there are counter-traditions within Islam. Depictions of the Prophet (veiled or not) are predominantly from the northern part of the Islamic world: Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Moghul India, the Central Asian countries. These countries share both strong Shi'a and Sufi tendencies, which are more permissive than those found in Sunni Islam.

According to my friend, the Curator of Islamic Arts at the British Museum, Sunni depictions of the Prophet (and other prophets) does not appear until the 18th &19th C. But earlier examples go back at least to 1300 CE, roughly 7th C on the Islamic calendar.

The basis of aversion to illustrating living beings is found in various hadith, generally. There is one that claims that those who create representational art will be called upon--on Judgment Day--to imbue their illustrations with life. Failing to do so, they will be cast into the fires of Gehennah for trying to usurp the role of God as sole creator.

Beyond that, though, is the matter of respect. Jokes about the Prophet, while not unheard of, are considered totally beyond the pale. They do represent blasphemy which is still a capital crime in several Islamic nations.

To correct a point made by an earlier commentor: TV and film are not prohibited by Wahhabi Islam. There is a story, perhaps apocryphal, that when he sought to introducee photography into Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz Al-Saud called the ulema to a discussion. Both light and shadow, he asked, were good things, were they not? The ulema had to agree. Since photography was only a matter of light and shadow, it could not be inherently bad, he concluded. They had to agree again. In a contemporary extension of this, the Saudi gov't has just issued a rule that all women must have their own, individual ID cards--with unveiled photos.

A similar argument was made by King Faisal for the introduction of TV. He had an imam recite the Quran, arguing that no device of the devil could permit this--as his father had done for the introduction of radio.

TV and film, videotapes and DVDs--though not cinemas, forbidden because the mingle the sexes indiscriminately--abound in Saudi Arabia. And estimated 90% of the population has access to satellite TV (in lieu of cable). Several of the European stations also happen to advertise decoder chips through which one can access hard-core porn originating mostly in France and Holland, for that matter. Phone numbers through which to describe are conveniently provided, in Arabic, for the various countries of the region.
2.8.2006 11:22am
My local paper, The Oregonian (Portland OR) has not published the cartoons. I sent them a letter demanding that they publish the cartoons as a demonstration to the world what a free press in a free country really means. I haven't gotten a response.
2.8.2006 1:09pm
Apollo (mail):
Just a thought, but is it not true that every time a Muslim burns a Danish flag, he is burning a Scandanavian Cross.

Just wait till they find out that the British flag has three crosses on it.
2.8.2006 1:37pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
I guarantee you that those who want to take offence know that there are various crosses on national flags! It's rumored that the Saudis relocated the Swiss Embassy in Riyadh's Diplomatic Quarter from a place immediately opposite the main entrance to a less exposed area, simply because of the flag.

Carrying various Swiss Army (TM) articles can attract attention from Customs in countries with no Christian citizenship.
2.8.2006 2:21pm
nk (mail) (www):
Professor, a day late, but this link (via Instapundit) is exactly on subject: link

P.S. Forgive me for dissing you, Splunge. I consider the Nuremberg trials hangings to be the watershed moment for rules of war.
2.8.2006 4:10pm
Neal Lang (mail):
P.S. Forgive me for dissing you, Splunge. I consider the Nuremberg trials hangings to be the watershed moment for rules of war.

Weren't a good number of those "in the dock" at "Nuremberg" actually judges and lawyers?
Nazi lawyers and judges did not escape scrutiny. In the "Justice Case" that opened on January 4,1947, fourteen leading official of the judicial system of the Reich were accused of crimes against humanity by distorting the legal process to justify and support Hitler's programs of persecution and extermination. From: THE NUREMBURG TRIALS
2.9.2006 12:25pm
Neal Lang (mail):
There's an interesting discussion above about modernization and tolerance-- it took Christianity a millennium and a half to hit upon it, someone noted.

If I am not mistaken, during the period of time in question, "modernization and tolerance" was somewhat impacted by the Fall of the Roman Empire; the reign of the pagan Barbarians Hordes in Europe; the "Black Death"; the Moslem Conquests in Eastern and Western Europe; and finally the Mogul and Timur Lenk invasions of Europe. I believe that whatever survived of Greek and Roman culture, art, literature, philosophy and science was preserved by the Church during this period.
In A.D. 529, the Emperor Justinian closed the Academy at Athens which had been founded by Plato in the fourth century B.C. and which had preserved the tradition of classical thought for over eight centuries.
In A.D. 529, St. Benedict founded his monastery at Montecassino to be a "school for the Lord's service." It was to provide the beginning of a new effort to preserve the treasures of human culture in the centuries to come.

In some sense a torch had been passed. From:
Saving Civilization: A Continuing Benedictine Mission
2.9.2006 1:02pm
JasonW (mail): published all 12 of the cartoons with the following explanation.

Who's Your Shepherd?

The following 12 images were published in Denmark's Jyllands Posten newspaper, which sparked the furor among Muslims globally. The reason they are being displayed here is not to provoke, despite this site's name, but to allow our users to make an informed evaluation themselves. For the same reasons, we published Nick Berg's beheading and James Kirkup's poem. After two federal court cases, one before the United States Supreme Court,’s hard fought commitment to free speech – not an automatic guarantee, even in the West — cost a lot in terms of time, determination and resources.

In the name of Christianity, Clinton Fein’s image of The Last Supper was ripped off the wall of a San Francisco gallery. Just prior to the 2004 election, his image of President Bush, Who Would Jesus Torture?, depicting the President as Jesus on a crucifix (along with an image of the American flag using the text of the Pentagon’s official Abu Ghraib report ) was destroyed deliberately by Zazzle, the Palo Alto based printing company. Despite such visceral responses, not to mention the sentiments expressed by those over the Internet, published because we believe strongly in free speech.

We are not oblivious to the fact that religious and cultural differences are far more complex than anything we could articulate in this small space, but our fundamental belief is this. Freedom of expression is not reserved for those wishing to express their religious beliefs, but also those who question them.
2.10.2006 4:05am