Fear of Islamists

Can you imagine a book about the Mona Lisa that does not contain a photograph of the painting? Yale Press is publishing a book ("The Cartoons that shook the world") about the 12 Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. Muslim extremists protested the implication in some of the cartoons that theirs was not a peaceful religion and ... 200 people died in the resulting riots. So, the book about the controversy will not contain the actual pictures.

Apparently, they asked about 25 different authorities and the recommendation was unanimous. No picture. The first time I've heard of 25 people giving an unanimous opinion.

Do academic presses always run scared? Would they be similarly scared to carry a book saying that parts of the Hebrew Bible imply that the Israelite God had a wife? How about an academic book that claims that Sita sexually taunted her brother-in-law? Both these are startling claims that drive at organizing principles of Judeo-Christianity and Hinduism respectively. Yet, no publisher will be afraid to publish academic books on the topic -- the faithful will protest, but they will protest peacefully.

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