«Here we go again. It’s like deja vu…This is exactly the kind of self-censorship I and my newspaper have been warning against,» said Flemming Rose, culture editor of Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten paper, which met a storm of Muslim protest after publishing satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad last year.
He said bowing to fears of a violent Muslim reaction would only worsen the problem: «You play into the hands of the radicals. You are telling them: your tactics are working. This is a victory for the radicals. It’s weakening the moderate Muslims who are our allies in this battle of ideas.»
The decision to cancel the production even before any protests had materialized was singled out for criticism.
«To do it in advance of any actual protest I think invokes the next protest, because the radicals in any community are aided and abetted by that,» said Lisa Appignanesi, a novelist and deputy president of the writers’ group PEN in England.
«We don’t want to end up in a situation where we don’t dare to speak up. What we do not want is a society where one is constantly fearful about what the people holding the bombs or the guns might say.»