Thursday, December 21, 2006

Fear Wins out in Norway

Gates of Vienna brings word of an incident of fear-induced censorship in Norway; a small but emblematic symbol of how concern over Islamist violence has affected intellectual freedom in Europe. According to a Norwegian newspaper article translated by one of Gates' contributors:

Editor Vebjørn Selbekk of the small Norwegian Christian newspaper Magazinet was scheduled to sign books at a bookshop in Oslo this Saturday. Now the book signing has been cancelled because the bookshop fears terror attacks.

Selbekk is topical with his book Truet av islamister (Threatened by Islamists) about the conflict that followed after the newspaper Magazinet reprinted Jyllands-Posten’s cartoons of Muhammad. But now there won’t be any book signing event, for security reasons. “I’m disappointed. This is prostration in front of forces we should not give in to,” Selbekk says.

Svein Andersen, the head of his publishing company Genesis, has during his 23 years in the trade never experienced anything like this. “The head of the bookshop said she was worried about the security of the employees and the customers, and that she unfortunately had to cancel the event. This is outrageous and frightening,” Andersen says, who thinks this is a blow to freedom of speech. “If Islamists are allowed to decide which books should be published in Norway, cookbooks with recipes for fillet of pork will be banned,” he says.

This kind of capitulation to fear is exactly what the Islamists are counting on to win their war against intellectual freedom.


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