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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1499947
 
 

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Flemming Rose, the Danish Cartoon Controversy, and the New European Freedom of Speech


Robert A. Kahn


University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota)

October 2009

U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-24

Abstract:     
Flemming Rose’s decision to run twelve cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed triggered an international controversy. In defending his decision, Rose relies on two arguments: (1) the cartoons were a necessary response to a growing atmosphere of self-censorship imposed by a totalitarian radical Islam and (2) the cartoons - far from being insulting - were actually a way to include Danish Muslims into a national “tradition of satire.” On examination both arguments are problematic. The fear of totalitarian censorship - if even it applies to Muslims - fits poorly with an American free speech discourse that counsels patience, not action in the face of totalitarian threats. Rose’s reference to a “tradition of satire” is rooted in the Danish practices of social informality (hygge) and teasing, But this argument is undercut by Rose’s own anti-immigrant rhetoric as well as the larger anti-immigrant mood in Denmark and Europe.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 42

Keywords: offensive speech, law and religion, comparative law, freedom of the press, freedom of speech

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Date posted: November 5, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Kahn, Robert A., Flemming Rose, the Danish Cartoon Controversy, and the New European Freedom of Speech (October 2009). U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-24. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1499947 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1499947

Contact Information

Robert A. Kahn (Contact Author)
University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota) ( email )
MSL 400, 1000 La Salle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN Minnesota 55403-2005
United States
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