The Year of The Inkifada
Reason's blog Hit & Run links to an interview with the editor of the magazine responsible for the cartoons, Flemming Rose.
They exercept this interesting point from him -
I think the left has betrayed its own ideals in this case, because the publication of the cartoons is exactly about what the left has been fighting for in the past 150 years—free speech and the right to challenge religious authority and to challenge a religion that, in fact, favors the oppression of women. [Muslim extremists] do not accept the equality between the sexes. They do not accept equality from representatives of different religions. They specifically say, "Our religion is better and should have favorable treatment compared to other faiths."
But I think it has to do with the fact that the left—at least in Europe, I can't speak about the left in the United States—views the Muslims as the new proletariat. They're the new oppressed minority that they have to defend. It shortcuts all rational thinking. [Islamic radicals] can say and do almost anything, and it will be explained away by saying, "These people are victims."
It also has to do with the legacy of the Second World War and the Nazis and the establishment of the United Nations and the fact that it became taboo to speak about cultural differences in Western Europe because of the imperial legacy. It's very sensitive to be critical toward a culture. It's taboo, no matter how oppressive that culture might be in itself.
They left out the next 2 paragraphs -
It was once an underlying understanding in the West that when these immigrants come to our part of the world, they would become like us. If they just stay long enough, they will become like us. But that changed. OK, if they can't become like us, then we'll have to accept and acknowledge them as they are. And so the West developed this ideology of multiculturalism—that you have to accept and recognize any culture on its own terms, no matter how oppressive it might be.
The left is trapped in that position. It's very counterproductive toward the Muslim community, because by treating them like a weak, victimized minority, they in fact make it far more difficult to Muslims to integrate.