Cal  Thomas

The Danish cartoons and the violent reaction to them is not the first attempt by "Islamofascists" to censor free speech in their pursuit of subjugating us all to their intolerant way of thinking.

The world-renowned cartoonist, Ranan Lurie, tells me of a meeting he had on Feb. 27, 1997 with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak introduced Lurie to the publisher of Al-Ahram, the most widely read newspaper in the Arab world. Lurie signed a contract to provide his cartoons to the newspaper. He compares the publication of his cartoons in Al-Ahram to an American conservative cartoonist getting a front-page spot in the Soviet newspaper Pravda during the Cold War.

Within days of the publication of his first cartoon in Al-Ahram, a "jealous Egyptian cartoonist" published a story about him in Ruz-al-Yusuf magazine. He wrote, "Do you know this guy is a Jew and not only a Jew, but a soldier and not only a solider, but an officer and not only an officer, but a paratrooper?" The magazine printed a full-page cartoon of Lurie descending on the Egyptian pyramids and destroying them. It also published Lurie's picture with an orange Star of David on his face. There were riots in Cairo. Al-Ahram canceled Lurie's contract after just 11 days.

Lurie says it won't stop with cartoon censorship, but will advance to "telling us what to wear and Islam will be insulted if your wife or girlfriend doesn't wear a head scarf." Will free societies give in to threats, intimidation, murder and riots? If we don't stand now against this fundamentalist intolerance, there may not be enough of us left standing for the next and subsequent battles.

In a speech to the National Press Club last week, Secretary Rumsfeld said of Islamic terrorists, "they will either succeed in changing our way of life, or we will succeed in changing theirs."

It's going to be a long war.

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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