Dear IRR News subscriber,
On 14 February, Dan Uzan, who was providing security for a bat mitzvah party at Copenhagen’s main synagogue, was gunned down. The perpetrator, Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, had previously fired dozens of rounds into a cultural centre where the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks was discussing Islam and free speech, killing the film director Finn Nørgaard in that attack. The first attack was widely interpreted as an attempt to assassinate Vilks, who, in 2007, created a series of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a dog. The second attack was clearly anti-Semitic in nature.
On IRR News this week, Peter Hervik, a cultural anthropologist at Aalborg University, gives us the kind of insider knowledge that we need if we are to make sense of the tragic events in Copenhagen. He reviews The Tyranny of silence: how one cartoon ignited a global debate on the future of free speech by Flemming Rose, the cultural editor of Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper which radically changed the course of the free speech debate in Europe when it paid twelve cartoonists €100 each to draw the Prophet Muhammad ‘as they saw him’.
Focusing on the UK, we review a new report by the National Coalition of Independent Action (NCIA) which has provided an incisive analysis of the ways in which neoliberal polices are fundamentally reshaping and, in some cases, destroying voluntary organisations. As the review concludes, the report is not a passive critique, but a ‘call to arms’ to defend the sector. And we also expose the fact that the Home Office recently paid over a quarter of a million pounds to the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph, for sponsored articles and advertorials.
Our regular calendar of racism and resistance, a fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlights key events in the UK and Europe.
Finally, on 18 April we will be hosting a celebration of the work of A. Sivanandan and the Institute of Race Relations, including the film premiere of Catching history on the wing: a conversation with A. Sivanandan and the launch of two new IRR reports. Spaces are limited. To book a place, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
IRR News team