Muhammad Cartoon Editor Influenced by Ayn Rand

A new article in the International Herald Tribune suggests that Flemming Rose — the man behind the Muhammad cartoons that have upset Muslims around the world — includes Ayn Rand among his intellectual influences.

The article begins:

The man behind the Muhammad cartoons that have upset Muslims around the world describes himself as “just the cultural editor of a Danish newspaper.” But his critics say Flemming Rose of Jyllands-Posten is a cultural warrior whose outlook was forged in the Moscow of the Cold War years and who knew what he was doing when he opened fire on what he sees as a form of totalitarianism, even if he did not expect the consequences to be global and deadly.

Later in the article:

“My convictions have grown as the days have passed,” he said. “What I did, I did for free speech, and I am not going to apologize.”

Rose, who grew up in a working-class area of Copenhagen, says he was a hippie in his university days. He said he studied Russian literature, played soccer and attended rock concerts. His first job was as a translator and teacher with refugees.

His worldview changed, Rose said, when he went to Russia in the 1980s and saw firsthand the repression of the Soviet regime. He befriended dissidents, devoured books by Solzhenitsyn, Hannah Arendt, and Ayn Rand, and traveled throughout Asia and the Middle East, eventually covering the fall of communism in the Baltics and the war in Chechnya.

See the full article, “Hatred of censorship drove cartoons’ editor,” for more background about this gentleman.