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What is really at stake in the furore over the Danish cartoons? André Glucksmann
argues it is nothing less than the defence of the distinction between fact and belief
that lies at the heart of western thought. Rejecting the Islamists’ charges that
Holocaust denial and cartoons of the Prophet are on a par, and that the west is
hypocritical, Glucksmann observes that ‘The reality of the death camps is a matter
of historical fact, whereas the sacredness of the prophets is a matter of personal
belief.’ And on respect for that distinction, he points out, turns the difference
between totalitarian and anti-totalitarian modes of thinking, and a lot else besides.

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