WaPo's humor-free Len Downie kills an "Opus" cartoon because he thought it would offend Muslims. Muslims, it appears, were not offended:

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights and advocacy group, wasn't offended. " 'Opus' poked fun at the strip's characters, not Muslims or Islam. I see hundreds worse on the Internet every day," he said.

Akbar Ahmed, chair of Islamic studies at American University, also wasn't offended. He said there is a strong Muslim tradition of satire and self-deprecation. "I think there is a danger of us becoming so politically correct that we end up by blunting the critics' bent and the satirists' wit. Muslims need to be sensitive to the fact that in Western culture there is a healthy tradition of not taking things too seriously."

That's how terror works, doesn't it? Eventually the craven self-censorship makes real censorship unnecessary.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.