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Sep 20 2012

Bravo Charlie Hebdo

In a climate where Islamist murder, violence and intimidation is cowering many into silence and submission,  Charlie Hebdo’s insistence on poking fun at Islam on par with all religions and its refusal to back down despite calls for censorship is one that will be remembered when Islamism is in the dustbins of history.

French professor Marlière writes in the Guardian that the magazine’s aim to reassert its leftwing secular tradition in this climate is more anti-Islamic than anti-clerical.  But anti-Islamism is this era’s anti-clericalism.

He adds that the cartoons are ‘unhelpful’ in a ‘climate of religious and racial prejudice’ but like the Guardian and many a liberal and post-modernist leftist, he misses the point. What is ‘unhelpful’ is Islamism’s murder and mayhem.

Criticising Islam and Islamism is not about prejudice – that is Islamism’s narrative – which has been bought hook, line and sinker by those calling for censorship. In fact, in this day and age, criticism is a historical necessity and legitimate challenge to our era’s inquisition.

Also, what the professor and the Guardian seem to forget is that those most at threat of the Islamist herds are not satirical French publications or even US and French embassies worldwide but the many countless human beings living under Islamism and Sharia law  – a lot of them Muslims – who daily face threats, imprisonment and death for their dissent from and criticism – like Saudi Hamza Kashgari, Indonesian Alex Aan, Egyptian Alber Saber and Pakistani Asia Bibi.

When will the professor and the Guardian side with them?

As the most wonderful Salman Rushdie says: we “need to be braver”.

Yes, clearly we do if we are going to stop this barbarism once and for all…

As an aside, of course Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon is different from the despicable and racist Christian Right film, the Innocence of Muslims. But free expression is not just for those we agree with. And let’s not forget a bad film is just a bad film. The real problem that needs to be addressed head on is Islamism and censorship is the wrong response.

17 comments

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  1. 1
    Ophelia Benson

    God that Guardian piece is an obsequious piece of crap.

  2. 2
    Ted Jacobson

    i wud think earlier that ur articles are worth stuff. but now i know u r just a hatemonger who writes without enough research, Islam is only a confirmation of the law of jesus. the law of Jesus was of love. let’s be clear that Unconditional freedom of speech not only is impossible, but also un ethical, slong with being non existant! the british monarchy shunned kate midleton’s topless pics coz they were published by a magazine crying for free speech & transparency! i love jesus more than anyone loves kate middleton, naturally muslims must love their prophet more than her, and are jusy exercising their rights in shunning it in the same spirit. It’s we who anger & provoke muslims by and large with articles like these & expect them to kneel! i have red about Islamic way of life and come to realize that stuff we complain about is about the culture of the countries that we see, NOT THE RELIGION!

    1. 2.1
      Shari

      Well, “Ted,” you misunderstand the reason the royals were successful in preventing the publication of the photographs of Mr. Middleton. They were able to prevent that not because the photos were offensive or embarrassing but because they were the product of an invasion of privacy, as the young royal couple were on private property and had the reasonable expectation that photographers were not present. It is perfectly legal in the UK, France and elsewhere to publicly insult any member of the royal family or anyone else.

      No one expects Muslims or anyone else to “kneel.” I simply fail to understand why some Muslims cannot feel the need to use violence every time they are offended. Civilized people simply expect that other civilized people demonstrate their disagreement in a way that does not involve the use of violence.

      1. rafiqmahmood

        Wrong. According to the Treason Felony Act 1948 you cannot even imagine a republic. It is, in the real sense, a thought crime.

        1. rafiqmahmood

          Of course it is quite legal in France to insult the Royal Family because they don’t have one. Not so in the UK.

          1. gryphaea

            Its certainly on the Statute, but given that the House of Lords has declared that it is ‘unreal’ in the context of the Human Rights Act I think that the claim that it is illegal to talk or imagine of a republic in the UK is highly overstated.

            Bare in mind that there are still laws about carrying foodstuffs for your horse. They don’t mean anything other than that they have not been removed.

            This is even more true when another law supersedes it – such as the Human Rights Act. Its just another old law still on the book that wouldn’t work anymore.

    2. 2.2
      ...

      Come on guys, this chap’s obviously a fake

  3. 3
    rafiqmahmood

    Oh Ted Jacobson your comment is pure delight. May I have your permission to use it in my English lessons?

  4. 4
    rafiqmahmood

    Charlie Hebdo is a real hero. They have always followed Salman Rushdie’s advice to be braver.

    Others who are following in your own brave example are the Atlanta based Secular Woman who have announced their Nude 2013 Calendar.

    We must keep up the fight in whatever way we can. If satire and nudity are offensive weapons then let’s use them to maximum effect. Offence is the only true means of defence and we have too much to lose.

    1. 4.1
      jenny6833a

      rafiqmahmood says: If satire and nudity are offensive weapons then let’s use them to maximum effect. Offence is the only true means of defence and we have too much to lose.

      Satire doesn’t harm other movements. However, using nudity to offend people you don’t like may also offend potential supporters and makes life and progress much more difficult for those of us who find nothing inherently wrong or offensive about the unclothed human body.

      Moreover, nude calendars are incredibly trite these days, especially the kind published by these ever-so-incredibly-brave pretend-rebels who in their real lives embody the mindless conformity of clothedness.

  5. 5
    Lucas

    I am very proud of Charlie Hebdo for their stance on Islam and religion in general. Maryam and I don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things but on this subject we totally agree.

  6. 6
    davidmc

    I live in the UK, as far as i am concerned the entire royal family are a bunch of blood sucking parasites and they all smell of poo.

    1. 6.1
      davidmc

      And Ive just imagined a republic, one where all religions, including Islam, are on a tight leash, and are taxed out of business and an Adult that believes gods, Jesus or Mohammed are treated the same way as an adult that believes in Santa would be treated today.

  7. 7
    Cushla Geary

    I dream of a secular democracy, with a constitution that mandates absolute separation of state from church, mosque, temple, or synagogue; that allows complete freedom to worship as you please – with the proviso that such worship harms no-one, and refrains from exhorting others to do harm in the name of their gods. Where all religious organisations pay taxes like any other corporate body, and cartoonists can lampoon them as they please, and we can all laugh at each other.
    Meanwhile, back in the real world, where Islamist idiots rioted in Sydney last week, and their white supremacist counterparts threaten to hold a retaliatory riot this weekend, it is the recipe as before: screaming and rampaging by people (usually male) who feel insulted because someone, somewhere, doesn’t think as highly of something or other, as they do.
    Faugh! Contemptible degenerates!

  8. 8
    Mick Penning

    Fear is playing a dominant role in the debate -and that fear is playing into the hands of the Islamist Extremists.

    Those who called for and got the fatwa on Salman Rushdie in 1989 -and those who burnt his book the ‘Satanic Verses’ -all now agree that they made a mistake. It is a good book -considered thought and critically put together as a work of art -and accepted as that now -by its original detractors.

    There will be many among today’s angry and violent protestors -who as time goes by -come to regret their actions -as they gain a more rounded view of what it is to accept criticism of a religion. Not to ban it -simply to criticize it -just as the other world religions have been criticized over the past 100 years or more.

    It’s called ‘moving into the 21st century’.

  9. 9
    darwinharmless

    @Mick Penning “Those who called for and got the fatwa on Salman Rushdie in 1989 -and those who burnt his book the ‘Satanic Verses’ -all now agree that they made a mistake. It is a good book -considered thought and critically put together as a work of art -and accepted as that now -by its original detractors.”

    ALL now agree? Citation please.

  10. 10
  1. 11
    UN chief says anti-Islam film 'disgraceful, shameless' - SVTPerformance

    [...] comic strip. A new funny every day! Others apparently have similar designs: Bravo Charlie Hebdo [...]

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