Charlie Hebdo attacked again


Charlie Hebdo , the French satirical magazine,, whose journalists were brutally gunned down by Islamic terrorists, is at the receiving end again. The attack is not directly from the Islamists, but indirectly through the regressive Left.

What was their crime ?

They wrote an editorial mainly addressing the European Left, pointing out how dangerous it is not to criticise Islam. It was titled  “How did we end up here?”. The editorial talk about a huge iceberg. The terrorist attack in Brussels and in France including in their own office is only the tip of an iceberg. Radicalisation of  ordinary Muslims that is taking place in Islamic communities every where represent  the rest of the iceberg.  Violent jihadists cannot exist without the existence of radicalised Islamic communities. Ordinary people of these communities have the same beliefs as the terrorists. Both think Islam and its prophet are above criticism or satire. Both believe islamophobia is the bigger problem than radical Islam. Both believe a veil or a burqa should not be criticised. Both want western countries to tolerate and allow Islamic beliefs and practices including Sharia. Sadly a large section of Left intelligentsia in Europe also agree with radicalised Muslims and jihadists in all the above points.  That is why Charlie Hebdo, a staunchly Leftist magazine is asking “How did we end up here”.

A combination of file photos shows (from L) French cartoonist of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo Georges Wolinski; cartoonist Jean Cabut, aka Cabu; newspaper publisher Charb; cartoonist Tignous, all killed by Islamist terrorists 15 months ago (AFP)

A combination of file photos shows (from L) French cartoonist of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo Georges Wolinski; cartoonist Jean Cabut, aka Cabu; newspaper publisher Charb; cartoonist Tignous, all killed by Islamist terrorists 15 months ago (AFP)

Then came the attack. Charlie Hebdo was attacked for advocating prejudice and bigotry. A magazine who lost most of its creative team to Islamist bullets was accused ironically of propagating islamophobia. There was of course the accusation of racism.

There were supporters too. Julia Ebner wrote that Charlie Hebdo was only asking for open discussion on all topics. Myra MacDonald opined that the editorial was only asking for sustained defence of French secularism.

The best defence of Charlie Hebdo was not from the west, but from Pakistan, a society in despair due to Islamic radicalisation. Kunwar Khuldune Shahid rightly pointed out that the editorial echoed the voices of liberal Muslims.

He wrote :

How did we end up here, where a magazine’s words trigger more opinion-makers than murder over blasphemy?
How did we end up here, where satirical work is rigidly attributed the most bigoted interpretation, but scriptures fueling terrorism are endowed with plurality of versions?
How did we end up here, where there’s more consensus over Charlie Hebdo’s intentions than the Islamic State’s?
How did we end up here, where criticising religion has become right-wing?
Charlie Hebdo has been the staunchest critic of the National Front and the Catholic Church for nearly five decades.
Like a true left-wing publication it has mocked, ridiculed and critiqued Western interventionism and France’s colonialist past, often attributed as the main cause behind the rise in extremism within Muslim communities.
But now that the publication has stepped forward and highlighted the Muslim community’s role in aggravating Islamist terrorism, and criticised apologists like Tariq Ramadan for a lack of collective self-reflection, the publication has rubberstamped itself as Islamophobic.
If treating Muslims as any other community in terms of accountability and responsibility is Islamophobic then the Muslim world could certainly do with more of it.
What we definitely do not need is the trigger-happy sections of the left ready to feed the Islamists’ victim complex, and brandish labels of Islamophobia left, right and centre.
If Charlie Hebdo were Islamophobic, the liberal press in the Arab world wouldn’t be paying it tributes. Or maybe they’re Islamophobic as well…

Yes, those at the direct receiving end of religious extremism, Charlie Hebdo and Shahid, seems to understand Islam much better than the regressive Left.

 

 

Comments

  1. Kreator says

    “Regressive Left,” really? Fuck that nonsensical, reactionary dog whistle; the critics are right. From the editorial’s last paragraph:

    The first task of the guilty is to blame the innocent. It’s an almost perfect inversion of culpability. From the bakery that forbids you to eat what you like, to the woman who forbids you to admit that you are troubled by her veil, we are submerged in guilt for permitting ourselves such thoughts. And that is where and when fear has started its sapping, undermining work. And the way is marked for all that will follow.

    Uh…

    the bakery that forbids you to eat what you like

    Holy hyperbole! Kosher establishments don’t use bacon and ham either, are they forbidding you to eat those as well? Should their Jewish owners be considered enablers of Israel’s state terrorism? It’s ridiculous, really; forbidding you to eat something needs for that something to be there in the first place.

    the woman who forbids you to admit that you are troubled by her veil

    Oh, poor oppressed person, forced to stare at a scary piece of cloth. I wonder if he knows that not all Muslim women use them, or that some just do it for aesthetic reasons.

    we are submerged in guilt for permitting ourselves such thoughts. And that is where and when fear has started its sapping, undermining work.

    Fear? Fear is what this editorial actually promotes! It practically gives terrorists what they want on a silver platter.

    Also, regarding Kunwar Khuldune Shahid’s article:

    Accusing a magazine that has mocked Christianity thrice as many times in the same duration, and religion in general twice as much, of bias against Islam betrays – at the very least – bias against the publication.

    I’d argue that it’s only natural for Christianity to be showcased more often, considering that it is way more popular and influential in the West, in other words, closer to home. It’s just a matter of statistics and doesn’t mean anything in the context of this issue.

    Like a true left-wing publication it has mocked, ridiculed and critiqued Western interventionism and France’s colonialist past, often attributed as the main cause behind the rise in extremism within Muslim communities.

    No True Scotsman, there are plenty of people on the left who are perfectly willing to justify interventionism and colonialism, even if they need to take a serious dose of cognitive dissonance to do so. Being left-wing is by no means a guarantee against being a hateful bigot.

    • Arun says

      Thank you for the comment. Radicalised religion whether it’s Jewish or Christian or Hindu or Islam, breeds violence in society. This editorial addresses Islam, that is all.
      Yes, some Muslim women do not use veil and are considered as evil in radicalised Islamic societies. Some claim to do it for aesthetics, because other wise they cannot function in such societies.
      To say that Charlie Hebdo should not fear radical Islam is…..no No comments.
      Yes,,Left can be regressive as proved by some of the reactions to this editorial.

  2. vineethjose says

    “Radicalised Islamic societies” ? There are whole societies that are radicalised? I think you just coined a new phrase!

  3. Kreator says

    I agree with your points, though I still believe that the editorial addressed the issue poorly. Sorry for being rude, it’s just that the term “regressive left” itself, no matter how true it may be, has been poisoned due to how easily it was co-opted and overused by bigots, up to and including white supremacists, to indicate any and all left-wing stances.

  4. says

    This is a brilliant post! And thank you, most especially for publicising the response from Pakistan. I’ll respond to this properly tomorrow.

  5. polishsalami says

    Unfortunately there is a Regressive Left out there, and they are willing to make all sorts of excuses for Islamic violence.
    I thought that editorial was a restrained and sombre reflection on the notion of ‘creeping Sharia’, but it certainly wound up Teju Cole (which I count as a good thing).

  6. says

    If you ever wonder why the “regressive left” has a problem with criticizing Muslims, it’s probably because in Europe, “Muslim” often means “brown person”.

    This fact has to be taken into account any time European media talks about “Muslims”, “foreigners”, “immigrants”, “refugees” or “culture”. These words are all standard dog whistles for “brown people”, aka “people we don’t give a shit about and really should just fuck off and die, preferably in some place where we don’t have to deal with it”.

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