In a disgraceful act of cowardice and hatred, fanatics murdered at least 12 members of the staff of the French satire magazine, Charlie Hebdo. I don’t hesitate to call this cowardice; the gunmen faced no real threat, killed people, and then ran away. They seemed to think this was a triumph of some sort.
In the video, the gunmen can be heard shouting “Allahu akbar” between bursts of gunfire. The gunmen also shouted “we have avenged the prophet,” according to police.
All they have accomplished is to inspire revulsion and further taint their religion with the slime of zealotry…and to make people more aware of the ridicule the dead had heaped on their principles…and this action has confirmed that Charlie Hebdo was right. Good work, guys.
Furthermore, they’ve done their own people great harm. The majority of Muslims do not condone terrorism, but terrorism committed in their name will be used by the fascists and anti-immigrants and just-plain bigots to justify persecution of Muslims. All Muslims. Without discriminating between those who condemn and those who applaud.
But I do have to criticize one thing. Read this collection of Muslims repudiating the murders. That’s good, and I think the majority of Muslims will concur that these acts were wrong.
But a lot of them declare that the killings were “un-Islamic”. No, the killers probably think of themselves as deeply Islamic; there is nothing un-Islamic about killing others, just as there is nothing un-Christian about denouncing gays or sending drones to blow up Muslim wedding parties. Let’s all just recognize that religion is a muddled, incoherent mess that allows good people to find rationalizations for doing good and bad people to find rationalizations for doing bad. And the three cowards who shot up the offices of Charlie Hebdo were just as Muslim as the good people who denounce religiously-motivated murder.
But when your version of your god requires that you shoot cartoonists, I think you’ve lost — that’s the kind of action that will drive Muslims away from your fanaticism, and that will make violent Islamicism an object of universal contempt. The cartoons win.