Free Speech is Hardly Free

Charlie Hebdo is Nothing but a Schoolyard Bully

The genius of liberalism is in claiming its ideas to be universal, when in fact they are not. The aftermath of events like Charlie Hebdo typically force Muslims to not only assume collective guilt for the criminal acts of a few, but also validate the manifestations of free speech that were ostensibly under attack by the assailants. Any effort to equivocate on the inviolability of those principles is met with extreme prejudice. In other words, if you don’t embrace or respect the impertinent, such as Charlie Hebdo, you are practically no different than the Westboro Baptist Church or the Taliban. The problem here is that the principles of free speech espoused by Charlie Hebdo are not universal. They are specific to a white, European, secular view of the world, one that has its own sacred tropes that make liberals recoil when violated. But the public discourse would have you believe only Muslims are overly sensitive about certain issues. This is simply not true.

The liberalism of Charlie Hebdo is absolutely contemptuous of the French Muslim underclass, the disenfranchised dark-skinned immigrants from Algeria, Morocco and other parts of North and West Africa who came to France to work for the most part because the native French population no longer reproduces at a positive rate. If this were America, Charlie Hebdo would be a newspaper publishing blackface cartoons that ridicule, denigrate and otherwise disparage the black underclass of the inner city for being violent, drug addicted criminals. The free speech defended by Charlie Hebdo is not the free speech of everyone, it is the free speech as defined and codified by liberal sensibilities rooted in the European enlightenment and espoused by an elite, largely white intellectual class. It is only free for those who believe in what liberalism defines as sacred. The rest of us must choose to either accept this paradigm and let go of our own sense of what is sacred, or be ostracized, ridiculed or worse for rejecting it.

I cannot recall the last time I saw cartoons about the holocaust held up as paragons of free speech. America stopped drawing cartoons that equate blacks as inherently dumb or violent a few decades ago.  The liberal values of free speech are not universal, they are rooted in a particular worldview and born of very specific historical, racial and economic circumstances. When the liberal version of free speech runs afoul in another community, nation or civilization, liberals would have you believe that the deviation between the two is a measure of the backwardness of the other people. This is because liberals believe their ideals to be universal. Everyone else must measure themselves against liberal progress, and in as much as they fall short, they can strive to hopefully one day achieve the freedom that is ridiculing what is sacred to others and judging their backwardness by the degree to which they flinch at the insult.

I find Charlie Hebdo to be the worst possible manifestation of the elitism of liberal sensibilities. The Muslim talking head community must trot themselves out in front of the cameras and embrace Charlie like it is a long lost brother. It is not. Charlie is a vile, bigoted effort to ridicule, dismiss, marginalize and disenfranchise an already beleaguered immigrant French Muslim community. It is the worst example of the privileged and powerful looking down on the disenfranchised and weak, mocking them for the way the look and the sound of their accent. Charlie was nothing better than an insecure, verbally abusive school yard bully whose parents not only encouraged him to taunt the smaller children that look different, but practically egg him on. Muslims should be free to recoil at what they consider disgusting, or beyond the pale. Muslims need to stand up for their right to articulate a vision of free speech that addresses their own sensibilities. Liberals do it all the time.

But liberals would have you believe that there is no free speech without ridiculing the Prophet. And that is hypocritical double standard that Muslims must reject. Liberals do not have a monopoly on what constitutes free speech, liberals do ascribe sacredness to certain ideals and values that are impermissible for public ridicule based on their own history and circumstance. Germany has banned holocaust denial for obvious reasons. Anti-semitic cartoons don’t get much play in American newspapers anymore. And in each case there are legitimate social concerns for making an inhospitable environment for these kinds of public discourse.

To be fair, not all liberals revel in the excess of Charlie Hebdot. But at liberalism’s core is a widely held belief that should anyone express a value in accord with liberal sensibilities, they are in fact adopting liberal values. This need not be the case, people can have values of kindness, compassion and mercy without coming in contact with European liberalism. When Malala Yousafzai advocates for girls education, it need not necessarily demonstrate her embrace of liberal values. It could indicate that her own traditions have led her to that thought, irrespective of whether Nick Kristof can trace her realization back to Locke or Rousseau.

Therein lies the rub. Muslims can advocate for free speech without embracing the right to insult the Prophet, but to do so they must reject false universal of the liberal paradigm. Liberalism is not the arbiter of truth. Just like there is no such thing as unfettered capitalism, there is no such thing as unfettered free speech. Societies decide what is sacred and what is not collectively, and each society has a right to do so from their own perspective, beliefs and traditions. Liberals have no right to tell others what can and cannot be considered sacred, just as Muslims should not have the right to tell liberals what they should consider sacred. What Muslims do need to do is push back on this grossly one-sided narrative that assumes the free speech of Charlie Hebdo is universal. It is not.

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    S. F. Clemons

    S.F. Clemons is a pen name, the author lives in New York and works in the financial services industry.

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    • Bob

      I don’t think anyone deserves to be killed for drawing a cartoon. And I think that anyone who does is wrong. Does that mean I’m one of those hypocritical Western liberals who hate Islam?

      • You tell me. This is not an all-or-nothing proposition. To say that people do not deserve to die for drawing a cartoon is not to express wholehearted approval of said cartoon, or of the sentiments of the cartoonist.

        I join my voice with those who represent the entire community of Muslims in the West and beyond, in condemning unequivocally those despicable murderers who took twelve lives they had no right to, including those of two Muslims. Yet at the same time I am deeply offended by the prejudice and hypocrisy of those Western intellectuals who immediately ostracize anyone who displays even the suggestion of racism or anti-Semitism, yet cry “free speech” when a cartoonist portrays Muslims in overtly bigoted and dehumanizing ways. There is a double standard at work here, one which supports the patronizing and colonizing attitude the West still evinces toward Muslim countries and Muslims generally.

        • robeanodh

          Look, as a female, I have endured sexist portrayals of women my entire life. I have a choice to ignore them, or not attend that particular movie, or take political action. My husband is Irish, and there was a time in the 1800s when the Irish were lampooned as gorillas. This is not a a new thing. So, if we are going to demand sensitive treatment for all, then I suggest women be included in that discussion. As for Charlie Hebdo–yeah some offensive stuff but not worthy of murder. And not only that, it’s just plain dumb. Look how much attention that publication is getting. Why didn’t the killers just look the other way. Stupid. Unsophisticated. Did not advance the cause of mutual respect.

        • Bob

          It’s very possible that if the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists were still alive, I’d find myself ridiculing their cartoons as crude, offensive and Islamophobic. But they were murdered for exercising their right to free speech. So this isn’t about what they said, it’s about that they were killed for saying it.

          If Jewish terrorists were murdering publishers of anti-Semitic cartoons, I think you’d hear public intellectuals crying free speech just as loudly.

          • This same newspaper, just a couple years ago, fired a cartoonist just for *drawing* an anti-Jewish cartoon which they refused to publish. There was no public outcry over free speech then. In Germany, you can go to prison for denying the Holocaust. Where are the rallies and marches against that law? Free speech is never absolute, and the limits of that speech are not drawn equally for all groups. But the press coverage has conflated condemnation of these murders with an unquestionable right to absolute free speech — a fantasy which has never existed in any country, least of all France. So yes, it is about what they said, as much as that they were killed for saying it.

            • Bob

              If Muslims want drawing Mohamed to be illegal, murdering cartoonists is probably the worst way to accomplish that.

            • Still missing the point. This is NOT about blasphemy. The Kouachi brothers do not speak for all Muslims, who have condemned their despicable actions. It is about bigotry: Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons are offensive because they are bigoted against Muslims, not because they “insult” the Prophet. And it is about hypocrisy — about the selective invocation of “free speech” and the “right to offend”, but only when that speech is offensive to a group it is popular to despise. It is a call for collective self-examination, not for more laws.

            • Bob

              You’re mistaking YOUR point for ‘THE’ point, and therefore missing MY point.

              I agree with you that there’s hypocrisy, and that it’s more popular to make fun of certain minorities/religions. I’ve already told you why I think it’s currently fashionable to cry ‘free speech’ when certain groups say they’re offended, but not other groups (because of the threat of violence). I want to know why you think that is?

              Also, don’t assume that the entire Muslim community feels the same way about why the cartoons are offensive. Certainly many Muslims DO feel offended by any depictions of Mohammed.

            • Your narrow little point has been noted and cast aside. Your insistence on narrowing the scope of the discussion in order to absolve yourself from responsibility is exemplary of the very hypocrisy I spoke of.

              Whether Muslims are offended by pictures of the Prophet is irrelevant, because we *all* hate being the target of bigotry. And Charlie Hebdo unquestionably engaged in bigotry, above and beyond whatever “blasphemy” they may have committed. One issue is clearly swamped by the other.

              Why, indeed, are some groups so above persecution that no threats of any kind are necessary to prevent their denigration; while denigration of others is considered “freedom of speech” regardless of any objection that may be raised, peaceful or otherwise?

            • Jim Prindle

              Because the group, meaning Jews, are not crazy blood thirsty cult followers who have already MURDERED thousands of AMERICANS as ISLAMIC TERRORIST !!!! Every AMERICAN that was murdered is worth 10,000 muslims EACH. So we have a very long way to go!! Also, we and the JEWS hate and despise islam so much that the US gives them GREE bombs and WEAPONS to KILL AS MANY AS THEY CAN with each little war, uprising that happens. I can not wait for the Arabs /muslims to attack Israel again and maybe this time we can finally remove all the ISLAMIC FILTH surrounding them. We’ll see….I would like to be the Spec-Op to help NUKE MECCA !!! Now that would be quality entertainment !

            • Bob

              What do I have to “absolve myself of responsibility” for??

              I don’t disagree that Charlie Hebdo engaged in bigotry. But the blasphemy issue is clearly not irrelevant to many people, most notably, the people who murdered the cartoonists.

              Why don’t you just come out and say “Jews”, instead of “some groups”. We both know that’s who you mean.

              No groups are “above persecution”. I already told you why I think it’s against the law to deny the holocaust (which I disagree with, by the way), and why it’s not (and won’t be any time soon) to ridicule Islam. I’ll ask again. Why do you think that is?

            • Mickelodian

              “And Charlie Hebdo unquestionably engaged in bigotry, above and beyond whatever “blasphemy” they may have committed. One issue is clearly swamped by the other.”

              Yeah but seemingly only ONE group decised it was worthy of the death penalty and they rather than their clearly impotent God should be the ones to implement that….

              Thats the difference… when other folks find they are victims of bigotry they try to do something about it, they protest and request a change in the status quo… Muslims however immediately run about torching the place.

              Some of the changes that are requested are simply stupid ones… such as changing the laws of the entire country to suit a tiny minority… that never going to work. Nobody will ever listen to laws like ban pork and alcohol… the ones in place at the moment are fine… which is Muslims are not FORCED to eat pork and drink alcohol… they don’t HAVE TO engage in it. The rest of us will or wont…

              Islam is not OUR law… its yours… try to keep it under wraps. Folks don’t know, and seriously don’t care what Muslims believe or don’t believe… thats your business. Stop trying to foist it on the utterly disinterested majority.

              So in conclusion we in the west can go on doing as we please, draw all the Mohammad we like, and in return if Muslims don’t like it they can always ignore it…no harm done.

              How on earth do you except anyone in authority to listen to a thing any Muslim says if thats the sort of carry on that’s taken as acceptable?

            • noneyo_getit_0011232

              Totally agree with many others about what you are ignoring…
              You may sound bigoted to me but I cannot and will not tolerate anyone being threatened over what they post in forum meaning you have every right to post as you will. Yet somehow we live in a world where that does not apply to people who do and say things that Muslims don’t like. Those people (unlike other subjects) are threatened to the point that artists fear for their lives.

              You see… it is the people who are AFRAID to post that prove how in the wrong you are. They might have very bigoted things to say that I most certainly would consider in very poor taste… but you keep trying to duck the very simple question: Do these people have a right to speak without fear? I say they do. Muslims all over the world say they should pay with their lives… as evidenced by the fact that Salmon Rushdie has had editors of his book (the one the Iranian Supreme Leader condemned) murdered even in countries like Japan which are very far removed.

              This is not true for any other major religion that people fear for their lives simply by the act of being bigoted/blasphemous/offensive/etc.. Neo-Nazis have rights like everyone else in the US. No one tries to defend killing them despite a country that is unequivocally dedicated to backing Israel.

            • Jim Prindle

              Why yes, it is EXTREMELY POPULAR TO DESPISE a group of murdering terrorist and for just that reason……there is a WAR, A CRUSADE going on right now !!! To rid the world of islam, and to make sure muslims are no longer a danger and a threat to all civilized countries. If that means no more North Africa, the Far East Islands, PARTS of the Middle East and anywhere else there is the disease called islam, then so be it. But islam and those who kill others to defend it….will one day soon be gone.

            • Mickelodian

              How come Muslims draw and depict Mohammad and nobody seems to be up in arms about it? Also at what point do you think non Muslims should be bothered to obey any rules or laws of Islam…. it does not apply to folks that are not Muslim…. You cannot be offended by the existence of another civilisation on the point that it ‘exists’ and annoys you …. isn’t that a little arrogant?

              This is really simple… nobody is forcing Muslims to run out and buy a copy of whatever newspaper might have an image of Mohammad… and absolutely none will have since nobody knows what he actually looked like….

              This was demonstrated to me a few years back when I drew a stick man with the word Mohammad beneath it and asked a Muslim if it offended him…and he said it did… that’s truly the dumbest thing I have ever heard of. If that’s all it takes to ‘offend’ a muslin and theres lots of things that seemingly ‘offend’ Muslims then I’ll be having none of it… be offended I couldn’t care less, that’s your problem not mine…

              O <- Mohammad (I mean really…you think that's Mohammed… the letter 'o' that's all it takes to offend you? a letter of the alphabet?)

            • noneyo_getit_0011232

              People can and do quite often offend many religions in the West. Sometimes their careers will suffer as a result… but if you are for ONE SECOND trying to equate bad public relations with needing a security detail for the rest of your life (Danish cartoonist has a panic room and Rushdie has had editors for his book murdered) I am calling you out for making what is a ridiculous argument.

            • Mickelodian

              This years draw Mohammad day will be interesting for sure…. anyway Muslims draw Mohammad… theres simply tons of art drawn of Mohammad by Muslims. The religious rule that prevents the drawing of Mohammad is one that prohibits one SECTION of MUSLIMS from depicting the prophet… it has nothing whatsoever to say about the other Muslims OR folks who are not Muslim.

              I notice Muslims seem to forget that.

            • Jim Prindle

              Jews get a pass….child raping, women beating cult followers who we are at war with DO NOT !!!!! Maybe some day you animals will understand…WE REALLY HATE YOU…ALL MUSLIMS… EVERYWHERE !!!! But more than anything else, we HATE a group of avowed terrorist who have a mission to subvert everyone, forcefully, to follow your putrid prophet and his silly cult. Times are changing, the big nig in office will be gone in a couple of years and then there will no longer be a muslim in the WHITE HOUSE to save you.

            • This accusation of hypocrisy relies on the false assumption that murder, a serious crime, is equal to mild punishments or trivial inconveniences, like losing a job, or getting a fine.

              “There was no public outcry”
              because there was no murder, DUH.

            • noneyo_getit_0011232

              You are equating firing someone to murdering them and their colleagues? Sorry but I call BS on such a ridiculous comparison…

        • Jim Prindle

          You, butt hole, are correct !!! There is a SPECIAL STANDARD for anything islamic/ muslim…it’s called 9-11, and now add CHARLIE. Keep it up and very soon we will be able to hunt you guys openly on the streets…. just like we did in the middle east cat sand box with cluster bombs and snipers !!! Do you understand now ? When another crazy cult that worships a child molester and wife beater, which treats all women like animals, with which you apparently like to have sex with instead of humans, decides to ATTACK AMERICA AND START A WAR, we will track them down also and kill them, their families and anyone else who tries. You think you are winning here in the US, using our laws against us, but guess what…..we know exactly where you live, what you do and what you say…..and we will get to meet very,very soon.

        • noneyo_getit_0011232

          What double standard??? Read my example in point regarding a TV show in the United States. Everyone gets made fun of by anyone… that is what free speech means. Stop equivocating on what someone gets to draw pictures of. You have a responsibility to condemn unconditionally violence against anyone in the name of religion. No “if”, “maybe”, “yet”, “but” or “however” added on. Islam is the one religion people are afraid to poke fun at because they fear for their lives… you may not recognize this but History will remember your intolerance at a time when every other major religion is embracing coexistence. As time goes on this will go down in the books as a shameful time in the history of Islam.

          EXAMPLE IN POINT: South Park is wildly popular and Jesus is a regular member of the cast who gets ridiculed on every level possible… there are even episodes where the founders of every major religion on earth join forces and make a wildly bombastic parody (I can recall one segment a friend showed me for kicks… Buddha was sniffing cocaine and Jesus smacked him and said “not in front of the kids”). Did I find this particularly witty? No, but that is why I generally don’t watch the show.

        • noneyo_getit_0011232

          You are trying to complicate something very simple.

          No one broke the law by drawing a cartoon. If they were to lose their job over it or lose business that is not breaking the law either (happens a lot with racism in United States… but again we are still talking fines, getting fired, etc.). But that is not what happened here… they were MURDERED along with their colleagues.
          Ostracizing someone, i.e. not buying their magazine, firing writers, causing trouble professionally… stop comparing this with mass murder because it is absurd to do so.

      • robeanodh

        absolutely not. It’s just ridiculous. Big heroes–slaughter a cartoonist? Laughable.

    • Raghib

      Absolutely beautiful article, quite definately I totally support the author’s viewpoints tremendously!!!! as a muslim I condone the violence that was place on the cartoonists, it was horrible to say the least, however the cartoonists who drew the disgusting cartoon editorials was also wrong, I don’t applaud on what they have done, its was baseless and was sick to my stomach, as human beings we need to respect each other and be merciful to all people, not just a select few.

      • robeanodh

        I get the author’s viewpoint. Yes, some of us white (and female) liberals DO PAY ATTENTION and AGITATE on the behalf of our Muslim friends and neighbors. But to kill over a stupid cartoon is just plain dumb.

    • Murat C.

      Liberalism and “secular enlightenment” is just the religion of the West, only more shameless in its promotion, and completely oblivious to its own self-righteous arrogance.

      • Jekyll

        I’m shocked that Islamic Monthly would actually publish an article with a backbone…wow…damn straight to the point article.

        • William Baker

          You mean an article that victim blames

      • robeanodh

        Murat, I see the hypocrisy and the frustration. I am completely disgusted with Israel and support Palestinians, for example. So please, before you assign labels to me, come visit, and we will talk. I’ll be we will find common ground within a minute or two of our conversation. Your statement is a blanket statement that does nothing to solve the tensions in the world.

        • Jim Prindle

          I bet you support terrorist also !!!! Please say hello to my friends at the NSA, they are always listening ….just like SANTA…..and they are making a list too……

    • Clauss

      words or drawings ment to challenge something will elicit a response. the response is that which you choose. becoming revolted about the challenge hints to me a rather high insecurity about that something. face it, if you were very secure about that something, the challenge would leave you cold, you’d be in a position where you’d be able to reflect on the challenge and choose your response appropriately.
      so i’d divert the conversation towards this> why are you so insecure about it that it stirs strong feelings you can’t really digest and be in control of?

      try be fair a bit more> Charlie Hebdo was challenging (or contemptuous of, as you’d say) a lot of things. not just the Muslim, not just the French Muslim, the other religions in the same manner and lost of other symbols, personalities and what not. need only watch some of its cartoons and you’d see some challenges of Christianity being a lot more ‘extreme’ than your insecurities.
      so i don’t see that double standard you talk of.
      you’re more than welcome to write or draw about whatever insecurities and sensibilities the white, liberal, european or whatever you care of have. challenge them, ridicule them if you may, it’s your right.

      my liberal sensibilities you’re talking about would say this:
      (1) you want to change the paradigm of free speech towards something else? fine, do it, start a movement, raise awareness, make it big. in the end, it’s the majority of the society that approves/decides on what’re the norms in the society.
      i’d like a balanced place where we can easily all get along.

      (2) France happens to have some norms ascribed as principles and laws on which it runs. if the freedom of speech, as prescribed by the norms/laws and accepted by current majority of society, is not something you fancy, you are more than free to do either (1) or Leave the place, move to a society/country that supports more of the principles you believe in.
      take note, though, that your freedom to do (1) accounts still to… TADAAAM freedom of speech!

      to clear out my position on some of the cartoons> my taste doesn’t specifically like them either. i think some of them are exaggerated and rather than challenging some ideas, they’re just a bit disrespectful. but hey, that’s me. they’re free to do it and maybe others will like it. only the audience will sanction them (by not giving them attention) or give them laurels.

      • Gareth


      • robeanodh


    • Correct on limits to Free Speech. The allies executed Julius Streicher at Nuremberg for his anti-semitic rag ‘Der Sturmer’. Streicher never physically killed anyone, he simply incited others to do so, and dehumanised the Jewish population of Europe to justify their persecution.

      The hidden premise of rags like Charlie is that ‘nothing is sacred’, the humanist secular viewpoint. Until they’re killed, then we’re told that ‘free speech IS sacred’.

      Since the principle of something being ‘sacred’ has now been established by the liberal reaction to Charlie, I don’t think it’s a huge stretch for religious people of any faith to wonder why it stops short at their doors.

    • Peter Fisher

      If I understand the last paragraph, ‘liberals’ have no right to commit blasphemy. Just so we’re clear on what the message is here.

    • Martin B

      And yet we still defend the right of the KKK and the Westboro Baptist Church to their right to free speech in the US. So yes. I don’t need to agree with the message of Hebdo to defend their right to deliver it and to condemn anyone who would use violence to shut them down.

      • steeveetee

        So are you totally cool with anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial? And would you defend anyone’s right to indulge in it, satirically or otherwise?

        • Martin B

          Yes, I am fine with it. They are not my thoughts. What I am not fine
          with is people who would censor thought and free speech in the name of sensitivity. What I am not fine with is people who seem to be offended by every little thing someone says. If I say Merry Christmas, some Jew is offended. If I say Happy Holidays, some Christian is offended. If I say God is Great, I can probably offend almost everyone just by saying it in a variety of languages. Get some skin and respect other people’s rights to have their own thoughts and ideas. You are walking around like a bare nerve.

        • Ken Pitts

          Just like I am free to condemn the anti-Semite, the Holocaust denier and rabid Islamists who go on murdering rampages over lack of demanded respect, supposedly in the name of God. Respect is earned in all cases. Assimilate or go away.

        • Jim Prindle

          No, that is not allowed…. They have done nothing to frighten and assault the world at large. Islam/moslems have by being global terrorist. And I do not support the open sewer called Palestinian territories… they do not legally exist and are part of a global lie and PR propaganda to gain sympathy.

        • William Baker

          Not cool w/it, but I support the right of people to believe and say whatever bullshit they want.

      • William Baker

        False equivication{logical fallacy; look it up}. The westboros and fundy conservative christians in the west might be ignorant assholes, but they are NOT comitting mass murder of innocents acrossed the globe, ona regular basis, specifically in the name of their religion ebcause someone “offended” their religion.

        As for the KKK, yes they’re permitted to free speech, they are NOT permitted to kill or beat up non-whites/etc…anymore. They’re a terrorist hate organization that does’nt do much “terrorism”..anymore. They are a very small, isolated, marginalized and roundly condemned by most people[rightly so}, they’re not posing a threat like the significantly sized minority of muslims comittign act sof international terrorism and mass murder and brutal theocracy.
        In the west we value free speech[and freedom of will and choice} enough that we allow anyone and everyone freedom of speech{without overt violence}- btw, that includes muslims, even fundamentalist muslims/islam.

        Your comparisons are false equivications and evasion.

        • Martin B

          Your comparisons are false generalizations and bullshit. And you totally missed the fucking point. As far as I know Charlie Hebdo never committed any acts of international terrorism and mass murder either. I don’t know what the fuck you are talking about and your spelling sucks also. Reading comprehension: get some.

    • Brian David
    • Brian David

      A Golden Shower was just taken by the prophet Muhammad, Piss Be Upon Him. . .”

      Satire is Sacred.

      • Jim Prindle

        That was GREAT…..a little wet…..but still GREAT !!!!!!!!?

    • Martin

      Goes straight to the point. This article explains the situation and the bias of the liberal media and right wing at large. YES it is wrong to kill anyone for saying something you might not agree with, but it is also just as wrong to tell a nation of people their way of living is wrong as well. These cartoons are being placed front and center at what the definition of free speech is. It is hate speech no different than drawing pictures of Jews as rats. If this same magazine did that it would be banned in France. Hypocrites run the world.

      • noneyo_getit_0011232

        Uh… for starters no it would NOT be banned. The French are quite liberal in their interpretation of censorship law. It might be eschewed or looked down upon…

        Which brings to the question… you are comparing criticism or getting fired from a magazine as being on the same level as… murdering the editor and his colleagues? REALLY???

    • Gareth

      These points may be valid but the real point is, people should not die for making cartoons! The people stupid enough to be offended by such things, are radical enough to worry me. Europe is free and has peace, which was hard won. Be apart of it or go away.

    • robeanodh

      To kill over a cartoon is just plain stupid. It does not advance any progressive Muslim agenda. I love and care for my Muslim friends and neighbors and yet this author would discount my actions and positions because I am 1)white 2) liberal 3) female and 4) living in the US. Charlie Hebdo had a declining circulation of 30,000. Today, we witnessed nearly 4 million people protesting. Because of this act, Charlie Hebdo is now on everyone’s mind. Watch how many copies of the magazine will be purchased next week! I will buy one for sure…
      Unlike so many Muslim protests I have seen, populated by angry males exclusively, I didn’t see any effigies burned, women journalists attacked, flags burned nor death chants. The Muslim victims of these murderers were mourned equally with the cartoonists and Jewish innocents.

      I suggest this author calm down, and find a more productive way than being a terrorist apologist to educate the ignorant (and there are many) about the great religion of Islam.

      • WhizzerX

        ” To kill over a cartoon is just plain stupid” ? really? (it’s not that i am saying that killing was right) but if you play with the fire YOU GET BURNED. Simple as that, next time don’t play with the fire if you don’t know that it burns you. and i am 100% sure that the ones that made these cartoons knew it would offend Muslims but he still did it, wow he is just asking for it but i think he wasn’t expecting that kinda of reaction haha but i guess there are crazy people out there that are willing to kill for such thing. so as i said don’t play with the fire or you will get burned.

        • Jim Prindle

          Maybe a tiny little NUKE up your pooper will fix that attitude you have there, salammy ??This is why islam must be stopped…. It is just too stupid and violent.

        • “Don’t make them angry” – this is the eternal cry of the fearful, masochists and those who support terror through complacent obedience.

    • Kal

      The only thing worse than the pompous, pretentious prose in this article is its actual content.

    • O. Locke

      Moslems are nothing but schoolyard bullies

      “The genius of liberalism is in claiming its ideas to be universal, when in fact they are not. The aftermath of events like Charlie Hebdo typically force Muslims to not only assume collective guilt for the criminal acts of a few, but also validate the manifestations of free speech that were ostensibly under attack by the assailants.”

      1. No. molsims refuse to reform their death-cult. If Mohamed or alah is more important to you than your children. Something is wrong with you and you should seek help immediately.

      “Any effort to equivocate on the inviolability of those principles is met with extreme prejudice. In other words, if you don’t embrace or respect the impertinent, such as Charlie Hebdo, you are practically no different than the Taliban.”

      2. No. you have the right to express your displeasure but condoning the violence by saying things like “the murder was wrong but the cartoonists shouldn’t have made the cartoons” is blaming the victim.

      “The problem here is that the principles of free speech espoused by Charlie Hebdo are not universal. They are specific to a white, European, secular view of the world”

      3. No. And what’s more is this is racist. It isn’t just whites that don’t want to practice islam or be forced into practicing it with other people.

      “The liberalism of Charlie Hebdo is absolutely contemptuous of the French Muslim underclass, the disenfranchised dark-skinned immigrants from Algeria, Morocco and other parts of North and West Africa who came to France to work for the most part because the native French population no longer reproduces at a positive rate. If this were America, Charlie Hebdo would be a newspaper publishing blackface cartoons that ridicule, denigrate and otherwise disparage the black underclass of the inner city for being violent, drug addicted criminals.”

      4. No. it would be a cartoon newspaper that ridiculed a religion. You have the right to criticize the culture. But please stop using the plight of Americans of African decent to rationalize the violence of moslems the world over. It’s sickening.

      “I cannot recall the last time I saw cartoons about the holocaust held up as paragons of free speech.”

      5. Because they do that in moslem occupied lands and islamic countries. If you wrote this in Arabic in the middle east more people might agree with you.

      “I find Charlie Hebdo to be the worst possible manifestation of the elitism of liberal sensibilities.”

      6. No. That is the moslem wish to force others to practice their faith, live in western society, and berate the west for its foreign policy. Then blame the victim when moslems living in those societies act out their violent islamically inspired aggression.

      “privileged and powerful looking down on the disenfranchised and weak, mocking them for the way the look and the sound of their accent.”

      7. I have read moslems bragging onthis site about how “the world was changed on 9/11” by moslems. I’d say islam is ery powerful. The rationalization of cowtowing to a fringe, ridiculous death cult has been accepted by many. That is power.

      “Therein lies the rub. Muslims can advocate for free speech without embracing the right to insult the Prophet.”

      8. No. They can’t. Free speech is for the speech you dislike. Moslems are risking war with the other 5 billion people on the planet who don’t want to practice islam and don’t want to be forced to practice it with you. Reform your faith or risk confrontation.

      • Jim Prindle

        They are all the TALIBAN….they want a strict world with only their sick, cult religion.

        • O. Locke

          moderate moslems are NOT the taliban. Although the moderate and ALREADY reformed muslims need to accept their assimilation into a wider world society that has no intention of practicing their religion or faith.

          faith OF ALL religions must be kept at home or in your place of worship. NOT in public.

        • noneyo_getit_0011232

          Observe moderate Muslims… THIS guy Jim Prindle is someone I and many others disagree with… but you know what, we accept his right speak freely the same way we respect even radical Muslim rights to speak freely. What we expect all radicals to do, however, is to observe the law. What we do NOT see moderate Muslims doing is acknowledging the extent to which their own religion stands out as reacting violently to criticism.

          If you really are moderates who want to coexist you need to defend the people who offend you most and their right to speak. Otherwise your silence acts to sanction further violence. It is your obligation to say to radical Muslims that they were unequivocally in the wrong to kill someone… no conditions, no if/but/however/yet, no equivocating about how the victims were bigoted… that is completely beside the point. They killed someone for speaking/writing freely means they were in the wrong, period, no matter the circumstances. Why is that so difficult for moderate Muslims to say?

    • David
      How many people have actually read this magazine? It has satirised many faiths and has championed the underclass. It does not seek to mock needlessly. Representations of the prophet existed long ago and will again. Satirical political cartooning has existed for hundreds of years.

    • notaamir64

      Please explain why blasphemy rules apply to non-Muslims. I understand that Muslims should not insult the Prophet. On a daily basis, Christians deny the prophethood of Muhammed, and deify Prophet Isa. By this logic every non Muslim is committing blasphemy daily. In the Mecca years non Muslims spit and threw garbage on Prophet Muhammed. The Prophet never called for their death. What am I missing?

      • You’re absolutely correct. In the face of enormous provocation, the Prophet Muhammad (saas) showed nothing but patience and good humor to his enemies. We Muslims ought to follow his noble example in the modern world, and many prominent Muslims have called upon the rest of us to do exactly that.

        But none of that, nor anything else that has been said or done, makes the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo or Jyllands-Posten morally commendable. It’s got nothing to do with blasphemy. It’s got nothing to do with free speech. It’s got to do with not being a dick.

        It’s got to do with deliberate denigration not of a particular religious figure, but of his followers as a group, who are already under tremendous social and even legal persecution (remember France’s anti-hijab law?) It’s got to do with a self-portrayed anti-establishment publication suddenly taking the side of the establishment when it comes to this particular minority group. It’s got to do with wholesale support in the West for bombing the shit out of Muslim countries, killing hundreds of thousands, and then calling us “savages” for the actions of a few nutjobs.

        To borrow a phrase from Prophet °Isa: take the beam out thine own eye first.

    • Jim Prindle

      Push back on a sharp stick in your eye, A hole. Whine all you want, the civilized world is currently waging a Crusade against your kind and all of islam . You are the enemy, in case you don’t understand why everyone wants to ridicule you and your fake cult based on a drunken child molester and his psychotic dreams. Americans hate islam and all things associated with it! I just love how you make yourself out the poor downtrodden victim….. who cares ???? I will wipe my butt with the pages of a koran and burn the pages on you tube…..and a bunch of terrorist will scream and burn and kill because that’s all they know to do. That is just one aspect of why this CRUSADE TO END islam is so strong ! Special Forces wear patches that speak of this crusade, the bacon bombs, and the child molesting prophet muhammad. I own several and wear them proudly. I dare any raghead or muslim to say anything about them and how it insults your precious cult…..I would drop them right there like a dog!!! You DO NOT GET ANY SPECIAL PRIVILEGE , why you ask?? BECAUSE YOU ARE A MUSLIM….AND NO OTHER REASON.

    • Mickelodian

      To be honest this is a disgraceful attempt at trying to jettison responsibility from Islam to anywhere else except islam. Folks were ‘killed’ in those offices…. thats killed… dead.

      That is a little more than being offended for beliefs. That like finding you ear has an itch and hacking your own head off as a solution!

      Westerners do not care about who is ‘offended’ . Being offended is not a crime nor is it any great concern of anyone ion the west. Most people in the west are offended in some way or another by something or another several times a day. They do not however run about shooting folks in the head over it.

      They also don’t give a jot about Islam or Christianity or most religions to be honest, they really and truly could not care less. You offended sense of self importance will be run roughshod over asd being LESS important than institutions and core cultural values held by westerners…

      To be honest if you asked a westerner which would be preferable freedom of speech or everyone from Turkey to Pakistan dying of famine they would take freedom of speech over the famine every day of the week. In fact its pretty likely they would take the continued existence of Starbucks coffee over every Muslims life in a heartbeat.

      that mostly because they see Muslims and Islam as a cost to their society that has not contributed anything but harm and fiscal burdens. The second Islam contributes something they will change their mind. But that not going to happen any day soon.

      If Muslims really ant a part in western society then fine… contribute to it. If they don’t equally fine…find somewhere else you can poison and parasite. But do not come crying that you are offended when you contributed precisely nothing to the society you claim is in error.

      This is also of course food for the western media. They are rather a tough and heartless customer. They not only couldn’t care less if Muslims died by the millions, they would stand there and film it and present it on tv as a dinner time eye snack to the masses and make a few euro on advertising during the break.

      I think Muslims think this is a clash of cultures… its not. Its where a group of folks will be targeted for whatever media value they are worth until we run out of them. This time its Islams turn.

      If you doubt that ask any random westerner…which would you rather have moderate Muslims deported to a desert Island somewhere OR a few hundred dollars and they will all take the money…. but if you asked them the same about a smaller minority like the countries scientists, teachers, priests or doctors or even 500 random citizens from the street…then they would easily give up the money… Muslims are not valued because Muslims are seen as contributing nothing.

      Anyway It matters not… mass communication is affecting Islam greatly at the moment and given the amount of young Muslims getting pissed and stoned in London pubs it will not exist in its current form within a generation anyway.

    • William Baker

      This is “moderate” Islam folks. Deflecting blame, refusing
      responsibility, pissing on freedom of speech, and victim blaming!
      They’re more concerned with defending their religion and their
      psychopathic prophet and making excuses and demanding others free
      speech/expressiobn be censored, than with dealing with the significantly
      sized minority of extremists[and even more fundamentalists who are’nt
      extremist but still fundamentalist} in their own herd.
      This is the face of so-called “moderate Islam/muslims”.

      Free speech is absolute, you cannot choose which speech/views get to be expressed or how or when. “I disagree with what you have to say, but willd efend to the death your right to say it”- Evelyn Beatrice Hall.
      I disagree with islam but will defend to the death muslims right to be muslims and to say whatever the fuck they wanna or express{non-violently} as as a civilized person I expect the favor be returned to me..and to anyone and everyone.

      Stop demanding special entitlements in the name of ‘religion and stop misrepresenting criticis and criticism of Islamic extremism or even of the religion itself or the prophet of the religion as ‘racist” bigotry! Islam/muslms is NOT a race, it is a religion/IDEOLOGY, like any other religious or political ideology. To cast reasoned criticisms or lampoonings as racist is a intelelctually dishonest fallacious deception .

    • Malcolm

      There is no double standard. The enlightenment frees all humanity from the tyrannies of politics and religion. To say the enlightenment and free speech- and thought are just the view and priviledge of a liberal elite is piece of sophistry. To be able to argue against or even insult any and all religious and political ideologies, leaders, saviours prophets and demi-gods is an absolute necessary part of basic freedom.
      But to foment hatred against groups of people, whether racial, national, religious, sex caste or class is something entirely different, is offensive , unenlightened and can only be divisive. To argue that race hatred is just as much ‘free speech’ as attacking ideologies or leaders, is a false argument because freedom of speech means freedom of speech within the law.
      Our wisdom and sensibility should teach us to always be polite , nevertheless those who live in the past and can’t tolerate the views of others need to change and to come into the real world.

    • Dapper Dan

      Muslims want free speech for Islam, the ability to preach it, sell it, but then don’t want free speech to others. This article claims liberalism is a false universal and yet Islam is a false universal to non-Muslims. Muslims further want the right to denigrate other faiths but cannot tolerate denigration of Islam. This is hypocrisy.

    • This accusation of hypocrisy relies on the false assumption that murder,
      a serious crime, is equal to milder forms of discrimination, some of which are relatively trivial.