Warning: If you find images of Muhammad, prophet of Islam, offensive, don’t read this article. If you decide to read it anyway, don’t blame me.
By now you will have heard of the appalling event at the Paris offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. During an editorial session, three masked gunmen entered the offices and opened fire, killing twelve and critically injuring four more. (You can read a full run-down of the attack here.) According to the BBC,
Witnesses said they heard the gunmen shouting “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad” and “God is Great” in Arabic (“Allahu Akbar”).
The attack appears to be in retaliation for the publication a few days ago of the issue below, featuring a satirical image of the Mohammed, the prophet of Islam:
Professor Jerry Coyne’s article on the event at his website, Why Evolution is True displayed another cover, to which he appended the caption, “Come at me bros,” and good on him. We cannot bow down to this sort of terrorism. When Salman Rushdie wrote Satanic Verses, too many rushed to condemn him, seemingly forgetting about free speech in their fear of appearing Islamophobic. Islamophobia-phobia rides again!
Here is Rushdie’s statement on today’s events:
Charlie Hebdo doesn’t specifically focus on criticizing Islam. Here is a selection of other covers (which I pinched from Coyne’s article):
A great cartoon by Aussie cartoonist David Pope, also from Coyne’s website:
I hope this revolting act will help those who decry any criticism of Islam as Islamophobia recognize just what a problem it has the potential to be. Any belief system that includes an invocation to kill critics and unbelievers, and rejects all attempts at reform is likely to spawn such acts.
Because of this, good people are dead, and many more are suffering. This should not be accepted by any decent society, but millions will admire the actions of the murderers because of religion.
On the one hand, there’s a huge rally in Paris in support of Charlie Hebdo, and social media has also come out to support them. Conventional media outlets however, like the Telegraph are pixilating the so-called “offending” image. Assuming it is correct that it is Muslim extremists who carried out these murders, this is a form of terrorism and the Telegraph and others have bowed down to it.
Charlie Hebdo actually didn’t have a very big readership – they even had to shut down for a few years because of it. By this action, these murderous cowards have just made it one of the most widely read magazines in the world, ensuring millions more will get to see satirical images of Mohammed and other religious (and non-religious) figures.
I can’t work out whether I’m angry or sad or just disappointed in humanity. I am, however, heartened by all the support being shown to Charlie Hebdo.
Veronica Abbass has provided links to Canadian organizations declaring their support of Charlie Hebdo:
The Centre for Inquiry: http://centreforinquiry.ca/cfi-condemns-murders-at-charlie-hebdo/
CBC News: http://www.cbc.ca/newsblogs/yourcommunity/2015/01/charlie-hebdo-political-cartoonists-react-to-paris-shooting-deaths.html