Early Wednesday morning Muslim terrorists attacked the headquarters for the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Several masked gunmen entered the building shooting and killing 10 employees of Charlie Hebdo, then killed two police officers as they fled the scene.
Over the years Charlie Hebdo has been the subject of much controversy and the employees have had to talk about dangers just like today’s attack. Back in 2012 one of those killed, Editor-in-Chief (and cartoonist) Stéphane Charbonnier (or Charb as he is fondly called) addressed the threats from Islamic radicals. In an interview with Der Spiegel online he was asked about the idea that some said they were antagonizing the Muslim terrorists Charbonnier responded with his usual biting wit.
The cartoonist claims he doesn’t want to deliberately provoke anyone. “We publish caricatures every week, but people only describe them as declarations of war when it’s about the person of the Prophet or radical Islam,” says Charbonnier. “When you start saying that you can’t create such drawings, then the same thing will soon apply to other, more harmless representations.”
“Extremists don’t need any excuses,” he says. “We are only criticizing one particular form of extremist Islam, albeit in a peculiar and satirically exaggerated form. We are not responsible for the excesses that happen elsewhere, just because we practice our right to freedom of expression within the legal limits.”
“If we worried about the consequences of each of our drawings in each of our 1,057 issues, then we would have had to close shop a long time ago.” Nevertheless, he is grateful for the protection of the police, who he says “politely and with concern” inquired about the contents of the new issue already while it was being printed. “It’s crazy,” says the cartoonist with a smile. “Of all publications, our magazine, which mocks the police at every opportunity, is now protected by it. Which only goes to show that freedom of speech is protected in our country.”
There will continue to be no taboos at Charlie Hebdo in the future. “It should be as normal to criticize Islam as it is to criticize Jews or Catholics,” Charbonnier says. Is he afraid of attacks or violence directed against him and his colleagues? “I have neither a wife nor children, not even a dog. But I’m not going to hide.” On Friday, another edition of 75,000 copies will appear.
Along with the four cartoonists 6 other Charlie Hebdo staff and two police officers (who were assigned to protect Charbonnier after he received death threats from radical Islamists) were all killed in the attack and several more people were wounded.
A bystander in a nearby building was able to take this video of the murderers fleeing the scene. Please be forewarned – the video is hard to watch and apparently shows the assassination of one of the officers.
NBC News reports that the terrorists have all been either killed or captured.
One of the suspects in the Paris attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has been killed and the two others are in custody, two senior U.S. counterterrorism officials told NBC News on Wednesday.
This was not the first time that the offices of the French satirical magazine were attacked by violent Muslims. Just a few short years ago, in 2011, the magazine introduced Muhammad as their guest editor and offered their take on the founder of Islam in their cover art. (In Islam depictions of Muhammad are forbidden.) Later that day the offices were firebombed, causing complete destruction of everything inside.
Charbonnier’s outlook on his work, even in the face of the many threats from radical Islmaists was exemplified in an interview he gave to the French newspaper Le Monde back in 2011 after their building was bombed. Asked about the danger of it all Charbonnier replied,
“I have no kids, no wife, no car, no credit. That may be a bit pompous what I am saying, but I prefer to die standing than live on their knees.”
Charlie Hebdo is a not-too popular magazine that lampoons everything. They are a satirical magazine that offends practically everyone, and unlike most liberal publications – they even went after Islam.
Over the years Charlie Hebdo has produced some very inflammatory content criticizing and mocking Islam – and it has always drawn the ire of Muslims around the world. Which is likely why the gunmen could be heard shouting “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad” as they fled the scene.
Several years ago, after the first attack on Charlie Hebdo headquarters, the liberal Islam-pandering rag, TIME magazine chose to blame the victims for the attack.
It’s obvious free societies cannot simply give in to hysterical demands made by members of any beyond-the-pale group. And it’s just as clear that intimidation and violence must be condemned and combated for whatever reason they’re committed—especially if their goal is to undermine freedoms and liberties of open societies. But it’s just evident members of those same free societies have to exercise a minimum of intelligence, calculation, civility and decency in practicing their rights and liberties—and that isn’t happening when a newspaper decides to mock an entire faith on the logic that it can claim to make a politically noble statement by gratuitously pissing people off.
Defending freedom of expression in the face of oppression is one thing; insisting on the right to be obnoxious and offensive just because you can is infantile. Baiting extremists isn’t bravely defiant when your manner of doing so is more significant in offending millions of moderate people as well. And within a climate where violent response—however illegitimate—is a real risk, taking a goading stand on a principle virtually no one contests is worse than pointless: it’s pointlessly all about you.
So, yeah, the violence inflicted upon Charlie Hebdo was outrageous, unacceptable, condemnable, and illegal. But apart from the “illegal” bit, Charlie Hebdo’s current edition is all of the above, too.
Sadly, this kind of defense of Islamic insanity continued after today’s violent attack.
Financial Times columnist Tony Barber takes a different view:
Charlie Hebdo has a long record of mocking, baiting and needling French Muslims. If the magazine stops just short of outright insults, it is nevertheless not the most convincing champion of the principle of freedom of speech. France is the land of Voltaire, but too often editorial foolishness has prevailed at Charlie Hebdo.
This is not in the slightest to condone the murderers, who must be caught and punished, or to suggest that freedom of expression should not extend to satirical portrayals of religion. It is merely to say that some common sense would be useful at publications such as Charlie Hebdo, and Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten, which purport to strike a blow for freedom when they provoke Muslims, but are actually just being stupid.
This kind of ridiculous attack is nonsense. The artists and humorists at Charlie Hebdo are not to blame for the violent acts of a hateful and vicious religion. Here’s the truth.
Charlie Hebdo mocks EVERYONE. Christians have been upset with them because of their vile and disgusting depictions of some of our most sacred beliefs. Here’s something else that Time Magazine reminds us about when it comes to Charlie Hebdo.
Though the publication has never found wide circulation, it quickly made a name for itself due to its incendiary cartoons, which took shots at high-profile figures, including the far-right, politicians and celebrities, and religions of all kinds. Just last month, an edition featured a cartoon of the Virgin Mary, spread-eagled, giving birth to Jesus.
Did you catch that?
Charlie Hebdo MOCKS EVRYONE.
But not everyone firebombs them, not everyone kills them. Only Muslims do that.
Unless you ask the fool liberal Howard Dean (D-VT), and yes I do mean FOOL. Dean was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe just after news of the attack broke, and it was on MSNBC where he said these ridiculously foolhardy comments.
“You know, this is a chronic problem. I stopped calling these people Muslim terrorists. They’re about as Muslim as I am. I mean, they have no respect for whatever anybody else’s life. That’s not what the Koran says. You know, Europe has an enormous radical problem. I think ISIS is a cult, not an Islamist cult. I think it’s a cult. I think you got to deal with these people.”
I am so sick and tired of bleeding heart liberals trying to paint Islam as something it is not. Islam is not a “religion of peace!” Throughout the Islamic world, fascism, oppression and violence reign supreme. Whether it’s terrorists in Afghanistan, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Yemen, Pakistan, Malaysia, Sudan, Libya, Chechnya or in countless other places… or it’s the fascist governments of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Jordan or the Maldives… the common theme running throughout the Islamic world is Violence and Oppression.
This is not to say that every devout Muslim is violent or approves of terrorism… but it is far more common among the people of Islam than any other group in the world. Pretending that this isn’t a problem that is endemic with Islam isn’t solving anything – it only clouds the real issues at hand.
Beyond that, consider the ramifications of these events.
Modern Islam demands that the world act in accordance with their beliefs and bowing to their pressures on issues as simple as freedom of the press and freedom of expression would only legitimize their demands. We CANNOT do this. We cannot curb our freedoms, or the freedoms of those we disagree with, because we fear the response from some crazed group of religious fanatics.
With that in mind, many cartoonists responded to the carnage of the attack on Charlie Hebdo by doing what they do best… exercising their freedom of expression.
Buzzfeed collected a handful of the most heartfelt examples.
— David Pope (@davpope) January 7, 2015
“I am Charlie.”
Charlie Hebdo. Nooit opzij. pic.twitter.com/MJwGKPQ8jU
— Joep Bertrams (@joepbertrams) January 7, 2015
“Unstoppable Charlie Hebdo.”
— Francisco J. Olea (@oleismos) January 7, 2015
“Grab your Weapons Mates!”
Many world leaders spoke out to show solidarity with France today and to express their sadness at the day’s events.
President Barack Obama: “I strongly condemn the horrific shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris that has reportedly killed 12 people. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrorist attack and the people of France at this difficult time. France is America’s oldest ally, and has stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States in the fight against terrorists who threaten our shared security and the world.”
Prime Minister of the UK, David Cameron:
The murders in Paris are sickening. We stand with the French people in the fight against terror and defending the freedom of the press.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) January 7, 2015
President of France, Francois Hollande:
Aucun acte barbare ne saura jamais éteindre la liberté de la presse. Nous sommes un pays unis qui saura réagir et faire bloc.
— François Hollande (@fhollande) January 7, 2015
“No barbaric act will ever extinguish the freedom of the press. We are a united country that will react as one.”
“It was a horrendous, unjustifiable and cold-blooded crime. It was also a direct assault on a cornerstone of democracy, on the media and on freedom of expression.”
We too at Eagle Rising wish to express our deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers for the people of France and for the friends and families of those killed in this senseless and barbaric attack. We KNOW that our freedom of expression and a free press are of tantamount importance to the general freedom of a people and attacks like these can have serious political repercussions. Our hope is that this attack will embolden our leaders and our people to grow even more rigid in our stand against Islamofascism and the terrorism that it spawns. The fight may be long and difficult, but it is necessary. The sacrifices and lives of these victims won’t soon be forgotten – and neither will our search for justice against the terrorists of Islam.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com