‘Je suis Charlie’


You won’t see any images purporting to be of the Prophet Muhammad on Vox Political.

This is because this writer has been on good terms with many Muslims and understands that any such depiction is extremely insulting to them and to their faith. Why would anybody want to inflict a bitter insult on someone they consider to be a friend?

By the same token, if an insult of such magnitude was inflicted on Yr Obdt Srvt, the possibility of a machine-gun attack figuring in any retaliatory gesture is, quite simply, unthinkable. Civilised people don’t do that. Psychopaths do that.

Yet this is what we are being told happened at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris today (January 7).

Five of the victims known to have died in the attack, including deputy chief editor Bernard Maris, Georges Wolinsky, Jean Cabut, Stephane Charbonnier and Bernard Verlhac [Image: BBC].

Five of the victims known to have died in the attack, including deputy chief editor Bernard Maris, Georges Wolinsky, Jean Cabut, Stephane Charbonnier and Bernard Verlhac [Image: BBC].

Most people will be familiar with the events: Three gunmen have shot 12 people dead at the office of the French satirical magazine. According to the BBC report here, they were heard shouting “we have avenged the Prophet Muhammad” and “God is Great” in Arabic as they made their escape.

It seems likely, therefore, that this attack was a reprisal against the magazine for printing a caricature of the Prophet, in 2011.

What kind of person waits more than three years to take recompense for a wrong, and then does it by shooting anybody who happens to be in the transgressor’s place of work at the time? What possible reason could they have for doing this?

It has been said that radicalised Muslims commit acts of terrorism because their Imam has told them they will be rewarded in heaven (or is it in the Garden of Earthly Delights?) for acts against the infidel – but really, how insane do you have to be to believe that?

About as insane as you’d have to be to commit such acts, whether you believe the story or not.

Whatever the perpetrators thought they were doing today, they were not exacting vengeance for an insult, or justice for a crime. They were murdering a dozen innocent people because one of them had drawn a picture.

Perhaps some adherents of Islam believe that’s okay.

This writer hopes the majority do not…

And wonders how many French Muslims will be brave enough to get onto the streets of their home town and join the others, holding up placards bearing the words ‘Je Suis Charlie’ too.

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19 thoughts on “‘Je suis Charlie’

  1. jeffrey davies

    using faith to kill is wrong its told but these are just animals how on earth is this allowed to happen even christians didnt flog or hurt monty pythons for p taking isnt a shame that these people had to die now has above muslims christian need to say enough and rid us of these monsters who use faith to kill jeff3

  2. beastrabban

    Just a few things to add, Mike. There is indeed a prohibition against a depiction of the Prophet, and other holy figures in Islam. Nevertheless, traditional Islamic art in some countries did find ways around the prohibition and portray him and them, but not quite. They were drawn, but the figures were either left incomplete, or there were veils over the faces. There are pictures of the Islamic version of the Last Judgement on some of the historic mosques in Iran, which show Muhammad and Ali, the Prophet’s brother-in-law and First Imam in Shi’ah Islam. They’re shown according to the above conventions, and so either don’t have faces, or their faces are hidden.

    Secondly, one of the hadiths (traditions about the Prophet, which are used as a supplement to the Qu’ran In Islamic faith) states that he said ‘There is no compulsion in religion’. From a liberal interpretation of Islam, the gunmen’s murder of innocents could be seen as breaking this injunction.

    Thirdly, part of the reason for terrorism is to increase tension and hatred between communities, in the hope of causing further radicalisation and violence against the government. These murderers and their masters are no doubt hoping it will lead to further fear and hatred against Muslims in general. Let’s frustrate them, and not give into further practice, but keep the hatred and contempt focussed on where it belongs: terrorists and murderers, rather than innocents, who just happen to be of the same faith.

  3. Andy Robertson-Fox

    Whatever one’s beliefs or non beliefs nothing can justıfy thıs act of terrorism. Thoughts are wıth the famıly and frıends of those who dıed and for those ınjured and ın hospıtal.

  4. Maria

    I don’t mind Muslims, or from any religion Really, what I cant stand is extremist from any culture or religion of any belief. I’m a Christian, my religion takes a bashing everyday, but I don’t go shooting people for it. Everyone has their opinions though and should have the right to express them, this is called our freedom and we should keep it.

  5. nightentity

    Those that believe these so called Imams are Ignorant of their faith and will believe anything they hear that makes them seem intelligent and all knowing to the other Ignorant. Terrorism is not Islamic,you don’t cause suffering to the aged the weak and the innocent,you don’t hide behind masks and scarves,you stand like a man and fight a mans battle. These terrorists are cowards and weaklings for they hide behind a faith that does not condone what they do. Yes there are Hadith out there that say certain things,but these are obscure and are not accepted as true Hadith. These terrorists are only out for power and control,they are not true Muslims in any sense of the word. And yes I can speak with some authority on this as I am a Muslim and used to teach new converts (or reverts) and children the basics of Islam and how to pray etc. I have probably ruffled quite a few feathers if this is read by certain quarters, but when we defend Islam the least we can do is use our words,and so I have. xx

  6. ukdirector

    I find it a bit more than insulting when members of a religious sect go around Killing and murdering people.
    After all if you don’t like something you can choose to not look at or read it, where as those slaughtered in the name of Islam don’t have that luxury.

  7. Scales


    Although recognising that mainstream Islam differs fundamentally with Christianity, especially on the subject of Christ’s Death, I do not want to go and kill Muslims.

    I still don’t have murderous thoughts when I see Jesus Christ being portrayed on stage as some kind of bizarre transsexual queen of heaven.

    And when people are invited to tear-up or write obscenities on copies of The Bible (all in the name of free speech and human rights issues), I still do not want to go and kill Muslims. Let’s face it, Thou Shall Not Kill!

    Anything that offends the dignity of man is Satanic – and the scurrilous depictions in Charlie Hebdo and the savage murders in Paris both illustrate that.

  8. Ian

    I remember the comedian Chris Rock saying people in his profession should always try to aim their comedy upwards, direct it at those with power and privilege. I tend to agree. In which case, what were these cartoonists hoping to do by being deeply offensive to many Muslims who, whatever else they may be, are not in any way in a position of power and privilege and many of whom live in the neglected banlieues of Paris – pretty much an underclass, in reality. It’s not like France’s North Africans have been well treated in general, either, so what is a purportedly left wing magazine doing harassing and ridiculing those at the bottom of society?

    There’s been wailing and gnashing of teeth about freedom of speach, which I largely agree with but it did step over into that particularly childish right wing version of libertarianism that speaks of rights as absolutes. I found that heavily ironic as it is, in effect, a fundamentalist religious way of looking at things. They have these rights ‘just because’, after all, nobody can confer them, right? Certainly not governments because they then become privileges bestowed rather than rights.

    All through that hoo-haa, I never once seen or heard any mention of how we have to get along together in the real world. as opposed to medialand and the academic bubble. Why should anyone feel they have the right to be so arrogantly offensive towards anyone, much less those at the bottom?

    Also, and again ironically, the presumably secular cartoonists (and if they aren’t secular, they’re in no position to poke fun at any other religion) seem to be very certain that their way is best and all else falls short. The irony being, that is also a particularly religious attitude to take.

    Both sides ought to grow up. Whether they will is another matter…

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      There’s a lot of truth in that. Have to say I wasn’t too impressed with the response by the magazine. Poke mockery at Islam, rather than at terrorists? Missed the target – by a long way.

      1. Ian

        I suspect it’s not a very good magazine, really. Certainly cruder than British satire.

        I really just do not understand the urge to upset so many people and I suspect the cartoonists don’t mix with Muslims or have Muslim friends. I’m a dyed in the wool atheist but I know and like a few Muslims and would be mortified if I upset any one of them.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        I don’t approve of ‘spamming’. Having said that, if you’ve got a legitimate reason for contacting them and saying you don’t want them to do something, then who am I to try to persuade you against it?

      3. Ian

        Well being benefit scum myself, I obviously have lots of time on my hands, who could blame me if I got bored and told them somewhat embroidered tales of cheats depriving Hardworking Families™ of their taxes? 🙂

        I think I might spoof them and discredit them if at all possible…

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        I don’t approve of that either! Any tale about scroungers and cheats is fodder for the myth-machine.

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