Unknown gunmen kill twelve at “Charlie Hebdo” offices in Paris; may be related to the paper’s satires on Islam. BBC and Telegraph censor the “offending” cartoons.

January 7, 2015 • 7:27 am

According to many papers, including the New York Times,  masked gunmen have attacked the offices of “Charlie Hebdo,” a French satirical newspaper, killing 12 and wounding five more. The paper had been previously attacked for publishing cartoons (as did a Danish paper) mocking Muhammad.  It doesn’t take much to inspire murder among Muslim thug terrorists: look what the paper was firebombed for three years ago:

The newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, has been attacked in the past for satirizing Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. Its offices were firebombed in 2011 after publishing a cartoon of the prophet on its cover promising “100 lashes if you don’t die laughing!”

The latest attack is likely the work of Muslim terrorists as well: the Torygraph gives a video of the attack and reports

“In the footage filmed by a man taking refuge on a nearby rooftop, the men can be heard shouting ‘Allahu Akbar” (God is great) between rounds of heavy arms fire. . .”

All the killers escaped and none have yet been identified. The Telegraph gives a useful live-updated timeline of the attacks and their aftermath, with many photos and live video.

What is bizarre and cowardly about the journalists reporting this horrible episode is that, in its original report, the Telegraph apparently pixillated the cartoon of Muhammad that may have brought on these murders.  Or so says a tw**t from James Bloodworth, which shows a photo that now seems to have been removed form the Telegraph site). (Note below that the BBC has also censored the “offending” issue.) Here’s the Telegraph’s earlier pixillation:

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 7.20.33 AMThis is a cowardly capitulation to the murderers. Now is not the time to fulminate about the timorousness of the press or the successes of extreme Islamists in suppressing sarcasm and criticism, but pixillating that image is reprehensible. Yes, publishing such things may inspire terrorism, but we cannot be cowed by thugs from expressing our distaste for and criticism of the dictates of religion.

UPDATES: Reader Alberto wrote a criticism of Muslim-cartoon censorship, “We are many but they are legion” on his website The Functional Art and reproduces some of their anti-religious cartoons, though not the one at issue (the paper doesn’t discriminate against religions):


Alberto also notes that the BBC News, to its shame, has also censored the cover at issue. Here’s their picture:

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 9.05.40 AM

Professor Ceiling Cat, however, will reproduce the entire cover. They can come at me if they want:

Come at me, bros!

What craven cowardliness on the part of you British journalists. Afraid of Muslim wrath, are you?

Finally, from Salman Rushdie, who had his own well-known troubles with censorship and threats:

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 9.18.33 AM

Here’s Rushdie’s statement:

Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms. This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today. I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity. ‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion.’ Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.

If any of you have websites or use Twi**er, please publish or tw**t the original and entire Charlie Hebdo Muhammad cartoon, which you can take from this post. The more often it’s reproduced, the better. If you do, weigh in below with the link. 

h/t: Matthew Cobb


279 thoughts on “Unknown gunmen kill twelve at “Charlie Hebdo” offices in Paris; may be related to the paper’s satires on Islam. BBC and Telegraph censor the “offending” cartoons.

  1. This, plus what is going on over in Germany right now will possibly wake up the Europeans to what the real fight will be. Islam is not compatible with western society and eventually the pretending will stop.

    Over here we will continue to pretend it is only terrorism of some extremist kind.

    1. It is islamic terrorism. But you’re doing a very poor correlative analysis if you ignore the millions of cases of western muslim citizens who don’t commit terrorism, who are law abiding. IMO the strategy to take is to aggressively find and punish criminals, not aggressively find and exile/punish muslims.

      In the US, males commit 90% of the violent crimes. Should we therefore lock up, exile, or gps-track all males? No. Because while violent crimes are overwhelmingly committed by males, it is only a very rare male that commits a violent crime. And the same holds true for muslims and bombings.

      1. Did I say lock up all the Islamist?

        Listen before you speak. If you see reality and you see compatibility then go ahead. But you will be treading lightly my friend.

        1. You said islam is not compatible with western society. The fact that 99.999% of muslims who live in western societies are law abiding productive members of it says otherwise. So okay, I take back my claim about what you suggest we do about it; you’re still committing exactly the reasoning error I described.

          1. I think, eric, you’re confusing two very different ideas.

            1) Islam is incompatible with western society.

            2) Muslims can’t live in western societies.

            These are not the same.

            1. Exactly.

              Islam is incompatible with modern, secular society which values freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

              That there are some muslims who don’t take the dictates of their religion seriously, doesn’t exculpates the religion itself.

              1. That there are some muslims who don’t take the dictates of their religion seriously, doesn’t exculpates the religion itself.

                In an operative and pragmatic sense it does. I care far more about how my fellow citizens act than what goes on inside their heads. As long as someone with kooky beliefs can reconcile those beliefs with peaceful, law-abiding conduct, then I don’t really care how they accomplish that reconciliation: in that case, their kooky belief is exculpated in my eyes.

                At the risk of going off topic, consider that our method for decision-making in criminal cases is so radically different from our method for decision-making in science cases that they are incompatible. Hand votes to decide the outcome? Defense attorneys witholding evidence from juries? A scientist would be kicked out of the field for witholding evidence. And what about ‘justice delayed is justice denied’? The scientific equivalent of claiming that not coming to a decision in a timely manner would be unethical is just ridiculous. But this incompatibility dosen’t bother us: we live happily with both systems. Full philosophical compatibility isn’t really necessary. What’s necessary is merely that the people in society act appropriately given the context. As long as people understand that the mass of the higgs boson will not be decided by the hand vote of 12 of your peers, and that a jury cannot return a verdict of “needs more research,” then you’re okay. That makes them compatible enough.

                IMO the same is true for religions. Full philosophical compatibility is a fool’s goal. We don’t require it in the case of nonreligious decision making beliefs or systems, so why require it in religious ones? Being a law abiding citizen while mouthing platitudes to your God – even platitudes opposed to law and order – is compatible enough.

              2. “I care far more about how my fellow citizens act than what goes on inside their heads.”

                You seem to be one of those people who think that the religious can somehow hold crazy beliefs and not act on them.

                I’m sorry but that’s an illogical proposition, that has been shown to be fallacious time and again.

              3. “That there are some muslims who don’t take the dictates of their religion seriously, doesn’t exculpates the religion itself.

                In an operative and pragmatic sense it does. ”

                No it doesn’t. Not all nazis took an active part in the horrors perpetrated in the hollocaust. Does that in an operative and pragmatic sense exculpate naziism?

                Central to Islam are principles which are against or effectively incompatible with central tenets of western culture. Good examples are democracy, equality between sexes and some aspects of sexuality. The fact that some people choose to ignore the worst aspects of this vile cult does nothing to make it any the more acceptable to or compatible with our society.

              1. I think there is a difference. Science is a methodology and we can talk about the methodological rules and how they are incompatible with nonempirical methods for answering questions or discovering facts, such as argument from authority and divine revelation. So I have little to no problem with your (a) and (b). But “western society” isn’t a methodology for doing anything. Its much harder and far more subjective to say what’s compatible and incompatible with it.

                Secondly, if I absolutely had to try and pin ‘western society’ down as a thing or set of rules, I would say that one of the core rules is ‘no such thing as a mind crime’ – i.e., we don’t care what you think, we only care what you do. That is part and parcel of freedom of expression; obey the law in how you act, and you can express pretty much any idea that comes from your head without penalty. All expressions are compatible with western society because western society values freedom of expression higher than it values any particular thing expressed. Even calls to change how western society is structured are protected. If you agree with me that that is part of the ‘rules set’ of western society, then its hard to see how any ‘in the mind’ belief in islam could be incompatible with it.

          2. Islam is about as compatible with western societies as any of the other desert dogmas are, i.e. not very. Just because western societies have been blighted with these religions for all of our history and our societies have survived (mostly) doesn’t mean they are compatible. The core reason why muslims currently account for more nastiness like this event here in western societies compared to any other demographic is precisely because their religious/cultural views are not compatible with the western societies they have been immigrating to lately.

            Same argument accommodationists use regarding science and religion. And the same refutation applies.

            We always need to keep firmly in mind the dangers that you caution about, but conditioning ourselves to respond that way at the first mention of criticism (Ben Affleck is the perfect example) is just as bad.

            1. I don’t think its directly analogous because “science” is a methodology, while “western society” is not. See my response to Jerry for more.

      2. Someone could also say: hey, look at all those people who smoke cigarettes but don’t get lung cancer. How can you be blaming tobacco??

        1. Someone who said that would be ignoring the statistics, which show a link. OTOH, someone who makes a claim about religious belief being correlated with criminality would also be ignoring the statistic-, which AFAIK shows no link.

          Pick a person out of the US population, and if they smoke then there’s a higher than average chance they’ll get lung cancer. Pick person out of the US population, and if they’re muslim, there is not a higher than average chance they’ll be a criminal.

          1. Pick a Muslim person out of the world population and the chance they would be a religious terrorist would be considerably higher than average. The chances that they would support, but not engage in, terrorism would be much higher.

            Here ya go… some statistics.

            1. And a study to boot. Also, more statistics.

              This excerpt is pretty telling:

              Indeed, the data examined in this study demonstrates that only the more secular, pro-evolution democracies have, for the first time in history, come closest to achieving practical “cultures of life” that feature low rates of lethal crime, juvenile-adult mortality, sex related dysfunction, and even abortion. The least theistic secular developed democracies such as Japan, France, and Scandinavia have been most successful in these regards. The non-religious, pro-evolution democracies contradict the dictum that a society cannot enjoy good conditions unless most citizens ardently believe in a moral creator. The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is therefore refuted. Contradicting these conclusions requires demonstrating a positive link between theism and societal conditions in the first world with a similarly large body of data – a doubtful possibility in view of the observable trends.

            2. Its horribly bad that so many muslims would think that terrorism is ever justified. But I think actions speak louder than words. Here’s data on actual terrorist attacks in the US since 2001. Not people answering a question on a survey: analysis of actual attacks. By the FBI. We do not have an Islam problem, we have a domestic right-wing ideology problem. If you are going to gauge ‘incompatibility with western society’ by attacks, then right-wing political ideologies today (and left-wing ones in the ’70s) are far more “incompatible with western society” than Islam. Maybe we should teach students how holding a political ideology is incompatible with western civilization, eh? Down with liberalism and conservativism, as they obviously lead to bombings!

              1. “We do not have an Islam problem, we have a domestic right-wing ideology problem.”

                This is a false dichotomy. We have both problems. The right-wing (largely Christianist) problem is more immediate in the US. That neither excuses nor diminishes the large world-wide Islamist problems that exist.

                When people make attacks like this, throw acid in the faces of children, and destroy embassies in the name of their religion it is bad enough. When other people choose to pretend that these incidents aren’t motivated by faith, it is another. While the immediate consequences of these two things are different, I’m at a loss right now to decide which is intellectually more abhorant.

              2. “When other people choose to pretend that these incidents aren’t motivated by faith, it is another. While the immediate consequences of these two things are different, I’m at a loss right now to decide which is intellectually more abhorant.”

                I couldn’t agree more with you, because the unwillingness of apologists to admit of the existence of the Islamist threat, translates to inaction, or inadequate action, and costs us ever more lives!

              3. I think that by “western society” most people are focusing on the humanistic Enlightenment underpinnings as opposed to “what we find here in the west.’ In which case yes, right (and left) wing ideologies which violate these ideals are indeed “incompatible with western society.” Even though they’re also a part of our western culture.

                As others have said, it may all come down to what we mean by ‘compatibility.’ The more secularized and humanistic the individual Muslim or Islamic group is, the more compatible it will be. This could be used either way. It can go to show that they aren’t all “extremists” — or it can be used to demonstrate that the core principles themselves must be incompatible if they have to undergo this revision before they’re not.

          2. Pick an average French person, and a French who is an Islamist and tell me who is more likely to slaughter defenseless journalists in broad daylight.

              1. Repeat the exercise with a French Muslim picked at random then. My argument still stands.

              2. How does islamist imply “a supporter of violence”? It does more than imply an adherent to the islamic religion which prescribes violent acts in response to criticism of that religion. This more accurate interpretation is not rigged and supports the original assertion.

      3. You’re absolutely right Eric.
        The Jesuitical/Talmudic hairsplitting below about the difference between the religion itself and some practitioners who are “okay” is silly. Saying “Islam is not compatible with Western society” is just an emotional outburst. It doesn’t flippin’ mean anything. And by that logic Christianity isn’t compatible with it either yet everything is okay.

        1. I’m just now reading Swerve which was recommended in a recent good book post.
          Christianity was not compatible with a free society. It was modified by the pressure that secularists applied due to the influence of Lucretius and the ideas contained in his “On The Nature of Things”.
          This change or modification of Christianity took time and was resisted mightily by the Church, but what freedom we have today comes from beating Christianity back and hard.
          Islam needs the same beat back. It is not compatible with a free society.
          Btw, Swerve is a good book.

        2. Its not an emotional outburst. I agree that if you judge compatibility by what’s in the book, its largely incompatible. This is the judgment approach I believe Jerry and many others take, but I’ll retract that if he shows up and says I’m wrong about it. If you judge compatibility by what the worst 0.001% of the western muslim population does, its also incompatible. If you include in your assessment the behavior of the other 99.999% of western muslims, incompatibility is not so clear. Since I value what my neighbor does more than what goes on in his head (Jefferson’s does it ‘pick my pocket or break my leg’ idea), I take the latter approach. So I arrive at a different conclusion than you do.

          Of course I also think my third approach is better than either of the first two, for a couple of reasons. If we take the first approach then we run into the problem of many systems within western society being incompatible with each other. So suddenly claiming islam’s incompatibility renders it outside the acceptable norm sounds like cherry picking; discrimination. And I think that it goes without saying that the second approach is a very bad generalization that we would never want others groups to use when characterizing us, so we shouldn’t use it to characterize them. So I use the third approach, considering in my compatibility assesssment whether the overall population behaves any worse than the rest of us. At least in the US (I can’t speak for other countries), the answer seems to be “no.”

          1. “Its not an emotional outburst. I agree that if you judge compatibility by what’s in the book, its largely incompatible. This is the judgment approach I believe Jerry and many others take, ”

            because if the book which defines the religion expresses concepts which are incompatible with out society then the religion is by definition incompatible with our society. The fact that some or all adherents choose to ignore some rules they find offensive does nothing to change the fact that the religion is incompativle with our society. I agree, it goes just as well for christianity as islam.

            This has nothing to do with emotion but everything to do with the logical interpretation of the facts.

            You seem to be the one who’s emotions are steering your arguments and distorting the facts does nothing to make them any the more valid.

  2. I can see why the Telegraph did this. There has just been an horrific attack on journalists in Paris. They have a duty of care to their own staff.

        1. Ah, okay. I get that they’re somewhat cautious on behalf of their employees, but I doubt anyone is standing ready to storm their offices today.

          I’ve been driving by Jyllands Posten’s offices daily for the past 12 years or so and they gradually( and not so gradually! ) took their precautions.

          The sad matter of the fact may very well be that this will be a future requirement for news outlets wishing to engage Islam critically or satirically.

    1. The response should be for all newspapers in France (and elsewhere) to republish these cartoons every day for a year. Show the terrorists that their attacks will have the opposite of their intended affect.

      1. Absolutely. This kind of terrorist atrocity will end when those who feel driven to violence discover it has the opposite effect–provoking still MORE “offensive” cartoons.

      2. That’s a good idea. Islamic terrorists do a good job of publicising stuff they don’t want people to see. If it wasn’t for their violent reactions I would never have heard of the few cartoons or films like The Innocence of Muslims.

      3. I was thinking an annual Charlie Hebdo day, but yeah, the proper response is for free speech outlets to defend/support CH by republishing the material.

      4. That was my first thought. To see the way the Telegraph has behaved makes me ashamed to be British but that’s just another one to add to a long list these days. Not that I would have entertained buying that right wing rag but this has certainly made avoiding it something I will actively pursue.

        It is this cowardly behavior which moslems exploit, it has given them a victory over us and shown that their acts of terrorism to work. Shame on us all.

    1. “The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo had no qualms about lampooning Islam. Why should it? In a free and liberally-inclined country like France it routinely took the mickey out of politicians and creeds whatever their source. But the editors knew they were running a risk by sending up Islam because militants will simply not accept that their religion be traduced in any way – and are prepared to kill or threaten to make their point.”

      1. I don’t think the Ex-MF actually believe that themselves, they are predicting what the apologist response will be.
        (Twitter is not so good for the nuanced message, alas.)

      2. They’re agreeing. It’s directed at those liberals who will no doubt chalk it up to alienation and poverty, and claim that the people at Charlie Hebdo were racists( and hence partly responsible themselves ).

        They’re legit to the best of my knowledge and they’re fed up with the relativist liberal left, as they call it.

  3. I am appalled beyond words,
    seing four of the best and most irreverent and subversive cartoonists in the french press shot dead by religious fanatics is really scary. When will people realise that this is no fluke, but the logical continuation of an extremely worrying trend?
    Will Ben Affleck and the likes still maintain that criticism of Islam is just plain old racism?
    These journalists were just using words for goodness sake. Will we stand up for the challenge and fight for our values or keep pretending that this type of action are but isolated actions by brainwashed lunatics (which they most certainly are)?
    I am really expecting the muslim community to condemn this barbary, because after all the horror of ISIS and the likes, of late their silence has been deafening…

    1. Since the cartoon reportedly targeted ISIS, this takes on a political flavor (even though Islam is a key factor) . When the Sony debacle hit I observed only partially joking, that ISIS must be green with envy. Now they have the headlines. Will there be a game of one upsmanship.?

    2. >I am really expecting the muslim community to condemn this barbary

      “French Islamic leaders at scene to condemn the attack. ‘They have hit us all. We are all victims. These people are a minority'”

      ^^Are you satisfied?

      1. Well, the KKK is a minority in America, because the majority have made it impossible for them to show their faces or speak in public.

        You cannot eliminate idiocy, but you can drive it to the edge of extinction. You can remove its voice from acceptable discourse.

  4. I hope they catch the murderers who did this. It would also be helpful if politicians took a touch stand in their rhetoric.

  5. OMG, the video of the execution of the police officer lying injured on the sidewalk is harrowing. More so if you understand French. You can clearly hear his last words.
    I am sick. And it doesn’t help that a bunch of soulless Frenchies (who surely don’t have anything to do with any religion) are already writing tweets to express their satisfaction or that “you reap what you sow”.

    1. I know how you feel but please don’t use the word “execution”. That smacks, however distasteful I find it, of something judicial. It was cold-blooded, heartless murder.

      1. Oh, sorry, I had first written it between inverted commas and can’t remember why I removed them. I apologize. Please notice that English is not my native language (I’m Spanish) and I can miss those nuances. I obviously did not mean to suggest anything of what you (as I) find objectionable.

  6. Publish and be damned they say… Not, publish and be killed.

    The utter cowardly, inhuman bastards.

    Solidarity, from everywhere is the only response.

      1. The thought that you felt a need to post that warning says an awful lot.

        Can you imagine ever posting a warning like “If you are offended by liberal or conservative political argument, don’t read…”?

        How about “If you are offended by discussions of the heat death of the universe, don’t read…”?

      2. It could easily be my currently crappy email platform; but I am unable to access your website now, Heather, after multiple tries.

        1. I agree. It is safe to say that religion is a subset of ideology. The devoutness of the believer dictates to what degree their personal ideology is affected by the ideology of their religion; it would be interesting to ask this guy on FOX if he thinks Christianity isn’t an ideology because it is a religion.

  7. This is a cowardly capitilation to the murderers.

    Yes I agree. Rather than pixillating the image, it would’ve been nice to have seen mass solidarity instead: every news outlet showing the cover, in a coordinated fashion, to show that we all stand for freedom of speech and with Charlie Hebdo.

    1. I suppose, in their defence, that at least the Telegraph did actually use the image, albeit pixellated. A look round the other accessible UK mainstream media seems to show that they were the only ones who did. The rest just didn’t show the magazine cover at all.

        1. The staff at Charlie Hebdo chose to put themselves at risk from this sort of attack. The staff at The Telegraph and other newspapers have not made the same choice. Newspaper editors don’t have the right to put the lives of their staff at risk in this way, if they haven’t signed up for that.

          1. On further thought I kind of agree with you. Because of the risk, staff at each media outlet should make this decision together rather than being signed up for it by their boss…but I hope that a lot of them make the decision to publish CH’s material.

    1. I cannot tell you how much I hate, hate, hate when this damn line comes out after some attack like this. Do you see anyone not speaking up on this? Yeah, a few are blaming “extremism” and such, but I really do not think people are averting their eyes like they did with Nazis. Please stop.

      1. Want to put some money down on how long it is before we start seeing articles on Salon about how this is all down to colonialism and American foreign policy and how religion isn’t involved?

        1. Yeah, I’m counting on it. But people are not ignoring this. Apologies to bobkillian for harsh words — that poem really sets me off, especially when quoted in an inappropriate context.

        2. Thank you GBJames for that comment. Ah, the “everything is imperialism” people. When they start I will be able to remember that you called it. That will be some small comfort. Instead of head exploding. 😣

      2. I really do not think people are averting their eyes like they did with Nazis.

        I tend to disagree in a sense. I agree people are speaking out, but more-so in condemnation of the attacks on free speech than in support of the satirists. In fact I often perceive and undertone of blame of the type that is sometimes directed at a women who is raped when she was dressed provocatively. The press certainly hasn’t shown much solidarity in publishing the so called offensive cartoons. I think a serious argument could be made that if doing so had become commonplace after the Danish cartoon incident, this incident never would have happened.

        1. ” In fact I often perceive and undertone of blame of the type that is sometimes directed at a women who is raped when she was dressed provocatively.”

          I am missing how this relates, but anyhoo. The reaction and condemnation is already much more than the lack of reaction that inspired the quoted poem. In Nazi Germany, people were fearful of a knock on the door, people were taken away and never seen again, people turned their eyes downward and hoped they were not next.

          Some will make excuses for Islam and claim the problem is radicalism, sure. But, even that is very different from the lack of any statement or action of any kind that inspired the quoted poem. Here, we are already seeing debate.

          Nazis didn’t allow debate.

            1. The Nazis were the State. They were in control and had the power. ISIS is not. I’m looking all around the internet and press today, and all I see is condemnation (I have yet to see one person attempt to claim it is due to racism, islamophobia, etc… — although as I said, I expect I’ll see some before long). Even the Telegraph has redeemed itself.

              Can ISIS shut down the press like the Nazis did? They try, but they cannot because people are acting.

              So, ISIS may be coming for journalists, but who is not saying anything because they are not a journalist?

              Come up with a more applicable quote, that’s all I’m asking! That tired old poem is ready to be retired (or, at least limited to Putin or Kim in North Korea).

              1. I might end up regretting this, but I just wanted to throw in that while I understand the difference in magnitude between the Nazis and current Islam, and that your opinion is that the difference is so large that to compare the two is ludicrous, I think you are missing a key aspect of the warning that poem was intended to convey.

                Their was a time when Nazis were not overwhelmingly powerful and there was opportunity for people to oppose them, as there is currently with Islamic extremists. Then things progressed. Because there was not adequate opposition during the time when it was possible and may have prevented the assholes from becoming overwhelmingly powerful.

                The poem is not an exortation to oppose the Nazis once they were the state. It is a warning to oppose such assholes earlier before they achieve such power. That seems to correspond rather well with current Islamic extremism.

              2. nickswearsky,

                If you think that poem needs to be retired, you are sorely missing the point of the poem… that poem particularly needs to never be retired, least we forget what may happen if we are not vigilant to protect the rights of others, even if they are not of the same world view as ourselves.

                When the Nazis came for the communists,
                I remained silent;
                I was not a communist.

                When they locked up the social democrats,
                I remained silent;
                I was not a social democrat.

                When they came for the trade unionists,
                I did not speak out;
                I was not a trade unionist.

                When they came for the Jews,
                I remained silent;
                I wasn’t a Jew.

                When they came for me,
                there was no one left to speak out.

                or if you will

                Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
                habe ich geschwiegen;
                ich war ja kein Kommunist.

                Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
                habe ich geschwiegen;
                ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

                Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
                habe ich nicht protestiert;
                ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

                Als sie die Juden holten,
                habe ich geschwiegen;
                ich war ja kein Jude.

                Als sie mich holten,
                gab es keinen mehr,
                der protestieren konnte.

              3. I don’t see anyone remaining silent! The Nazis would not have done so much if Twitter were around.

              4. “The Nazis were the State.”

                In how many Islamic-majority countries is Islam not “the state”?

          1. I don’t see silence in the west in response to terror. And, that is the topic here. Of course, the Middle East nations are all totalitarian. The quote would be applicable there,not here. That is my entire point.

              1. He’s still writing up his article on how this has nothing to do with Islam and it’s all about cultural imperialism by France.

              2. He’ll have an article tomorrow. He’s still working out how he can blame anything but religion, because religion has no affect on behaviour, especially when that religion is Islam.

              3. I’m sure you’re right. I think it is a bit telling that Salman Rushdie and virtually every cartoonist I’ve ever heard of released their responses to the attacks hours ago but the apologist extraordinaire is nowhere to be found.

          2. Nick,
            I totally get what you are saying. I agree completely it does not apply here. Including given the activities of the blackshirts, speaking up would not have been enough with the the Nazis anyway. They’do have needed armed partisans, also why the fuck are we talking about the Nazis again? I’m sick of that poem too. France isn’t Iran and the problem here, when there is a problem in the response end of things is that some people believe false things. The “everything is imperialism” idea. And make excuses for Jihadist murderers.

            1. Thanks. It is sometimes hard to be clear in comments. I just don’t like that poem trotted out every time. Time for a new meme.

              1. I disagree. I think it’s frequently appropriate and esp. in this case. Your opinion doesn’t have to be everyone’s.

                Yes we are seeing a flurry of condemnation now but recent experience tells me it will not be long before all the rhetoric passes and most people return to their reality shows and consumerism. An immediate response such as we have now is merely pro forma. If the public conscience doesn’t remain focused, and recent history tells me it won’t, then effectively no one will have “spoken out” in any significant manner, and the cautionary tale of the Niemöller quote remains as applicable as ever.

        2. France has certainly stood behind the satirists in the past when they were taken to court and when they were firebombed. The government accused them of storing up stuff (but that’s what a paper like this does) but supported their right to do so. I think a large part of the world is behind them, they are simply reacting to the borror of it all.

  8. Well, two reflexions come into my mind:

    1. Cabu et co. they died by the shots of islamic terrorists. Their cartoons were right all along.

    2. This is shocking in Europe. But it’s every day life in Israel. We should keep that in mind before accusing the jews living there of anything.

    A sad day for freedom.

    1. Fleur des Alpes,
      On your first point I hadn’t noticed that but it’s true. “You call us murderers? We’ll KILL you for that!”

      On your two other points: c’est vrai.

  9. Dear The West.

    You can have your free speech. But only if we agree with it.

    Sincerely yours,


  10. “Charlie-Hebdo*,mon journal de preference,(Oh Cabu,Cabu ,que deviendrons-nous sans toi?) Je suis desoleee…

  11. Jerry can you please publish the caricature? I cannot even seem to find it on any website everybody’s scared. We need to all publish it, it needs to become viral, they cannot kill everyone. God I’m so f***** pissed…

      1. Translates as
        Muhammad overwhelmed by fundamentalists
        ‘It’s hard to be loved by idiots’

        (Google Translate, but looks like a fair translation to me.)

        Personally, I find that fairly sympathetic to Mohammed. Rather less so to the fundies.

    1. I finally found it (I couldn’t earlier, which is why I didn’t show it). I’ve put it in the post, and ask readers to tweet it or put it on websites so it will be spread everywhere. We are not cowards like the Telegraph and the BBC.

      1. “We are not cowards like the Telegraph and the BBC.”

        Jerry – would you put these cartoons on the UC website, on behalf of the faculty? Do you think it might put some of their lives at risk if you did?

        1. There’s a difference. The University of Chicago isn’t in the journalism business, thus Jerry posting something on behalf of them would likely violate the terms of his employment there.

          Journalists have historically put themselves at risk in the name of free speech and public disclosure. Look at the reporters who embed themselves in wars; certainly extremists on the other side could cite that as a reason to commit a terrorist act. But for journalistic organizations to yield to their demands and to be terrorized into silence will not improve the problem. It will empower the extremists. They don’t want us to simply stop publishing cartoons. They want the west to be governed under Sharia Law. Keep in mind, there were no cartoons or publications needed for 9/11 to happen or any of the dozens of Embassy bombings we’ve seen or for the guy here in New York to try to set off a car bomb in Times Square a few years ago, or the subway bomb plot, or the 7/7 attack on London, and on and on. Until this radicalism is contained (or, more hopefully, disappears altogether), there is a slight risk of religious maniacs attacking you in just about any urban area in the Western World, but the answer is not to cave to their demands, or even give the appearance of doing so.

          1. The point is that by putting these cartoons on the UC website, the faculty members would be at risk as the institution for which they work would be seen as promoting the “offence.”

            It’s no different for newspapers. Yes, some journalists have specifically signed up for dangerous assignments; most haven’t. And I don’t think any of them have signed up for being victims of barbaric terrorist acts in their place of work.

            More to the point, the people providing the catering, manning reception, emptying the bins and cleaning the window most certainly haven’t signed up to the risk of being gunned down in the line of duty.

            1. There’s a couple points I’ve heard Sam Harris make that I think apply here. First, last summer, he said we all live in Israel, we just don’t realize it yet. My job has nothing to do with journalism, nor is it public facing in any way; in fact, I don’t even come in contact with my company’s customers. However, I happen to work in close proximity to Grand Central Station in New York; thus, in addition to the typical fire safety exercises for a skyscraper, the routing usually includes a talk about what to do in case of a terrorist threat; e.g., it may be safer to leave the building than exit it, or vice versa depending on the circumstances.

              I did not sign up to be at a slightly higher risk of terrorism than the average person, but that’s simply the real world conditions we have in any major city in the west, probably more so in New York than any place in the United States. However, I am not going to stop working for a financial services company because some extremist thinks we shouldn’t pay interest, nor do I expect the companies around me involved in journalism to kowtow to terrorist demands because my building may be attacked.

              The second point is one Sam made with regard to mass shootings in weighing relative risk. Sure, some actions are so awful (even if rare) that they strike fear into our hearts and thus it is justifiable to at least consider how to lessen the odds that they occur. That said, the odds that I get hit by a car and die are still far higher than the odds a religious extremist will kill me due to some issue they have with the company I work for. This still applies even in journalism. If every newspaper in the west decides not to post the cartoons, the terrorists win for they have done exactly what they aim to do–terrorized us into submission. If we’re going to talk about what individual citizens sign up for, it certainly isn’t giving religious thugs reason to think they accomplished anything by murdering people over opinions.

  12. The anti-levity factions doing what they do best.

    “La superstition est à la religion ce que l’astrologie est à l’astronomie, la fille très folle d’une mère très sage. Ces deux filles ont longtemps subjugué toute la terre.” — Voltaire

  13. As I note in the update, I’ve added the original “offensive” cartoon about Muhammad. Please put it on your blogs or your Twitter feed. The more often it’s reproduced, the better. They can’t go after all of us, and we need to make the point that no religion is above criticism.

    1. But they have gone after all of us, and they have succeeded in the primary mission. They have made western democracies into surveillance states that would have made East Germany blush.

      Every time you fly, you pay homage to terrorism. And every time you tweet or email, your privacy is invaded, as a direct result.

      1. So we should cave in to Muslim offense? Is that what you’re saying? If not, then yes, we have to protect ourselves, but somehow I think that the goal of the terrorists is not to get us to beef up security. That imnpedes their real goal: to kill people and destroy the degenerate and non-Caliphate societies.

      2. Of course I don’t want to cave in. I’m just pointing out that the objective of terrorism is to force one’s opponent to initiate unpleasant and oppressive policing.

        I’m not sure what step two is, but I believe it is to make policing so obnoxious that it is easier to capitulate. This part may not have been thought out very well.

        But I will point out the American press has already capitulated. We have “workplace violence” instead of terrorism.

    2. I’m useless with social media, but have managed to post the cartoon on my FB page, together with the excellent David Pope cartoon. It won’t go very far, as I have few FB friends (by choice!), but every little helps. Vive l’effet Streisand!

      Colin McLachlan.

  14. I think the real argument here is over whether they committed murder because of Islam –or whether they committed murder because they were protecting the honor of Islam.

    A distinction without much difference, perhaps. From what I can tell the values of an “honor” culture is deeply embedded in the theological world view of the Quran. You defend an insult with violent retaliation or whatever-was-insulted is stained and its purity violated. If this is religion, the outrage will be ramped up to the level where God lives. Meaning, no holds barred.

    Feeling part of something Greater than yourself is satisfying. But this can go very, very dark when the brakes are off. Faith pretends to humble and restrict the believer when what it really does is slide the brakes off. God is not restricted. Neither are its servants, who do evil firmly convinced they’re the only ones fighting for what’s right.

    1. The honour code as internalized by Islam is indeed deadly and it needs to be called out. Politicians too often sidestep the issue.

      1. One thing that strikes me is that so many religious people invoke God as their judge then proceed to assume they can do God’s work for him. If God is great, surely he doesn’t need any help?

  15. We can split hairs on the language and the proper response to things like this all day but the facts are this.

    We spend so much money already in the U.S. to “prevent” terrorism that nobody even knows how much. Europe is beginning to do the same. Soon half the GDP will be going for this. If the hole just keeps getting deeper you have to stop digging and do something different.

    Figure out how much of the problem is caused by what we do and how much is caused by the religion itself. Just admitting that will be a major break though for many.

    1. I am in Las Vegas for a trade show and a dealer was telling me about “sheikhs” showing up to VIP events with “suitcases” full of cash. I don’t know that every wealthy man who wears traditional garb is a sheikh – for all anyone knows it could be a drug dealer or undercover agent in disguise, but certainly not all of them. Point being, the “cause” of discontent among Muslims very much include their own oligarchs, who are more than happy to point fingers at the West and also that nameless nation on the map between Egypt and Syria.

  16. The moderates of religion who want their part of it to be true continue to collectively thwart humanity’s effort to isolate the sickness that can come from fundamentalism.

    I hope Europe turns around and says: we are done with all religion, we are going to move forward and continue to take the steps toward enlightenment we began centuries ago.

  17. I normally wouldn’t do this, but I wrote a piece for Canadian Atheist this morningand included the images that probably caused the uproar. They are very benign.

    My take in this piece is to wonder how Hollande will react. He is very secular but because Sarkozy alienated Muslims, it was the Muslim vote that most likely he owes hepis presidency to.

      1. Something happened today. I think there are people working on it. I hope it wasn’t my article that caused problems…..

  18. Tried to post the Mo + camel cover on FB, as a comment to the Australian cartoon but Zuckerberg only shows the link + PCC. The link works, tho.

  19. I have complained to the BBC regarding their censorship of the Charlie Hebdo cover, and sent them the following message (I encourage others to do the same!):

    The BBC, along with most UK news outlets and publishers, has censored the image of the Charlie Hebdo cover showing the Prophet Muhammad.

    I note that the BBC had no issue presenting other Charlie Hebdo covers depicting orthodox jewish leaders, the Catholic Pope, and Jesus.

    The BBC has shown tremendous cowardice by not showing this particular cover in full, whilst showing others portraying similar subject matter from other religions.

    The BBC has effectively capitulated to the worst elements of organised religion, and yielded to those who would use violence and the threat of violence to erode freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

    Shame on the BBC for giving the fundamentalists, the extremists, and the violent exactly what they want.

      1. I sincerely hope that I would.

        Some people have made the case that showing cartoons of Muhammad etc. is just pouring fuel on the fire, and that the freedom to draw and show cartoons is less important than safety and security.

        The trouble is, the kind of people who are willing to kill over something as harmless as a cartoon, would almost certainly continue to use violence to get their own way – even if no one ever drew a cartoon of Muhammad again.

        So today we deal with the UK’s national broadcaster censoring magazine covers. What if the next wave of Islamofascists (appeased and encouraged by the censoring of cartoons) decide that people drinking in bars, or women wearing “immodest” clothing should be the next thing to go?

        So, yes, if I worked for the BBC, or in some other “at risk” place, I hope that I would still complain and help prevent the violent agents of religion from achieving their aims.

        1. I completely agree, and i’m with you – I think I would want to stand up to these murderous wankers.

          However, if I were the head of a newspaper I wouldn’t publish, simply because I would not want to put my staff at risk.

          To be honest, I don’t know what the answer is. I’m well aware that by not publishing, we’re reinforcing their barbarous behaviour. I would love to see all the papers publish, in one big concerted “Fuck You” to these arseholes. But I understand why they haven’t – or rather, I know why *I* wouldn’t – at least not without making damn sure my staff were supportive.

          1. “I don’t know what the answer is.”

            And this is your problem.

            It would be great if all publishers acted in concert. They should. But the perfect must not be made enemy of the good.

            There is only one answer that has any chance of long-term success. That is to refuse to cower and capitulate to the demands. If you think that declining to publish cartoons is going to diminish fundamentalist religious terrorism, you are fooling yourself.

          2. I agree with you wanstronian. Barring a near-universal show of solidarity by the press, I wouldn’t take a chance with the lives of my employees.

  20. Stéphane Charbonnier (murdered Editor of Charlie Hebdo): “I prefer to die standing up than live on my knees.”

    Now there’s a statement that should be repeated often!

  21. 12 the dead. Three gunman. This is so horrible. FYI There is a network called France 24 that is in English. And seems to be on the web.
    We are going to hear people saying the magazine should’ve just not published that. As if they knew for sure that they would be killed if they did. I’ve only read one set of tweets about that but already I’m totally tired of it. It’s a kind of magical thinking, the magazines actions controlled what the terrorists did. And completely ignores the question of when you self censor, because that’s what they’re requesting, what degree of mildness do you start censoring at? How will you know it’s enough? You can’t be a news entity whether satire or reporting and simply ignore big hunks of current events. Like every single thing to do with Islam and Jihadism.

  22. Twelve people killed, including a few of the main shareholders who were at the same time the main authors of the newspaper.

    I have to say, that operation was a success.

    I am impressed. It is much better executed than what we, the French, are used to dealing with.

    What could that mean? Did a new actor enter the game? The level of training improved? Isolated talent? Luck?

    1. It is reported today (BBC) that more than 1,000 French nationals are believed to have gone to Syria to join the ISIS Jihad. Some have almost certainly returned with a good amount of experience and training.

      1. When they catch these guys, as I assume they will, we will know whether or not they’ve been to Syria.

        That may be what we’ll be dealing with from now on.

        1. They obviously had some serious logistical help (at least with their firearms). I know it’s not easy to get guns into Europe, especially militarized automatic weapons. In America, I wouldn’t think twice about terrorists wielding sophisticated weaponry, but Europe?

          1. They also had inside information.

            How did they know the main shareholers/authors were meeting that very day, at that very moment?

          2. And Kalashnikov’s to boot. Not hunting rifles which I’m sure would be easier to come by. They chose assault rifles to do exactly what they were made to do.

              1. I do not know much about these things. Forgive me if my question is naive, but… How do you get your assault rifles from the US to France?

                Is that easy?

              2. Sorry, I was being a bit facetious. Getting them into France (etc.) would likely be more difficult because other countries don’t have gun policies that are quite as insane as ours.

              3. They sneak into Canada where assault rifles are not allowed but the US is right there so….

              4. GBJames, you got me.

                I was trying to figure a way to get a laarge gun from the US to France: in parcels, one bit at a time, wrapped in aluminium foil?

  23. ” Telegraph apparently pixillated the cartoon of Muhammad that may have brought on these murders.”

    Perhaps if they felt the full force of “The Streisand Effect”, these killings would stop

  24. Happily, Hollande is calling this terrorism against free speech. He isn’t blaming the paper at all which politicians haven’t done in the past either. I think though, this time the support will be very strong. I don’t think there will be any talk of the paper riling people up. Perhaps we are witnessing a change in how these things are handled.

    1. “He isn’t blaming the paper at all which politicians haven’t done in the past either.”

      Yes, I have not noticed that French leaders in charge tend to do that.

      I even doubt that anyone with a reputation to defend will blame the paper.

  25. I’ve been so annoyed with the tin ear that politicians from North America (US and Canada, to be precise) have been saying in response to this event.

    Specifically, ‘Our thoughts and prayers go to the families of those involved.’ Isn’t it Religion that killed these people? If not ‘real Islam’ as someone would say, at least _some_ sort of religion, whatever you want to call it. To say we should ‘pray’ for the people killed by religious extremists seems an insult to their deaths and the reason they were killed.

    1. It’s Harper. He brings religion into everything. On Canada Day he tweeted “God Bless Canada” making most Canadians squirm.

  26. François Hollande addresses the nation – his speech starts at 0.53 but the English interpreters seemed surprised and only start doing the English part way through. 🙂

    Nice that he strongly supported the paper and identified this as an attack on the values of France. Finally, someone isn’t blaming the paper – he’s being defiant and that is good.

  27. Muslims around the world are condemning these attacks. (See, e.g., front pages of Huff Post or NYT.) Please let us not overlook this. I am concerned that some comments in this forum are lumping their responses toward “Islam” and not “radical Islam.” This has nothing to do with the argument that religion underlies the extremism, a point with which I fully agree. But if you direct your ire toward all Muslims, I do not stand with you. How this community responds will reflect on our character, and affect our ability to change minds in calmer times.

    1. One more thought – I deplore the idea that the world should now be flooded with images of Mohammed as some sort of display of defiance. That’s just gasoline on the fire, and needless insult to innocent and well-meaning people. Save that for art and true, thoughtful satire, and actual news. I do agree the media is cowardly to not show the images that apparently incited the attack – some re-tw**ting to get those out seems justifiable to me.

      1. “That’s just gasoline on the fire, and needless insult to innocent and well-meaning people”

        If they are insulted by a cartoon, then they are not very well-meaning. They are not in favor of free speech, which is the only surety for democracy and freedom.

        Being offended by a cartoon is a choice (a stupid choice). Make another choice. Don’t look at the cartoon, for eff’s sake!

        Proposing to prevent others (by force or threat of legal action) from offending you with words or pictures is the philosophy (so to speak) of totalitarianism.

        All free people must oppose such things.

        1. Check the Pew poll data on what Muslims generally believe before you say that the religionists are “well meaning.” Is it “well meaning” to favor subservience for women, death for apostates, gays, and adulterers, and shariah law for everyone? A large percentage of Muslims believe these things, and if they’re offended by satirizing them, too bad. Now is the time, I think, to engage in widespread satire and criticism, and to keep it up. That’s the ONLY way, short of war, to reduce the grip of this invidious faith.

      2. Oh, fuck no.

        These cartoons need to be made into posters and plastered all over town right in front of the mosques.

        Were the Muslims condemning the attacks sincere, they’d paste copies on the entrances of their own mosques.

        Islam says that these posters are worth killing and dying over. They damned well can see what it is that all the fuss is about.

        Either their condemnations are sincere and they’ll — even reluctantly — show the posters and make clear that death is not the answer; or they’re as bad as the killers themselves.


        1. I couldn’t agree more. When these images are everywhere, who can the terrorist idiots attack? Everyone in sight? As to the Muslims offended by the images, I would say ‘Tough. Grow a pair. I’ve had to see things that offended me. I didn’t see that as a reason to kill the person who made them.’

    2. Ire for what?

      I direct my ire for the attack itself on the Islamic terrorist who committed the act.

      I direct my ire for the ideas that enables and foster attacks like this against the religion built on “sacred” material that includes a wealth of justifications for extremists to feed upon.

      I direct my ire for the continuation of this sort of attack against religious apologists in general who legitimize the idea that belief in “spiritual truths” for which no evidence exists is sufficient motivation for human action.

      There’s lots of ire to go around. Moderate Muslims (as well as moderate Christians, religious Jews, and crystal-gazing new agers) all deserve their fair share.

      1. Dare I say I direct some of my ire at KD33 for his totally gratuitous, superiority-drenched pious lecture to us on what our “community character” should be?

        1. Plus One. Enough with the cliche accommodationist platitudes.

          “That’s just gasoline on the fire, and needless insult to innocent and well-meaning people.”

          That is pure bullshit that absolutely should have some ire directed towards it. It is also delusional. Just because someone is polite while they are holding you down (unless you resist of course) doesn’t mean they are innocent or well-meaning. Even if you grant them that in their own minds they believe they are behaving appropriately, in your best interest even, that has squat to do with whether or not they actually are. The relevant context is society as a whole, not the individual’s personal little self image. Too bad if they are offended by criticism, satire or ridicule of their cherished beliefs.

          Any expectation to a right to not be offended is trivial and down right selfish compared to establishing and maintaining freedoms that, as clearly shown by history, are essential to creating and maintaining a society that is better for everyone. Shit, I am offended every damn day by some religious bullshit.

          1. Bravo! As one of the Dianes pointed out it has begun. The apologetics. It needs to be stated clearly that if anyone is offended/upset by a cartoon a.k.a. satire they have a proper remedy in a democratic society. They can speak up. They can complain, they can attempt to publicize a critique that shows why the satire was in fact a very very bad thing. Including that it is actually contrary to the democratic and equality values of our society. (Like racist frat boys doing blackface crap.) That’s what women have to do about gigantic public displays of misogyny ALL THE FUCKING TIME. And then we’re spoken about as if we HAD killed somebody. And yet we do not. Or even want to. The jihadist fanatics attitude toward that is “who cares, we are special”. But what’s the apologists excuse? They know that if you were being slandered or if hate is being mongered against you there is a course of action open to you. A Kalashnikov-free course of action.
            And remember the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists were murdered for making fun of jihadism. Which fancies itself a government in waiting. They weren’t making fun of halal food practices (as far as I know). Just like with Christianity they were making fun of the Pope and and birth control and the pedophile scandal. They weren’t making fun of the Trinity. (Which practically makes fun of itself!) When apologists invoke religion let’s remind them that when religion is doing politics that’s a whole other thing. Not that there’s anything wrong with satirizing religion itself.

    3. I don’t think any of us are directing our ire at innocent Muslims, but at Islam.

      It is no wonder that people are looking for reactions from the Muslim organizations if you keep in mind the public responses that are sometimes shown over anything anti-Islam.

      The Danish cartoons, for instance, didn’t start overnight. It was brought on by a group of Muslim public figures who traveled to the middle-east to instigate more outrage. And they even brought along at least one image that had nothing whatsoever to do with the cartoons or Islam.

      So yes, I’m paying extra attention to organized Islam’s reactions.

        1. Here’s some movement:

          « President of the Munich Islamic Forum Imam Benjamin Idriz called the attack on Charlie Hebdo “the most serious form of blasphemy” whose perpetrators “don’t belong in Europe and don’t belong in Islam”. « The Prophet Mohammed would “distance himself from such barbaric acts and judge them most harshly”, he said, ADDING THAT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION SHOULD BE AS STRONGLY PROTECTED AS FREEDOM OF RELIGION.” [my emphasis] »

          via http://www.thelocal.de/20150107/merkel-condemns-despicable-paris-attack

          (Which maybe someone here already posted; I’m loosing track of where I’m finding articles, cartoons, &c., on this.)


          1. How strongly does he favor freedom of religion? Does it go for apostates? If it does, then we really are seeing a step forward.

          2. Sorry, I don’t see that as decrying any Islamic tenets. It reads to me as just typical apologetics and twisting scripture to seem to say what he wants us to think it says.

        2. True, but maybe this is a first step. I hope these events start more conversations, especially among Muslims. I could of course be way too optimistic.

        3. Yeah, but I’d feel better if, while decrying the act, they also decried the repressive tenets of Islam

          I thought the same thing. The same religious leaders who condemn the attack will return to their mosques, and teach the faithful that insulting Muhammad is one of the worst of all crimes, and that blasphemy under sharia is punishable by death.

    4. Muslims around the world are condemning these attacks.

      While believing that insulting Mohammad is one of the most egregious forms of blasphemy punishable by death under Islamic law.

  28. Just read the Wikipedia entry on Stéphane Charbonnier. It’s sad to learn about him in this way, his work seems worth to check out.

    He was a long time critic of Islam, in fact, and there was an earlier attack (arson, but that time no casualties) on Charlie Hebdo, because he published a caricature of Mohammed. The “I prefer to die standing up than live on my knees.” quote which nickswearsky cited above was made in that context.

  29. I am heartened by the public condemnations by some world Muslim leaders. Good on them.

    However, I think it’s quite appropriate to paraphrase Anatole France:

    A single fatwah against the killers would be much more convincing.

    1. Here in Chicago, we are all too familiar with the “No Snitching” code and the problems it leads to. This seems a fine time for moderate Muslims to do the right thing — make sure these criminals are caught. Some one somewhere knows. The French should be demanding “Turn Them In!”

  30. And it begins. Vox tells us that those killed were murdered by madmen and it had nothing to do with the cartoons or religion. Von also helpfully advises that we should not condemn the murderers on the grounds of free speech.

    1. Salon’s only piece on the entire crime is a bit dumping on Dawkins. If you only read Salon, you would probably not know of this massacre, but you’d know Dawkins was at ‘it” again. Sigh.

      That said, Juan Cole (Informed Comment) who has considerable expertise on Middle East has an interesting bit on possible motivations of the killers (other than Islam, of course). While not making excuses, he points out that there are likely motives that count on overreaction in France, since they can only really recruit if they can show how persecuted they are.

      I doubt Cole would consider the robust show of solidarity for freedom of expression, condemnation of this despicable crime, and calls for the killer’s to be brought to justice overreaction. And, probably more media posting the cartoons as an act of brave defiance and a statement that even religion can be criticized. I don’t think Cole would disagree with that. He is warning not to play into their hands — as Bush did by invading Iraq (and calling it a Crusade!).

      1. What’s interesting about that “persecution” angle is that Muslim organizations in France have decried this act and have cautioned Muslims about being manipulated by extremists in this way. I put a link somewhere to an Israeli paper’s report about this.

        I do hope the Muslims in France show the liberals elsewhere that they don’t need their help and protection and that these liberals are misguided.

    2. On twitter cartoons by Charlie Hebdo that look really racist out of context are circulating to discredit the magazine. Spent the morning trying to combat this, provide context, asking who is on trial, the killers or the cartoonists?

      Lots of retweets of the offensive material within the black community. For instance, a decades old CH cover that says “Pope in Paris. The French as dumb as N***ers.”

      1. And you’d want to ask these people: “your point?” Even if, for the sake of argument, you accept that the cartoons were racist or whatever other sordid thing they say they are, in going to great lengths to show that these cartoons are sordid, is the point to demonstrate that the staff at the paper deserved to be murdered in cold blood? If so, shall we then change the law to make this behaviour acceptable – kill those who you disagree with?

        1. I think it’s more kill those whom we identify as unsympathetic, in this case the western cartoonists, and hold them to a different standard then those whom we identify as sympathetic, in this case those poor, oppressed jihadists who’ve been held back by dastardly western culture, but yeah, that’s basically it.
          It’s all very silly.

        2. Hello D.

          Much after the fact, I’m reviewing comments I left via WordPress and so came across this reply of yours to my comment only now.

          When I ask “Your point?” the answer is something along the lines of “the point is not to be duped into thinking Charlie Hebdo were progressives or anything like that.”

          I take this as wondering whether the dead can be buried in progressive hallowed ground or whether they should be refused such an honor. I could add more but I’d rather be brief.

          In truth, I must admit that if Charlie Hebdo had been some Nazi publication I would still have been shocked and worried about the political consequences of all this, I would still have felt the horror but I would have felt much less grief.

      2. I’d also say it is NOT legitimate to quote something published 20 or 30 years ago for viewing in the light of current-day sensitivities. It amounts to misrepresentation.

        1. Nonsense. We quote from the past all the time.

          “Mankind are so much the same, in all times and places, that history informs us of nothing new or strange in this particular. Its chief use is only to discover the constant and universal principles of human nature.”

          –David Hume

  31. Latest news gossip. One of the police officers was a Muslim.

    Hopefully public gatherings will continue some days to come.

  32. I’ve been away from the news so slow to this story. Disgusting. I reposted the cartoons and if it’s on my blog, it seriously is in every little corner of the web. Hope they are posted everywhere and put in print all over the world. Then these guys can be responsible for perpetuating the very thing they despised.

    Cannot believe those who are blaming the victims and/or mitigating what these religious idiots did. Completely shameful.

  33. “What craven cowardliness on the part of you British journalists. Afraid of Muslim wrath, are you?”

    The press institutions have a duty of care to their employees – reproducing the cartoons puts those employees at risk of death. I think the answer to your question is, “Yes.” And so they should be, if they have any sense. We’ve seen what can happen in horrifying detail.

    If individuals want to reproduce those cartoons, then that’s fine. That’s what you’ve done, Jerry, and I applaud you for it. But it’s irresponsible for an organisation to do so on behalf of its employees.

    1. If it is irresponsible for a newspaper or magazine to republish the Charlie cartoons in this environment, then the publishers are in the wrong business.

      Should we shut down our police forces, too, because they might come under attack by religious extremists?

        1. I’m drawing a comparison between journalism and policing. Both are necessary institutions in a free country. Neither can forfeit its responsibility in fear of religious extremists.

          What you advocate is, quite simply, capitulation to religious terrorists.

          1. Teaching is also necessary. Should we plaster pictures of Mohammed all over our primary schools in a gesture of solidarity and hope for the best?

            I’m not advocating anything – I’m pointing out why newspapers and broadcasters have chosen not to publish these pictures – because it would be irresponsible. They’re not shying away from Islamic outcry – they’re shying away from Islamist murderous motherfuckers.

            I lament the situation that makes this true, but that doesn’t mean that idealism is the responsible course of action. You can’t decide to stand up to terrorism on behalf of others if your decision puts their lives at risk. Or, maybe you would, in which case I’m glad I don’t know you personally. Or worse, work for you.

            You as an individual are welcome to publish these pictures on your own website, on the front door of your house, paint them on your car, whatever.

            You as a business owner do not have the right to put your employees’ lives at risk in the name of defending free speech; unless they’ve specifically signed up to the risk.

            Policing is an inherently risky career, journalism isn’t. That’s why your comparison is, with all due respect, fucking ludicrous.

            If extremists storm the Daily Telegraph, do you think it’s the editors who will get gunned down for their decision? No, it’s the poor bugger in reception who’ll end up not going home to his or her kids that night.

            1. “I’m not advocating anything”

              You are clearly advocating for the cowardly editorial position that dominates too many magazines and newsletters. You are advocating for “restraint” of free expression so-as not to offend religious extremists who might/will resort to violence to ensure that your “restraint” is complied with.

              I have no desire to live in a society without freedom of expression. I don’t want to live in a place where threat of violence means that newspapers don’t publish articles about mob crime. There is no difference between capitulating to organize crime in the face of knee-capping threats and capitulating to Islamist terrorists.

              Journalism is inherently risky business. You are, apparently, confusing journalism with public relations. They aren’t the same.

              And to say you aren’t advocating anything is disengenuous.

              1. FFS, this is like talking to a Creationist.

                “You are clearly advocating for the cowardly editorial position that dominates too many magazines and newsletters.”

                If you can’t distinguish between cowardice and duty of care then I’m not surprised you don’t understand the points I’m making. You seem very keen to put others in harm’s way, without their permission, in order to take a stand.

                “You are advocating for “restraint” of free expression so-as not to offend religious extremists who might/will resort to violence to ensure that your “restraint” is complied with.”

                If you, as an editor of a newspaper or magazine, would decide to reproduce these cartoons in your publication without considering the well-being of your staff, then by your selfish uncaring standards, then yes, that is what I am advocating. I don’t like it, but my obligations towards my staff would outweigh my inclination to publish the pictures.

                “I have no desire to live in a society without freedom of expression.”

                Nor do I, and not once have I stated or implied that we should.

                “I don’t want to live in a place where threat of violence means that newspapers don’t publish articles about mob crime. There is no difference between capitulating to organize crime in the face of knee-capping threats and capitulating to Islamist terrorists.”

                Really? Would you rather be knee-capped or gunned down by a man with a Kalashnikov? Do you think there’s no difference? The other thing to bear in mind, of course, is that mob violence tends to be directed at the “appropriate” person, whereas terrorism is, by definition, indiscriminate in who suffers.

                “Journalism is inherently risky business.”

                There are different levels of risk. Show me the journalist who has signed up to the threat of being gunned down at her desk for editorial decisions she has had no say in. Not to mention, of course, that MOST journalism is NOT inherently risky. I’m pretty sure my political commentator friend is unlikely to be shot dead for reporting what happens in the House of Commons. Nor, I suspect, do sports journalists travel round in fear of their lives. But yet they all work in the same building – do you suppose the terrorists would burst in and carefully select the right person to murder?

                “You are, apparently, confusing journalism with public relations. They aren’t the same.”

                And you are, apparently, confusing your (understandable) moral outrage with the notion that other people should be prepared to risk their lives, regardless of whether they feel the same as you.

                And to say you aren’t advocating anything is disengenuous.”

                I’m advocating common sense, I suppose.

                You seem to think that newspapers are staffed purely by journalists who have signed up for the threat of terrorism in the workplace. No cleaning staff, no catering staff, no reception staff – nope, just gung-ho journalists. Or do you just think that the cleaning staff should also risk death in the name of your indignation?

                It’s a shame that your feelings of outrage at the concept of censorship outweigh your consideration for those who have a right to protection.

                Tell you what, why don’t you put your money where your mouth is – tell your family and friends you’re going for a drive in the country, pack them in a minibus, cover it in pictures of Mohammed and take a leisurely drive around your nearest Muslim extremist community. I’m sure you’ll all be absolutely fine; and if not, you can always console yourself, as you watch your loved ones being brutally murdered, that they stood up for free speech on your behalf… even if they didn’t really want to.

                So here’s the golden question. Answer simply “Yes” or “No”:
                If you were the editor of a newspaper, would you publish the pictures tomorrow, knowing full well it could result in a terrorist attack on your establishment and major loss of life? Would you publish?

              2. “Nor do I, and not once have I stated or implied that we should [advocate a society without freedom of expression]”

                But this is exactly what you are doing when you advocate for repression of cartoons that are offensive to murderous religious extremists. I can see no way that you can honestly claim otherwise, despite your concern for the health and welfare of employees of publishing institutions.

                In answer to your question of whether I, as a publisher, would print offensive cartoons knowing that a terrorist attack might follow… Yes, I would. And I’d be damned sure to increase security, too.

                And thank you very much for saying that this exchange was like talking to a creationist. I’ll decline from further characterizing your position. Da Roolz.

        1. There’s that little word in there seems.

          I’m not hearing anyone in journalism speaking out in favor of censoring the covers. The opposite is what I hear/see.


          1. So most people *who have expressed an opinion* have expressed an opinion that is in keeping with the sense of outrage that is being felt across the world.

            That’s to be expected, but those who have expressed an opinion are a tiny fraction of the whole. Your comment feels a little like the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy. Although I accept that doesn’t necessarily make it wrong!

            I’m not in favour of censoring the covers in and of itself – I am a massive advocate of free speech and I’ve been choked with pride today at the expressions of solidarity and defiance I have seen. I just happen to believe that organisations have a duty of care to their employees, and that outweighs any other consideration.

            And you didn’t respond to my first point – it’s not just journalists who work at newspapers. So even if all the journalists thought the way you *seem* 😉 to think they do, does that make everyone else just “acceptable collateral damage?”

    2. As a former member of the commercial press, I find claims that editorial decisions at major news outlets are being made in deference to the safety of employees and not what management feel will increase circulation/ratings to be highly dubious.
      I don’t know that for sure, obviously but that would be antithetical to my experience.
      My experience was being asked to compromise my own personal health and safety routinely by management.

      1. Okay, well at least you have some experience of what you’re talking about!

        It had crossed my mind too that the editors may just not want to alienate a demographic. However I chose to think that they’re a little more responsible than that (maybe I’m wrong).

        In any event, the rationale behind the decision is almost irrelevant. Not publishing was the right thing to do. Sadly.

        I’m intrigued by your final comment – were you actually asked to put yourself in harm’s way? ie. expose yourself to the strong likelihood of violence in the quest to increase circulation?

        1. The only time I was exposed to violence at the request of one of my producers was very early in my career when I was asked to get locator shots of an abandoned house that had been burned down by an arsonist at 245am alone, in a notoriously crime ridden part of west palm beach. I got robbed of a bunch of gear, including the tape with the b-roll on it.
          But the far more common scenario was being put in a position where I had to drive a live truck, the most top heavy vehicles known to man, well above the speed limit on I-95 through a driving tropical rain to get back to the studio in time to file or face being suspended w/o pay. Things like that happened all the time.
          I worked in TV news for 7 years, only 3 of those as a photographer (industry parlance for video camera operators). In those three years I was involved in 5 traffic collisions and had to be treated for heat exhaustion twice. All while on the job.

          1. I hope the job had some perks! Did you take the job knowing these risky activities were likely?

            How would you have felt if, the day after 12 people were gunned down for publishing a cartoon, your boss decided to publish it? Would you have felt that was all part of the risk of journalism?

            1. The job had no perks at all. TV news is a terrible career path for anyone other than producers and on-air talent, and even for them it’s not that great anyomre.
              As far as would I have wanted my News Director and Executive Producer to republish those cartoons after the murder of 12 people, I would have insisted upon it. If for no other reason than when you have a terrible, but important job that doesn’t pay the bills and pins you to a schedule that makes it difficult to see your family/girlfriend and almost impossible to see your other friends, then your principles are about all you have and in that situation they become very important to you.
              I’m not obtuse to your point. I have always been less risk averse than most people and I would’ve understood completely if someone else had cited personal safety as a reason not to publish or to at least censor the image, but I would’ve been adamant in my support of their publications.

              1. It’s also important to note that almost nobody goes into the news business without grokking the vital importance of the freedom of the press. It might get beaten out of them by the corporate pimp owners, but you don’t go looking for jobs in the press because it’s just another job; you go looking for jobs there because you have at least some fantasy of being the next Ed Murrow or Woodward and Bernstein or Walter Cronkite or the like. You’re going to be aware that the first of the freedoms that our soldiers theoretically fight and die for is freedom of expression and the press, and that you have a duty to answer their dedication in kind.

                Again, the idealism doesn’t necessarily survive the many onslaughts it faces…but it’s probably universally there, in some degree of some remnant. They at least know what the fight is about, even if they don’t necessarily still think the fight is worth putting their own skins on the line for.


              2. Yeah, that’s pretty much it exactly.
                Even when you’ve passed a pint in your career when you know that the news is not objective, easily manipulated and devoid of any real journalistic acumen (basic fact checking is rarely done) you still hold fast to that principal.

              3. And I bet even the most cynical like to think that, if there was some sort of Nazi takeover of the government or the like, they’d be the ones staying in the broadcast booth telling people the real truth about the new dictatorship right up until the moment the stormtroopers took the station off the air. It’s only because it’s not that bad yet that they’re okay with playing along for the time being.


            2. Wanstronian you are such a git. Bobsguitarshop, that was a beautiful description of real working life. The kind we never get. That sounds horrendous! Heat exhaustion FFS! Bosses via working conditions have incredible control over us. That’s why there was a social revolution called the labor movement about 100 years ago with working conditions at it’s fore. But you Wanstronian, are completely uninterested in that stuff. You’re only interested in working conditions that involve jihadist murderers. This is an issue of convenience for your apologetics. Disgraceful.

              1. I totally disagree with you conn. Wanstronian raised a perfectly valid point which Bob and Ben debated without namecalling and insults.

                It’s a difficult point and I’m not sure which side I’d come down on – but I would certainly be mad if my employer chose to put me at risk without consulting me.

                Some journalists/reporters DO take great risks in the course of their job, as we know. But usually they’ve volunteered for it. I doubt if the average journalist with a family to support would willingly put his life at risk, any more than any other worker should be expected to, and that goes for all the other staff as well.

                If there’s a git around I don’t think it’s Wanstronian.

              2. This is a response to infiniteimprobabilit,
                Like Wanstronian you ignore the fact that Bobsguitarshop had a journalistic job where his life was put in danger, several times. And he had no choice about it.
                You both enjoy turning the question of publishing the cartoons or not into a “moral dilemma” but your comments indicate that you haven’t even grasped that 1)there are other ways in which news employees lives and health are put at risk. That are considered completely acceptable. 2) and, this is the burden of Bobsguitarshop’s posts on this, that none of the news outlets who didn’t publish the cartoons decided not to because they feel the cleaning staff doesn’t have the obligation to take risks that journalists do. They just were scared. So ran and hid.

              3. Okay, I give up.

                There are commenters on here that clearly think organisations such as newspapers and broadcasters have an obligation to publish these pictures in the name of free speech, regardless of the risk to their employees who may not hold the same views.

                To those people (and to Jerry, who clearly feels the same): I respectfully disagree.

                Further, I think it’s inflammatory and judgmental to label it “cowardice” – you’re judging organisations as if they were individuals, with responsibility only to themselves. The fact is that these organisations employ thousands of people, and have a responsibility for their safety and well-being.

                The argument that “journalism is a risky business” is hugely fallacious, a ridiculous straw man. Firstly, that’s lumping all levels of risk together. Secondly, different types of journalism have different levels of risk. And finally, it’s not just journalists who work at these organisations.

                By all means publish these pictures as individuals; if I had a blog I certainly would. But don’t pretend that corporations have no duty of care to their employees, or that everyone who works for those corporations feels the same way as you do and would advocate publication.

                Finally, to GBJames, who would publish these pictures and “step up security”: I wonder how you would feel if that security proved inadequate and you had to explain your decision to the victims’ families. “I decided to take a stand” might sound a bit hollow. Oh, and thank you for your “that’s your problem” comment – it’s an honour to take criticism from someone who has so obviously considered all the factors and has all the answers. That’s sarcasm, in case you missed it.

                Anyway, I’m done on this thread.

              4. Okay, tehre’s a potential slippery-slope fallacy here, but if not now, *when* should the media take a stand? When there are threats of violence against those who offend Islamic sensibilities by criticising Islamic states, or publishing pictures of “immodestly clothed” women, … ?

                Was Penguin right to publish _The Satanic Verses_ and put its employees !*and the general public*! working and shopping in its book shops at risk? (The shops did get police protection for a while.)


              5. There are commenters on here that clearly think organisations such as newspapers and broadcasters have an obligation to publish these pictures in the name of free speech, regardless of the risk to their employees who may not hold the same views.

                I haven’t seen anyone here state that a publication should post the pictures regardless of risk. For example, if there is a concrete threat directly against the organization, it is much easier to argue that they should not publish. Even in that case, there is room for discussion since there is still a burden of proof necessary to show that capitulating to terrorism decreases it.

                The argument that “journalism is a risky business” is hugely fallacious, a ridiculous straw man.

                See my previous post regarding Sam Harris’s quote about us all living in Israel. Living in a free society and not adhering to Sharia Law is risky business, given that there are people in this world who, given the opportunity, will kill anyone who disagrees with them. If we are going to discuss straw men, then your proposal for driving through a fundamentalist Islamic neighborhood with images of Mohammed plastered all over your car takes the cake. This would be egregiously stupid as well as dangerous in many parts of the world. This is not the same is standing in defiance against threats of murder if you exercise free speech. Regarding risk levels, this is a highly risky proposition with a great likelihood you’d wind up dead if you’re in an Islamic state whereas, as I previously pointed out, the risk of your building being attacked ranks somewhere in the same range as being struck by lightning.

                Do you have any examples where any submissive action short of converting to Islam satisfies these terrorists? As Benjamin said before, suppose everyone stops publishing the cartoons and the next demand is that we stop indulging in alcohol, lest they start blowing up bars. Bartenders and janitors didn’t sign up to take a stand against prohibition, so I suppose it’s best for safety’s sake that we just shut them all down…

              6. How would I feel? Bad, obviously. But we’re talking about the kind of world we want and are willing to live in. We pay for journalistic cowardice (oh!, there’s that unsightly word again!) with more fear and more violent intimidation, not less.

                “Anyway, I’m done on this thread.”

                And there was much rejoicing.

              7. @gbjames

                Kinda cowardly, isn’t it, to take a shot at him after he’s left?

              8. Thank you for calling me cowardly.

                He specifically directed a question at me. (“I wonder how you would feel…”) I responded. If you think that makes me a coward, so be it.

              9. infiniteimprobabilit wrote:

                I totally disagree with you conn. Wanstronian raised a perfectly valid point which Bob and Ben debated without namecalling and insults.

                I couldn’t agree more, ii!

                Wanstronian was expressing a valid sentiment in a pleasant manner. I was shocked to see so much vituperation in conn’s response(-s). Is this one of those sites where “winning” the conversation is the only goal? I hope not.

              10. “Wanstronian you are such a git. Bobsguitarshop, that was a beautiful description of real working life. The kind we never get. That sounds horrendous! Heat exhaustion FFS! Bosses via working conditions have incredible control over us. That’s why there was a social revolution called the labor movement about 100 years ago with working conditions at it’s fore.”

                If the boss’s responsibility to think of the safety & health of his/her workers isn’t Wanstronian’s point, I don’t know what is.

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