Freedom tested in France 0

Reuters reports:

A French magazine ridiculed the Prophet Mohammad on Wednesday by portraying him naked in cartoons, threatening to fuel the anger of Muslims around the world who are already incensed by a film depiction of him as a lecherous fool.

A video film made by a Californian Coptic Christian which mocks  Muhammad and which the Obama administration is absurdly blaming for the Islamic world going up in flames and al-Qaeda murdering a US ambassador in Libya.

The drawings in satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo risked exacerbating a crisis that has seen the storming of U.S. and other Western embassies, the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and a deadly suicide bombing in Afghanistan.

Riot police were deployed to protect the magazine’s Paris offices after it hit the news stands with a cover showing an Orthodox Jew pushing the turbaned figure of Mohammad in a wheelchair.

On the inside pages, several caricatures of the Prophet showed him naked. One, entitled “Mohammad: a star is born”, depicted a bearded figure crouching over to display his buttocks and genitals.

The French government … had urged the weekly not to print the cartoons

“We have the impression that it’s officially allowed for Charlie Hebdo to attack the Catholic far-right but we cannot poke fun at fundamental Islamists,” said editor Stephane Charbonnier, who drew the front-page cartoon.

“It shows the climate – everyone is driven by fear, and that is exactly what this small handful of extremists who do not represent anyone want – to make everyone afraid, to shut us all in a cave,” he told Reuters.

We like what Charlie Hebdo have done (though we don’t think the cartoons are great). We applaud their courage. But  – only a “small handful of extremists”? Are most of the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world serenely tolerant of criticism?

One cartoon, in reference to the scandal over a French magazine’s decision to publish topless photos of the wife of Britain’s Prince William, showed a topless, bearded character with the caption: “Riots in Arab countries after photos of Mrs. Mohammad are published.”

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius criticized the magazine’s move as a provocation.

So much for the Liberté part of the French national motto, Liberté, égalité, fraternité!

“We saw what happened last week in Libya and in other countries such as Afghanistan,” Fabius told a regular government news conference. “We have to call on all to behave responsibly.”

Except Muslims. They can behave as irresponsibly as they like. Because the French government is afraid of them.

Charlie Hebdo has a long reputation for being provocative. Its Paris offices were firebombed last November after it published a mocking caricature of Mohammad, and Charbonnier has been under police guard ever since. …

The French Muslim Council, the main body representing Muslims in France, accused Charlie Hebdo of firing up anti-Muslim sentiment at a sensitive time.

“The CFCM is profoundly worried by this irresponsible act, which in such a fraught climate risks further exacerbating tensions and sparking damaging reactions,” it said.

It is the expression of opinion that must be stopped, you see, not the “damaging reactions”.

Well, that may not be entirely fair:

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the authorities had rejected a request to hold a march against the Mohammad film in Paris.

We wait to see what will happen to the Charlie Hebdo offices, and to Stephane Charbonnier. We hope for his safety. But the savage war of Islam against the rest of us will go on until the West uses all its weapons, of law, argument, wealth, political and military power, and mockery to crush the murderous Muslim hordes storming out of the Dark Ages.

 

(Charlie Hebdo cover cartoon via Creeping Sharia, where you can see the rest of them – here.)