Dhimmitude and Cowardice at Time

Bruce Bawer is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center and the author of “While Europe Slept” and “Surrender.” His book "The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind" is just out from Broadside / Harper Collins.


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Crumley was quick to point out that this wasn’t Charlie Hebdo’s first anti-Muslim offense.  In 2007 it reprinted the Danish Muhammed cartoons.  Crumley makes it clear he’s not crazy about those cartoons either, for they, too, wereintended” to “produc[e] outrage.”  He rejects the claim that the cartoons were an effort to stand up for free speech, for “that right no longer needs to be proved” – even though a couple of sentences later he acknowledges that Charlie Hebdo was taken to court for running the cartoons, hardly an example of a society in which the right to freedom of speech is as securely established as Crumley would suggest.  Crumley described Charlie Hebdo as exacerbatingvery real Islamophobic attitudes spreading throughout” French society, attitudes that have left Muslims “feeling stigmatized and singled out for discriminatory treatment.”

There ensued the obligatory couple of sentences in which the author grudgingly admits that “intimidation and violence must be condemned and combated for whatever reason they’re committed.”  But it was followed hard upon by the now all too familiar insistence that “members of…free societies have to exercise a minimum of intelligence, calculation, civility and decency in practicing their rights and liberties.”  Crumley elaborated:

Defending freedom of expression in the face of oppression is one thing; insisting on the right to be obnoxious and offensive just because you can is infantile. Baiting extremists isn’t bravely defiant when your manner of doing so is more significant in offending millions of moderate people as well. And within a climate where violent response—however illegitimate—is a real risk, taking a goading stand on a principle virtually no one contests is worse than pointless: it’s pointlessly all about you.

In his final paragraph Crumley spelled out the point he’d essentially been making all along: that the Islam issue of Charlie Hebdo is morally equivalent to the firebombing of the magazine’s offices:

So, yeah, the violence inflicted upon Charlie Hebdo was outrageous, unacceptable, condemnable, and illegal. But apart from the “illegal” bit, Charlie Hebdo‘s current edition is all of the above, too.

The title of Crumley’s piece was “Firebombed French Paper Is No Free-Speech Martyr.”  But that wasn’t its original title.  As the URL indicates, it was originally entitled “Firebombed French Paper a Victim of Islamists or Its Own Obnoxious Islamophobia?” – an explicit affirmation that, in the view of Bruce Crumley, Charlie Hebdo, indeed, had it coming, as (presumably) does anyone who dares to joke about the religion of peace.

Reading Crumley’s quite fantastical screed, I was reminded of something that British comedian Rowan Atkinson (“Mr. Bean”) wrote in a letter to the London Times ten years ago, in response to proposed British laws against inciting religious hatred.  “Having spent a substantial part of my career parodying religious figures from my own Christian background,” Atkinson wrote, “I am aghast at the notion that it could, in effect, be made illegal to imply ridicule of a religion or to lampoon religious figures.”  If you tell a bad joke, Atkinson went on, “you should be ridiculed and reviled.  [But] the idea that you could be prosecuted for [it] is quite fantastic.”  Let alone, one might add, firebombed.

The heartening thing about Crumley’s article is that it occasioned dozens of readers comments which made it clear that sanity and courage do still exist in some parts of the Western world, if not at Time.

Either freedom of speech covers unpopular, outrageous speech or it is nothing.”

*  “If the KKK had firebombed a magazine that lampooned Southern racists, would that be the fault of the impudent magazine writers?”

*  “Let me get this right–whenever I take offense at a newspaper, magazine, radio or television program, etc. etc.–I now have carte blanche to firebomb their headquarters? Does the writer then agree that Comedy Central has something coming to it due to South Park? Jon Stewart? HBO and Bill Maher? Come to think of it, Time magazine has been quite annoying lately. Hmmm. . . . .”

*  “Why don’t you publish an editorial about how women who wear short skirts are asking for rape while you’re at it?”

*  “Free speech means free speech. Period. You don’t get to be the arbiter of who is speaking acceptably and who isn’t. Who the hell are you?”

*  “Mr Crumley very clearly holds Muslims to a lower standard than virtually every other group of people on earth – had this been about a Christian extremist group burning some parody magazine’s offices for drawing Jesus, we all know that this article would not have been written….He is, in effect, saying something like ‘we can’t expect these barbarians to behave like rational people, and should curtail freedoms that are the basis of our nation out of fear of setting them off.’”

*  “I get it. We can have freedom of expression as long as we do not exercise it.”

*  “Let me get this straight. You can ridicule and stigmatize whoever you want except those who will react violently? Aren’t you just giving license to these kinds of reactions and legitimizing them?”

Apropos of Crumley’s insistence that “members of…free societies have to exercise a minimum of intelligence, calculation, civility and decency in practicing their rights and liberties,” one reader asked, quite reasonably:

And if they don’t[,] what?  They deserve violence?  The government should shut them down and impose these speech codes on them?  Both of these?

Be clear, state what you’re trying so hard not to say. Make your call for either fascist government control of speech, or violence as discourse…or try to explain why you’re making both these claims and backing off them multiple times in this article.

The problem with Crumley’s piece, of course, is that he is not just some isolated jerk.  There is a reason why somebody like him has secured a position as Paris editor for a world-famous newsweekly (even if it is one, as many readers pointed out, that in recent years has lost most of its luster as well as most of its subscribers). Crumley has a job with Time because he’s drunk the cultural-elite Kool-Aid and is dutifully spitting it back out in our faces.  He’s embraced the post-9/11 Western establishment dogma about Islam and freedom of expression and has made it thoroughly clear that he is not prepared to breathe a single unorthodox word.  What he is serving up in his disgraceful article – which is utterly, breathtakingly bereft of even the slightest understanding of the West’s Enlightenment heritage or of his own obligation, as citizen and writer and responsible adult, to defend that heritage – is nothing less than a perfect example of pure, unadulterated appeasement, a readiness to place limits on the very freedom of speech that allows him to spew his nonsense in order to placate a very specific minority who are prepared to respond to certain exercises of free speech with violence and mayhem.  It is, alas, no surprise, in 2011, to see such moral bankruptcy on display in a publication like Time, but to continue to come across articles like this year after year, when it is so increasingly obvious where all of this cravenness and cowardice is leading us, is still deeply depressing.

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  • PatriotX

    Islam Untouchable

    This article was dead steel on target. “ISLAM UNTOUCHABLE!!!!”, seems to be the theme that’s forced down the throats of American the American people ever since 9-11. You could also see the same thing coming before with all the liberal-progressive thinking that was on the rise. Like a parellel universe with the reverse logic mentality of “punish the victim and appease to the criminal” we’ve backed ourselves into a serious corner. We have a choice to either turn around and bloody the nose of our current bully or continue to be cowed by him. We can either fight or damn all of our futures and those of our kids to the submission of this ideology.

    You can see this type of approach by criminal organizations all throughout the history of mankind. Jackasses, like the ones who wrote that article in Time Magazine, send out what seems to be a subliminal message of “Muslims are not responsible for what happens to you if you insult them”. This same type of message is broadcasted daily to all of us. Remember Terry Jones and the infamous Westboro Baptists (not a fan of either)? Terry Jones could have burned a Hindu idol, a statue of Buddha, the dead sea scrolls, the tora or a bible and not a word would have been said about it by Time or any of our lame stream media. Westboro baptists can protest at the funerals of those who have died for their right to protest and yell hateful vile comments at the mourning families, yet Terry is arrested for protesting in front of a mosque in Dearborn…hmmmm? Now, it could be argued that it was out of concern for his own safety but that too, raises an issue. You have to protect someone from protesting in front of a mosque? I guess freedom of speech only applies to those who want to protest against anything other than “UNTOUCHABLE ISLAM!!!” What’s wrong with this picture? I hear daily, blasephemous, anti-Christian, anti-semitic garbage from every comedian and celebraty and, as usual, not a so much as a hard look from newspapers like Time or news media like CNN yet if someone were to blaspheme Muhammad the pedophile, I’m sure it would receive world wide coverage. I especially find it amusing that these same news media reporters, who condemn those who have a SPINE to tell the truth about Islam, for inciting violence receive no blame at all. If it wasn’t for the fact that they broadcasted this all over the world to every lunatic extremist knucklehead, there would be no outrage. If they were so concerned about the spreading hatred, misunderstandings and apprehension about their Islamic allies, THEY WOULDN’T HELP SPREAD IT BY BROADCASTING IT!!! I’ve often said if it wasn’t for reporters their would be no terrorism.

    This sort of, journalistic jihad, is not something that is being forced on us liberal-progressives are willing doing it all by themselves. They are giving credibility and justification to these thugs who firebomb buisness establishments because, “waaaahhhh me don’t like you’re message!!!”. If your’e going to legitimize this, why not legitmize or justify every other terrorist incident before to include the Islamic crusades that everyone avoids covering in our indoctrination centers…..eh…uh…I”m sorry, school curriculums across the nation. They seem to have no problem covering the Christian crusades.

    This type of reverse logic just doesn’t apply to Islam. We as nation have become appeasers of evil. I still can’t believe that my son has to avoid wearing a red shirt to school because of some punk thug local gang members who use that color. Can we get any more lame!!!? Instead of pressuring the criminals to cease their activities our justice system, law enforcement and schools find it much more easier and convenient to restrict the freedoms of law abiding citizens. This is just one more avenue that liberal-progressive thinking opens the gateway for chaos and evil with the defeatist attitude of forcing those to adjust to the lifestyles of criminals instead of confronting the criminal. This sort of thinking have reached the furthest extremities of our society as a whole. The OWS mob of clowns have become so much of a nuisance, that some establishments and buisnesses have laid off employees because of all the unrest. Truly, truly, INFURIATING!!!!!

    Liberal cowardice is destroying us as a nation and as human beings.

    • Ken

      I could not have said it better!!! Bravo!!!

    • Free4500

      Insulting, mocking, degrading Islam or any other religion or group is a perfect test to see if that group is compatible with modern western values and laws. The response of Islam with death fatwas, "lawfare", murder, riots, church burnings, beheadings, is absolute PROOF that Islam is NOT compatible with Western society in any form. Muslims should not be allowed into ANY western country unless they somehow can certify they are real "Modern Muslims" who interpret the peaceful parts of the Koran in accordance with modern western principles, laws and values.
      The violent reaction of Muslims to insults should be taken, not as something really classy or noble, BUT…as a Warning Bell that this group is very, very dangerous. Their demands will only escalate. Today, one murder, one firebombing for a mere insult. What about in 5 or 10 or 20 years, when their huge families out breed the natives and then what? Firebombings of the homes of women that don't wear the Hijab? Or rape as is already done in Sweden and elsewhere? The Western world suffers from what may be a fatal case of Senile Liberalism. Our Elite have become so soft and foolish that the whole civilization will fall. Our "Elites" are our worst enemies. Their stupidity has almost guaranteed that our grand children (if we have any) will live under dictatorship.

  • radicalconservative

    We have no Time or Newsweek or US News and World Reports at any of our offices. All subscriptions were cancelled several years ago. Circulation plummets, but the MSM is impervious to market forces. Odd.

    • aspacia

      Yes, I too cancelled them five years ago.

      • myohmy

        I cancelled Time in 1980 when they chose the Ayatollah Khomeini as The Time "Man of the Year" and plastered his picture on their cover. Sure, the man who Carter allowed to return to Iran and seize all their OPEC assets to fund terrorism and then overrun our embassy and hold our troops hostage 444 days.

        • aspacia

          During the 1930's, they put Hitler's picture on the cover too. This does not bother me because they pick who is creating a huge influence. What caused me to change was there seditious lies about Wbya and Cheney. I did not vote for for them, but Time's libels were outrageous.

  • http://satanstrinity.com C"H"Martel

    My book, "Satan's Trinity: Hitler, Stalin & Muhammad, is available at http://satanstrinity.wordpress.com/ For the first time in history "HSM" appear together on a book cover. The idea behind the book is to make headway against the ludicrous idea that Muhammad should be conjoined with any religious leader/founder. This book uses the specific names of Hitler and Stalin to efficiently identify the nature of Muhammad and by extension Islam. It compares the personalities and approach of each man to such categories as; war, peace, sex, torture, slavery, women, their respective childhoods and deaths, the critical affects of geography and timing, each man’s anti-social and narcissistic personalities. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=CHMar

  • Spider

    Who cares what Time magaine thinks. They are headed for total irrevelency for reasons which this article points out very clearly. I haven't read the magazine in years since I realized it was filled with nothing but crap. They write this kind of nonsensical contrarian garbage just to get attention and make controversies out of nothing. I liken them to childish celebrities whos antics are devised just to get publicity and exposure.

  • StephenD

    Great job with this Mr. Bawer. When these "Rational" arguments are posited it is refreshing to hear a clear voice refute them. Thank you.

  • Raymond in DC

    "Charlie Hebdo practices equal-opportunity parody, and over the years has cracked its share of jokes at the expense of Christians, Jews, and pretty much everybody else."
    "The Simpsons has been making jokes about every aspect of American culture for two decades."

    Had Bawer not mentioned The Simpsons I would have, but he fails to note that The Simpsons has also avoided subjecting Muslims to the same critical humor everyone else gets. This was noted in a feature in Moment Magazine a few years ago called "Are the Simpsons Jewish?" in which the writers and creators admit to fearing a violent response if they did so.

    Muslims do appear in a single episode as new neighbors to the Simpsons. Homer discovers a cache of explosives in their garage. Seeing something, he says something, raising suspicions of terrorism. In the end, those suspicions were baseless as the Muslim father is … a demolition engineer, so *of course* he'd keep explosives at home! And Homer? Well, after himself setting off those explosives, he's deemed not just a lovable dolt any more but a prejudiced one. This is what happens when humorists go full dhimmi.

  • myohmy

    Wait a minute now….. I thought it was only "radical islam" we had to fear. But now we're being told when someone offends any pious, devout muslim's messenger or quran these so called "moderate muslims" have the right to firebomb or butcher and murder us??? It's to be expected? It's our own fault? After all, what's a muslim to do when someone insults his holy book or his holy messenger? OMG… the world has gone stark raving mad on us. We have leaders and important media morons telling us this is normal behavior and should be expected?? My ass it should. Islam is no religion, it's an evil and murderous cult that deserves to be exposed at every opportunity. And they give us countless opportunities to expose their savagery and uncivilized rules. F islam and everyone who practices it,.

  • jacob

    With all due respect to everybody, I guess what is happening to the whole Western
    world is that they are scared sht..less scared of Muslims…because THEY DO
    DELIVER and they are not full of hot air as WE are

    If the firebombing of Charlie Hebdo would have been answered by doing the same
    to a Muslim center, a mosque or the likes, then another song would have been
    sung but if the response is what has been reported and this crummy reporter of
    this other abject and rotten piece of media TIME is the same all over, it surprises
    me Musmims haven't overrun already the "govmts" of the European countries and
    even ours, they way they are working at right under our noses and our accursed
    "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS" lets them get away even with murder

    • Arius

      The way it's going in Europe the muzzies will take over in Europe.

  • Brujo Blanco

    Religion inspired violence should not be tolerated in any fashion anywhere in the world. It is truly tragic when there is this type of violence. It is apparent that there is a tendency to not pass any negative judgment on Muslims in Europe when they do vioence in the name of Allah. All people need to answer for violence regardless of rifious background. I for one have heard enough of blaming victims for being the target of violence.

  • BS77

    Talk about dhimmis….did you see where the Cambridge MASS school district made the EID Muslim holiday a day off for all the students and teachers? Liberals are clueless idiots compulsively pushing the PC agenda past all rational limits.

    • rulieg

      wasn't it in Mass. also that a grade-school class was taken to a mosque and the kids–the boys only of course–participated in the worship? all without letting the parents know beforehand?

      yes, this world is going crazy…

  • macdaddy31

    I guess I would have the attitude … fine, you can't accept a society that allows free speech and equal opportunity fun-making, then get out and we will no longer let others of your mind in. You are incompatible with our society. You cannot have it both ways – assimilate to our cultural norms to a necessary degree or don't stay or come here. Going forward we will no longer accept you and we will no longer poke fun at you.

  • Choi

    The DAMNED LEFT and "Political Correctness".
    WHAT is "politically correct" about siding with Freedom's ENEMIES??!
    TRUE Political CORRECTNESS would be the opposite and always was until these LEFTY FREAKS' Hatred for America,Israel,and Western Freedom & Democracy was DEEMED,by the TREASONOUS LEFTY MEDIA on behalf of their IslamoNazi MASTERS,to be "PC".
    Up=Down in their world.

  • tagalog

    Why in the name of Heaven would Muslims in France “feel discriminated against and unwelcome?” What could it be that makes them feel that way?

    • Arius

      …their religion (so-called)…

  • myohmy

    The next time somebody tells you the vast majority of muslims are peace loving and moderate tell them to ask a "moderate muslim" what should happen to a person who insults islam, insults their messenger mohammed, makes jokes about mohammed, or what should happen to a muslim that rejects islam and joins a different religion? That's when the stoning, burning, and butchering begins EVEN FOR "MODERATE" MUSLIMS. So much for that lie. Then ask where in the quran is the moderate muslim promised paradise? NOT. Moderate muslims are not promised any reward like jihadis and martyrs are.

  • pagegl

    Crumley kind of makes Robert Spenser's case. I'm pretty sure that wasn't his intent, but that is the end effect.

  • No Dhimmi Tool

    Never have I been so appalled to be a liberal in all my life. These absolute idiots are frankly depraved, utterly lacking in morals.

    So, it's okay to bomb and terrorize, but it's not okay to stand up to the terrorism and bullying?

    What a disgrace.

    Maybe somebody should firebomb TIME – after all, they just offended millions of people who don't want to live in fear of Muslim nutjobs.

  • mrbean

    Get this book: Islam and Dhimitude: Where Civilizations Collide (Hardcover)
    Bat Ye'or, historian of the dhimmi (non-Muslim) peoples under Islam, has written a blockbuster. This is essential reading for anyone interested in Western-Muslim relations in the new century. It debunks a thousand myths, and takes the mask of a whole world of evidence which has previously been shut tight to outside inspection.

    • Arius

      I would recommend "Europe, Globalization, and the Coming Universal Caliphate" by Bat Ye'or as helping to understand the not so visible networks behind the dhimmi thinking in the Time article on the firebombing of the French newspaper.

  • Andy Gill

    Great, great article. Crumley symbolizes everything that's wrong with the liberal elite. Time should sack the dribbling emasculated idiot.

  • Ghostwriter

    Idiocy,thy name is Bob Crumley.

  • PhillipGaley

    Huh, . . . whadya know; I don't know where there is a subscription for Time, . . . maybe a library, somewhere, . . .