A Satire Draws Fire

Mark Tapson, a Hollywood-based writer and screenwriter, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He focuses on the politics of popular culture.


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But so far French officials are coming to the magazine’s defense: “Freedom of expression is an inalienable right in our democracy and all attacks on the freedom of the press must be condemned with the greatest firmness,” Prime Minister François Fillon said in a statement.Presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon called the attack “repulsive” and insisted that “Blasphemy doesn’t exist as a crime. This is the French Republic. That’s the law.” Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, Minister of Economy, noted correctly that “Those who did this designate themselves as enemies of democracy… You don’t negotiate the freedom of the press with bombs,” she continued, and then added rather comically that “If you are not happy with what’s in a newspaper, you take it to court.”

The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) did just that in 2007, taking Charlie Hebdo to court over the Danish cartoons, but lost. As for the magazine’s most recent offense against Islam, CFCM head Mohammed Moussaoui asserted that his organization deplores “the very mocking tone of the paper toward Islam and its prophet but reaffirms with force its total opposition to all acts and all forms of violence.”

The Paris firebombing comes in the wake of a similar assault just last month on a Tunisian television station for airing the “blasphemous” film Persepolis, which sent hundreds of offended Tunisians on a rampage. The station received death threats and the owner’s home was attacked at night by around a hundred people hurling firebombs.

The Charlie Hebdo firebombing also echoes another Islamic attack on free speech from 2008. Random House, one of the largest publishing houses in the world, rescinded an offer to publish The Jewel of Medina, an erotic novel about Mohammed and his child bride Aisha, after being warned by a scholarly consultant that many Muslims would almost certainly react violently. The consultant called it correctly: eventually, when a small British press daringly picked up the novel, the publisher’s house was firebombed.

And of course there is the South Park controversy in which the Comedy Central show’s creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were targeted by a not-so-subtle threat from Zachary “Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee” Chesser, the leader of a small New York-based group of fanatics at RevolutionMuslim.com. Chesser found the fearless satirists guilty of an insulting depiction of Mohammed as someone who – wait for it – cannot be depicted without incurring death threats. “As Muslims,” Chesser said, “we do not define speech which has no place in a moral society as ‘free speech.’” Indeed, he said, free speech “is not a value that the Muslims share with America as a whole.”

And lest we forget, as the media have: Molly Norris, the Seattle artist who responded to the South Park incident by proposing an “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day,” was pronounced the target of a death fatwa by recently obliterated Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. She is currently living in hiding.

But Charbonnier remains defiant:

There is no question of giving in… If we can poke fun at everything in France, if we can talk about anything in France apart from Islam or the consequences of Islamism, that is annoying.

It’s worse than annoying – it’s the beginning of the end of free speech.

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  • Ken

    The fanatics want a one-way street where they can bash other religions and groups while keeping theirs from ever having to be used in satire or other articles where it is "abused". This will not change until the age of obscene political correctness ends. And, last time I checked, not everyone is subject to Sharia Law, so they are not bound by its rules.

  • PatriotX

    Once again, I feel the almost irresitable urge to draw a picture of this dude’s face on a donkey and fly it like a kite over Mecca. I guess it’s just that dark rebel surfacing again.

    I wonder what would happen if all of those who are tired of this nonsense just formed an alliance and spread a virus all throughout the world wide web, of Muhammad’s picture plastered on a sex offender’s list of pedophiles. I mean, just stand up and say, “YEA JACKASS I DID IT, ….WELL WHAT?….WHAT?…..YEA…WE ALL DID IT….WHAT?!!!!” It reminds me of grade school when some wannabe gangster jumped all bad and said “you better not do it” and of course this was the green light for everyone to do what ticked him off.

    I bet if people just stood their ground and spoke out against it they would just back up and check themselves. The threat of violence like this in the U.S. is probably unlikely because of all the gun wielding citizens with not so friendly attitudes towards Muslims at the moment. They use other methods like our pathetic justice system and American hating, left leaning, socialist reporters to help them impose their culture and criminalize those who speak out against it.

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

    in celebration of free speech:
    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

  • pagegl

    It really is time for another "Draw a cartoon of Mohammed" campaign.

  • Ghostwriter

    That's no way for Islam to earn respect among anyone. If you can't even laugh at yourself without burning something down,then there's something wrong with you.

  • stuart Parsons

    If Muslims would take the trouble to read THEIR OWN source material, the Quran, Sunnah and Sirahs of the 'Prophet', they would learn their self-proclaimed 'Prophet and Messenger' actually murdered all who spoke out against him and with the support of his deluded booty and sex motivated followers, he lied, plotted, tortured, killed, robbed, ransomed and raped his way to total political and religious power.

    Islam is a far, far, far greater threat to the well-being of mankind than Fascism and Communism ever were.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Some people just can't take a joke………………….blew up the paper, good grief,
    Islam on how to win friends and influence people…………………..William

  • steven l

    Violence the exclusive prerogative of Mohamed and his ilks.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    You don’t negotiate the freedom of the press with bombs,” she continued, and then added rather comically that “If you are not happy with what’s in a newspaper, you take it to court.”

    Like the mainstream orthodox Muslims that live in France's 758 Muslim no-zones ruled by Sharia as fifth columns respects the manmade laws of France.

    The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) did just that in 2007, taking Charlie Hebdo to court over the Danish cartoons, but lost. As for the magazine’s most recent offense against Islam, CFCM head Mohammed Moussaoui asserted that his organization deplores “the very mocking tone of the paper toward Islam and its prophet but reaffirms with force its total opposition to all acts and all forms of violence.”

    How about all non-violent stealth and deceptive forms of jihad though, such as mass Muslim immigration to France for the purpose of demographic conquest?