Charlie Hebdo Prepares For Violent Backlash

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France is now facing the prospect of a violent backlash following the publication of controversial Prophet Mohammed cartoons by the satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo showing the Prophet Mohammed naked.  Trying to head off a firestorm not only in the Muslim world but also within the large Muslim population living in France, French officials condemned the publication. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, for example, said that while he respects the right of free expression he sees “no point in such a provocation.”

Mindful of the violence against U.S. embassies and consulates which has swept the Muslim world in the wake of the anti-Muslim video produced in the United States, the French government is taking no chances. It will close twenty of its embassies in Muslim countries this Friday, in case the Friday prayers turn into an orgy of violence whipped up by fanatical imams.

The French magazine’s editor, Stephane Charbonnier, told reporters that the pictures will “shock those who will want to be shocked.”  He is deliberately poking a stick at a rattlesnake, not worried about the venomous consequences that will inevitably ensue.  He should be worried in light of the fact that the Paris offices of his magazine were firebombed last year after it lampooned the Prophet Mohammed on its front page.

However,  the increasing calls for restrictions on free speech as a result of such offensive cartoons or videos are far more offensive than the speech itself.  To be sure, there are limits. Speech that clearly crosses over the line from permissible provocative expression to direct incitement to imminent violence can be restricted.  But the exceptions to the inalienable right of individuals in a free society to express their point of view, no matter how offensive, must not be allowed to swallow the right itself. Emotional pain or hurt feelings are too subjective a standard to use in regulating speech.

No group can become the arbiter of what is or what is not acceptable speech based on whether it hurts their feelings or shows disrespect for their faith and beliefs.  Their threat of violence if they don’t get their way would give them a “heckler’s veto.” Instead, as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis advised, in one of his famous opinions back in 1927, “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”

The real danger coming out of the recent episodes of Prophet Mohammed caricatures is to give the Islamists more ammunition in their campaign to clamp down on speech they claim “defames” their religion and constitutes Islamophobia. They demand tolerance and respect for Islam, but in many countries with Muslim majorities there is no tolerance or respect for other faiths.  In some cases, churches, synagogues, Hindu temples etc. cannot even operate openly.

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  • Annika

    Obama had already signed an attack against free speech, it's called "Hate Speech Law" and he signed it at the U.N. on October 2009. I applaud the French paper but they're dwelling in dangerous territory because France has its own Hate Speech Law. Last year French journalist Eric Zemmour was charged & convicted for the words he used. America and Israel are the only 2 countries where freedom of speech still exist, or at least it did, prior to baffoon -0- dragging a filmmaker out of his home at midnight.

  • mgoldberg

    Ban Ki Moon should be forced to see the thousands of youtube videos of imams calling jews devils, snakes, sons of apes and monkeys, and such as the viral TV presentation of 2005' that was viewed around the arab world, showing in that 'Ramadan' TV special series, religious jews, planning to and then killing a non jewish boy, to use his blood for their passover matzah. I guess that 'interpretation' by Islam according to muslims is permissible even though it's an utterly false cacophony of lies emblematic of vicious muslim jew hatred and worse- their own lust for blood slaughtering as the highest form of honoring their allah. No? Why doesn't the media show that sludge of vicious images, slander and hatred, amongst the thousands of others videos texts and teachings of 'normative' Islam?
    In fact let's go one further: Mohammed was the instigator of lying about the other religions, claiming they kept him out of their books and their religious learned kept him and his name out of their texts. That was of course after he spent the first 13 yrs as a failed preacher, extolling their virtues in recording their texts.
    Oh wait…. telling the facts and truth about Mohammed and Islam is the new hate speech.

    • Jimi Belton

      Mr. Goldberg, thanks for this accurate statement…..i often wonder why G-d gave these peoples the wealth of the world [Oil], and the small nation of Israel a lot of desert sand…..There is a reason in HIS great scheme of things….But lets just know that there is a Higher reason for all this Islamic turmoil…..Satan the great deceiver has been loosed on this earth to further HIS great purpose….And these insane islamist is his, Satan`s, vessel….May the Savior of Israel and His people hurry back to us…….jbk

  • zionit

    'Direct incitement'…? Isn't that what they say about Assanges' 'assault' victims? Honestly, Muslims, Jews, Christians, anybody…who would you want as your room-mate? Christ? Moses? Krishna? Buddha? ……or Mohammed?

  • tagalog

    I've surfed the net repeatedly in order to see the Charlie Hebdo cartoon in question. I can't find any site where the people who run it have the guts to show the item. I haven't even found a website that is willing to provide a link to it. So much for freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the First Amendment.

    I guess the terrorists have won. We are NOT continuing our Western way of life as it was before 9/11; we are now, as far as I can tell, on record as being terror-fied.

  • Mrs. Pharaoh

    You can find the pictures of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons at Bare Naked Islam. She's got the guts!
    http://www.barenakedislam.com

    • tagalog

      "Bare Naked Islam." Well, kudos to them for having more guts than anyone else on the internet including Fox News, Conservative News Daily, NBC, CBS, ABC News, CNN, or anyone else. May the Christian God bless them and keep them from harm.

      Maybe now we will see an end to people making the empty claim, "I may not agree with what you say but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." Now we know what they'll do, and it's not to the death.

      I also liked the story about the woman who was covered up to her forehead kicking the butt of the goon who was giving her the business for not being covered as much as he wanted her to be.

      • GROUNDPATROL

        ISLAM WANTS TO BE IN CONTROL OF THE WORLD AND WILL BE IF EVERY BODY RUNS AROUND PANDERING TO THEM.THEY ARE NOTHING MORE THAN MURDRERS GIVEN LICENSE TO KILL BY THE SCARED LEADERS OF OUR WORLD

    • tagalog

      "It isn't Islamophobia when they're really trying to kill you." Touche and LOL.

  • Robert

    I hope that this does come to trial in the world court, and gets more and more exposure. If it does, the whole world will see that what is called "blasphemy' is simply what it say in the koran, In the koran and the hadiths, is where the 'offensive" and "derogatory' passages are clearly and repeatedly expressed. This is good because light would be shed on the ugly purpose of this death cult. It will really illuminate the foundation for all the people who CANNOT and NEVER have read the koran, and had just been going on by what corrupt imams are telling them. LET THE TRIALS BEGIN IN EVERY COUNTRY! Lets see if the muzzys are ready to have their faith examined(which is a crime by islam), because to have these trials is in itself blasphemous

    • Kufar Dawg

      Geert Wilder's defense that he was merely telling the truth about islam was no defense in the Netherlands when he was arrested and charged with hate speech, or some similar BS.

    • Sunbeam

      We've to start somewhere to get things moving. We've to pursue it, each and everyone of us. Or are we going to sit back and do nothing. I hope leaders would come forward and initiate it, at least to start the ball rolling. While we may still have some time for this sort of preparation, time will not continue to wait upon us to work or to act and get things done. The problem here is Americans have been enjoying life for far too long, making money, and were too complacent now to sacrifice their time for this. They're no nationality if they do. Don't they realize what their nation is facing now? Unless Americans wake up, THEY ARE GOING TO REGRET THIS FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.

  • Stuart Parsons

    Why should anyone want to offend Islam ? Muhammad was the example of perfection. I know because a Muslim told me.

  • Jimi Belton

    I got to run, and make me a video of a red neck imam, sitting on the popper and he rips a few pages out of his koran to clean his rear….lol……..I am not afraid of these 2nd grade dropouts…

  • RUI

    Everybody living in New York must take the challange and assemble outside that temple of doom AKA the United Nations. Protest having your god given birthright from being cheated away from you. Bring as many people as you can, to show those petty imbeciles that we don't share their "common values" and woe betide them if they dare to take it away from us.
    Freedom of speech is meant to protect offensive speech, as it is the only one that needs protecting. PC or polite speech is in no danger from being banned.
    We are free Men, we have fought and bled for freedom for generations. How dare they come along and revisit our History and our values without our consultation or consent? Next thing you know, they'll be telling us "we are not free, we WERE never free and so shall it be forever more".
    This junta, I mean, administration has failed spectacularly the smell test. If it smells like fascism, looks like fascism and feels like fascism, then hey… I CAN believe it's not butter!

    • Sunbeam

      How very right you are. We'd to do something before they proceed to drown our free speech. Obama is the worst President ever to have been elected. He is a traitor, a betrayal and so is Hilary Clinton and the rest of his Congress Men. We need to assemble ourselves now to protest heavily the way our freedom of speech is being treated by our leaders. Obama is no American and he should be thrown out. It is dangerous to have him for another four years. He must learn his lesson or America will not forgive him.

  • Ghostwriter

    I'm sorry to say this but the film that the Muslims were rioting about doesn't make their religion look bad. They're doing a great job all on their own by all the violence that's been going on.

    • Sunbeam

      I agree. I don't see why they should caused such a big commotion such as like this.

  • jemaasjr

    The thing about Islam is that at its core it is basically a political system. Not offending Islam is the functional equivalent of picking out a political party and saying that it can not be offended, and then also, allowing the members of that party to be the ones who get to decide when they are offended. The net outcome in either case would be to shut down political speech, and so, terminate democracy.

  • Khushi

    Hats off to Charlie Hebdo.
    Inspite of being fire-bombed, they are courageous enough to print new mohammed cartoons.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    If the UN would ban Hate Speech, the Koran would be banned.