Last week, the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo ran with this cover:
That’s “guest editor” Muhammad saying “100 lashes if you don’t die laughing!”
For that, Hebdo‘s offices were firebombed, their website was hacked (with messages like “No God but Allah”), and protests erupted across Europe. Very likely the courtesy of extremist representatives from the “religion of peace.”
A week has gone by and the newspaper is now operating out of another office. They haven’t lost their edge, though. First, they “defended ‘the freedom to poke fun’ in [a] four-page supplement… wrapped around copies of the left-wing daily Liberatio.” That happened one day after the bombing.
And here’s their cover for this week’s issue:
I love that cover, but I think a reissue of the previous edition would’ve worked just as well. If extremists are going to resort to violence, the solution is to keep the images coming until they become immune to them. Remind all Muslims that freedom of the press doesn’t mean “you can criticize everything except Islam.” And even if moderate Muslims oppose the violence, they ought to say that others are welcome to draw Muhammad as they wish even if they themselves can’t/won’t do it. Their faith may have rules about not drawing images of Muhammad, but the rest of us are under no obligation to abide by them.
The more anyone complains about it, the more we need to push back until criticism of all faiths is equally accepted. (We’d have to take the punches right back, but I don’t know any atheists who have a problem with that. Bring it.)
The last thing we want to see is anyone intimidated into publishing this image instead: