Muslim Author Maajid Nawaz’ Journey From Recruiter of Extremists to Impassioned Peacemaker

A year ago, ex-radical Muslim Maajid Nawaz found himself in the crosshairs of some of his brethren over what is possibly the most innocuous Mohammed cartoon ever drawn — seen in this Tweet:

I wrote about the ridiculous affair here.

One reason why I bring Nawaz up again is that the anger and death threats over the cartoon and the tweet tell us something about the discussion that ensued after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. What happened to Nawaz should cause us to question the idea that the French cartoons were so unpardonably “racist” and “hateful” that they drove people like the Kouachi brothers to the breaking point. Clearly, for Muslim extremists to react to a cartoon with fatwas and death threats, all it takes is something as perfectly bland and unobjectionable as the picture above.

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It’s Difficult to Determine Boko Haram’s Victim Toll, but Satellite Photos Tell Part of the Story

BBC News, citing Amnesty International, presents a different way of sussing out the savagery inflicted by Nigeria’s Boko Haram, an Islamist insurgent group that attacks citizens with abandon and has a preference for schools, children, and teachers. Satellite images of Nigerian towns attacked by Boko Haram show widespread destruction and suggest a high death toll, Amnesty [Read More...]

Bill Maher: I Was Starting to Like This Pope, But He’s Dead To Me Now

Bill Maher, commenting on Pope Francis‘ insistence that faith may not be mocked, delivers a fine rejoinder:

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Attacks Against Euro-Muslims Spread; Meanwhile, a Dutch Muslim Mayor Tells Violent Islamists to “Get the Fuck Out”

There are no excuses for violent barbarity against Muslims.

Abdallah Zekri, head of the National Observatory Against Islamophobia, said that since last Wednesday’s massacre at Charlie Hebdo, 26 places of worship around France were attacked by firebombs, gunshots or pig heads, with a mosque in Le Mans hit with four grenades. There were 34 insults and threats.

Small caveat: Insults and threats are not nearly the same, of course; a little more reportorial precision is needed.

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Pope Francis: Free Expression is a Fundamental Right, But “You Cannot Insult the Faith of Others”

You’ll be thrilled to learn that he Vatican is totally in favor of free speech.

There are, however, two notable exceptions: faith, and the Pope’s mom.

Calling freedom of expression a “fundamental” human right, the pope outlined why he believes there are limits to that right. If someone “says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” he joked, according to an Associated Press translation. “It’s normal. It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

That’s cute. We can, we have, and we will.

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