Imagining France Under a Muslim President: Michel Houellebecq Ponders the Path of Submission

Via Time:

More than 4 in 10 French people believe Charlie Hebdo shouldn’t publish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad.

Is that because they’re afraid of more bloodshed? No, they say; they feel strongly about observing the prohibition on depicting Muhammad because

many Muslims find the images offensive.

survey conducted by Le Journal du Dimanche, a French weekly newspaper, presented participants with this information: “Some Muslims feel attacked or injured by the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.” In the final tally of responses, 42% checked a box to indicate that the country should “consider these reactions and avoid publishing these cartoons.”

I imagine that Michel Houellebecq, perhaps the most famous French novelist of our time, read that news with something between amusement and exasperation.

You see, on the day of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Houellebecq’s sixth novel, a dark satirical work called Soumission (Submission), hit bookstores. The story explores what happens when, not even a decade from now, a Muslim presidential candidate, Mohammed Ben Abbes, has enough popular appeal to win France’s highest office.



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Conservative Professor and Colleagues Say They’ll Take Lashes on Raif Badawi’s Behalf

While Saudi blogger Raif Badawi (below) is only 50 lashes into his 1,000-lashes punishment for the “crime” of “insulting Islam,” a group of Americans have made an unusual offer on his behalf:



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Atheist Billboard Goes Up in Riverside, California

A new billboard up in Riverside, California marks the launch of the Inland Empire Coalition of Reason, made up of seven separate organizations:



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The Three Words No President Has Ever Said In a State of the Union Address

Last night’s State of the Union address brought a long list of tweetworthy moments, from President Barack Obama‘s wink at the crowd during a recap of the progress his administration has made to a snappy, unscripted comeback about winning his last two campaigns that silenced fussy Republicans.

But the 2015 speech also gave us a few truly pivotal moments, even if they only spanned a few words. Among them: the first time any president has ever used the words “lesbian,” “bisexual” or “transgender” in that address.

Here’s what Obama said (the full speech is available at Medium):

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Richard Dawkins Reads His Hate Mail… Again

A few years ago, Richard Dawkins read some of his hate mail from loving Christians and it was glorious.

Now, he’s done it again. It involves him reading a lot of nasty slurs, learning about his own sexual predilections, and trying to figure out how to properly pronounce “bee-yotch.”



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