Now a French magazine ridicules Mohammad

First an American puts up a YouTube video inflaming the Muslim world and now a French magazine has published cartoon inflaming the already inflamed Muslim world.

A French magazine ridiculed the Prophet Mohammad on Wednesday by portraying him naked in cartoons, threatening to fuel the anger of Muslims around the world who are already incensed by a film depiction of him as a lecherous fool.

The drawings in satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo risked exacerbating a crisis that has seen the storming of U.S. and other Western embassies, the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and a deadly suicide bombing in Afghanistan.

Riot police were deployed to protect the magazine’s Paris offices after it hit the news stands with a cover showing an Orthodox Jew pushing the turbaned figure of Mohammad in a wheelchair.

On the inside pages, several caricatures of the Prophet showed him naked. One, entitled “Mohammad: a star is born”, depicted a bearded figure crouching over to display his buttocks and genitals.

The French government, which had urged the weekly not to print the cartoons, said it was temporarily shutting down premises including embassies and schools in 20 countries on Friday, when protests sometimes break out after Muslim prayers.

via Cartoons in French weekly fuel Mohammad furor – Yahoo! News Canada.

So is this freedom of the press or religious bigotry?  Or both?  Is there a point at which religious bigotry can become an infringement of freedom of religion?  Are elements in the West–France, no less!  and what’s been coming out from the ultra-tolerant Danes and the Dutch! — coming together in an anti-Islamic reaction?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • SKPeterson

    And they’ll still attack U.S. embassies.

  • SKPeterson

    And they’ll still attack U.S. embassies.

  • Tom Hering

    And still attack KFC and Hardee’s too. Maybe even Chick-Fil-A, now that they’ve suddenly stopped supporting anti-gay-marriage groups. What better symbol of corrosive Western values – of dollars trumping morals – could there be?

  • Tom Hering

    And still attack KFC and Hardee’s too. Maybe even Chick-Fil-A, now that they’ve suddenly stopped supporting anti-gay-marriage groups. What better symbol of corrosive Western values – of dollars trumping morals – could there be?

  • fws

    tom @2

    my lobster bib wasnt big enough to catch all that dripping sarcasm tom. what a mess.

  • fws

    tom @2

    my lobster bib wasnt big enough to catch all that dripping sarcasm tom. what a mess.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Is there a point at which religious bigotry can become an infringement of freedom of religion?”

    If there is a hideous, murdering, satanic political philosophy disguised as a “religion” that deserves and warrants to be ridiculed, condemned and attacked, it is Mohammedism.

    Martin Luther noted in his “On War Against the Turk”:

    “But as the pope is Antichrist, so the Turk is the very devil. The prayer of Christendom is against both. Both shall go down to hell, even though it may take the Last Day to send them there; and I hope it will not be long.”

    And today Luther would no doubt include the Demonicrat Party.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Is there a point at which religious bigotry can become an infringement of freedom of religion?”

    If there is a hideous, murdering, satanic political philosophy disguised as a “religion” that deserves and warrants to be ridiculed, condemned and attacked, it is Mohammedism.

    Martin Luther noted in his “On War Against the Turk”:

    “But as the pope is Antichrist, so the Turk is the very devil. The prayer of Christendom is against both. Both shall go down to hell, even though it may take the Last Day to send them there; and I hope it will not be long.”

    And today Luther would no doubt include the Demonicrat Party.

  • Carl Vehse

    “First an American puts up a YouTube video inflaming the Muslim world and now a French magazine has published cartoon inflaming the already inflamed Muslim world.”

    Perhaps the ‘Media Mavens’, and those who spread their Obamanure about “inflaming the Muslim world” should answer the parenthetical question in Shawn Mitchell’s article, The Journolist’s Pimps with Limps:

    Team Obama insists this is the result of a “heinous” Youtube video that mocks Mohamed and “hurts religious feelings.” (Does anyone think to ask if asserting a crude video impels thousands of Muslims helplessly into homicidal rioting is insulting [CV: even deservedly] to Islamic people? )

  • Carl Vehse

    “First an American puts up a YouTube video inflaming the Muslim world and now a French magazine has published cartoon inflaming the already inflamed Muslim world.”

    Perhaps the ‘Media Mavens’, and those who spread their Obamanure about “inflaming the Muslim world” should answer the parenthetical question in Shawn Mitchell’s article, The Journolist’s Pimps with Limps:

    Team Obama insists this is the result of a “heinous” Youtube video that mocks Mohamed and “hurts religious feelings.” (Does anyone think to ask if asserting a crude video impels thousands of Muslims helplessly into homicidal rioting is insulting [CV: even deservedly] to Islamic people? )

  • #4 Kitty

    @2 And apparently McDonald’s as well.

  • #4 Kitty

    @2 And apparently McDonald’s as well.

  • Tom Hering

    So, Carl, when are you heading over to the Middle East to express your views directly to Islamists? What? You’re not? Didn’t think so.

  • Tom Hering

    So, Carl, when are you heading over to the Middle East to express your views directly to Islamists? What? You’re not? Didn’t think so.

  • Jon

    So is this freedom of the press or religious bigotry? Or both? Is there a point at which religious bigotry can become an infringement of freedom of religion?

    Other religions besides Islam have their icons defamed, ridiculed and lampooned like all the time. Especially Christianity. All in the name of free speech, and even in so-called “art.” Yet, it seldom results in those religious adherents going out of control and killing and burning.

    But not so with Islam, the “so-called religion of peace.” Why? Is their god so weak he that executes his judgment through his followers? Is their prophet really that egomaniacal that he can’t stand a little ribbing?

    And why we treat Islam any different, with kid gloves? We in the west, especially now the US, treat islamic countries like a parent who handles a child’s temper tantrum by just caving in to it and give them the candy and dare not take away his allowance.

    Really, what must they think of us? That the west is weak and they have power and will continue to exact the Muslim duty from us dhimmis.

  • Jon

    So is this freedom of the press or religious bigotry? Or both? Is there a point at which religious bigotry can become an infringement of freedom of religion?

    Other religions besides Islam have their icons defamed, ridiculed and lampooned like all the time. Especially Christianity. All in the name of free speech, and even in so-called “art.” Yet, it seldom results in those religious adherents going out of control and killing and burning.

    But not so with Islam, the “so-called religion of peace.” Why? Is their god so weak he that executes his judgment through his followers? Is their prophet really that egomaniacal that he can’t stand a little ribbing?

    And why we treat Islam any different, with kid gloves? We in the west, especially now the US, treat islamic countries like a parent who handles a child’s temper tantrum by just caving in to it and give them the candy and dare not take away his allowance.

    Really, what must they think of us? That the west is weak and they have power and will continue to exact the Muslim duty from us dhimmis.

  • Carl Vehse

    Tom @7:

    Been there; done that! Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria, Iraq, Qatar, not to mention Indonesia.

    And you, Tom?

  • Carl Vehse

    Tom @7:

    Been there; done that! Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria, Iraq, Qatar, not to mention Indonesia.

    And you, Tom?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Some bloggers have noted that there are proportionally more young people and unemployment among them in the middle east. That coupled with the lack of college football, renders too many young guys with too much energy and no healthy outlet for it. Yeah, it is funny, but I suspect there is some truth to it. It used to be young people got married and had to work their tails off to support their families. Now young people either work low wage or go into education debt (effectively lowering disposable income later), hook up and watch TV, play video. Their energy is all channeled. Those who don’t fit those categories are disproportionally involved in dysfunctional or even criminal behavior, but there are far fewer of them (as a % of total population) than in the middle east.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Some bloggers have noted that there are proportionally more young people and unemployment among them in the middle east. That coupled with the lack of college football, renders too many young guys with too much energy and no healthy outlet for it. Yeah, it is funny, but I suspect there is some truth to it. It used to be young people got married and had to work their tails off to support their families. Now young people either work low wage or go into education debt (effectively lowering disposable income later), hook up and watch TV, play video. Their energy is all channeled. Those who don’t fit those categories are disproportionally involved in dysfunctional or even criminal behavior, but there are far fewer of them (as a % of total population) than in the middle east.

  • Joe

    Has anyone seen the new cartoons from the French magazine? I’m seeing lots of press about them but I’m not seeing them.

  • Joe

    Has anyone seen the new cartoons from the French magazine? I’m seeing lots of press about them but I’m not seeing them.

  • Tom Hering

    Carl @ 9, so you’ve gone to all those places and said all the things you say here directly to their faces. And you’re still alive. Huh. They don’t sound so dangerous after all.

    Joe @ 11, just search Google Images for “Charlie Hebdo cartoons.”

  • Tom Hering

    Carl @ 9, so you’ve gone to all those places and said all the things you say here directly to their faces. And you’re still alive. Huh. They don’t sound so dangerous after all.

    Joe @ 11, just search Google Images for “Charlie Hebdo cartoons.”

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom, I think you g=have Carl in what is traditionally referred to as a Catch-22.

    Good job.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom, I think you g=have Carl in what is traditionally referred to as a Catch-22.

    Good job.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom, I think you have Carl in what is traditionally referred to as a Catch-22.

    Good job.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom, I think you have Carl in what is traditionally referred to as a Catch-22.

    Good job.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Oops, double posting. Too many two’s?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Oops, double posting. Too many two’s?

  • Carl Vehse

    And you, Tom?

  • Carl Vehse

    And you, Tom?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    The Vehse-Grace polka: One step forward, two steps backward and sidestep the issue.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    The Vehse-Grace polka: One step forward, two steps backward and sidestep the issue.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Back to the topic, I don’t get what the naked portrayals of Mohammed are all about–I get some very pointed criticisms of Islam, starting with the fact that Islamists seem to view violence as quite an adaptable solution to criticism. But I don’t “get” this one.

    So may I suggest that, absent an explanation of what is meant, that these cartoons are worse than bigoted; they are pointless. Maybe it’s the same motivation that thinks 26 pages of blurry pictures of a future Queen are hugely important?

    And both are protected by law in our country, unless it gets to libel and slander of living people, as it should be.
    Maybe it’

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Back to the topic, I don’t get what the naked portrayals of Mohammed are all about–I get some very pointed criticisms of Islam, starting with the fact that Islamists seem to view violence as quite an adaptable solution to criticism. But I don’t “get” this one.

    So may I suggest that, absent an explanation of what is meant, that these cartoons are worse than bigoted; they are pointless. Maybe it’s the same motivation that thinks 26 pages of blurry pictures of a future Queen are hugely important?

    And both are protected by law in our country, unless it gets to libel and slander of living people, as it should be.
    Maybe it’

  • DonS

    So is this freedom of the press or religious bigotry? Or both? Is there a point at which religious bigotry can become an infringement of freedom of religion?

    Jon @ 8 said a lot of what I was going to say about this subject. Yes, it is both, obviously. In an ideal world, no one’s faith would be ridiculed in such a manner — faith is far too important and vital a part of our lives, and particularly our eternal well being, to be minimized or treated in a cavalier manner. However, we clearly do not live in an ideal world, as evidenced by the manner in which Hollywood and establishment authors treat Christianity. Our values of liberty and inalienable rights require that we tolerate such activities we may disagree with, in order to ensure that our own liberties are protected as well.

    The protections afforded us by the bill of rights are protections guaranteed by government from government. Private actors cannot infringe our constitutional rights by exercising their own, because our rights protect us from governmental action, not private action.

    So, religious bigotry on the part of the government, a more and more frequent occurrence, certainly can infringe our right of free exercise. Religious bigotry on the part of private persons can inhibit our right of free exercise, and is potentially actionable under other provisions of law, such as the laws of trespass, assault, disorderly conduct, etc., depending upon what actions they take against us. But, generally speaking, they are not constitutional violations.

  • DonS

    So is this freedom of the press or religious bigotry? Or both? Is there a point at which religious bigotry can become an infringement of freedom of religion?

    Jon @ 8 said a lot of what I was going to say about this subject. Yes, it is both, obviously. In an ideal world, no one’s faith would be ridiculed in such a manner — faith is far too important and vital a part of our lives, and particularly our eternal well being, to be minimized or treated in a cavalier manner. However, we clearly do not live in an ideal world, as evidenced by the manner in which Hollywood and establishment authors treat Christianity. Our values of liberty and inalienable rights require that we tolerate such activities we may disagree with, in order to ensure that our own liberties are protected as well.

    The protections afforded us by the bill of rights are protections guaranteed by government from government. Private actors cannot infringe our constitutional rights by exercising their own, because our rights protect us from governmental action, not private action.

    So, religious bigotry on the part of the government, a more and more frequent occurrence, certainly can infringe our right of free exercise. Religious bigotry on the part of private persons can inhibit our right of free exercise, and is potentially actionable under other provisions of law, such as the laws of trespass, assault, disorderly conduct, etc., depending upon what actions they take against us. But, generally speaking, they are not constitutional violations.

  • Jon

    Bike@ 18 said

    “And both are protected by law in our country, unless it gets to libel and slander of living people, as it should be.”

    Bike, you sure the dutchess pics would be protected in US law?

    Also, Charlie Hebdo is a satire rag. It’s like the Mad Magazine of France. It’s a lampoon–that’s the point–they don’t care who they peeve.

  • Jon

    Bike@ 18 said

    “And both are protected by law in our country, unless it gets to libel and slander of living people, as it should be.”

    Bike, you sure the dutchess pics would be protected in US law?

    Also, Charlie Hebdo is a satire rag. It’s like the Mad Magazine of France. It’s a lampoon–that’s the point–they don’t care who they peeve.

  • T. Venditti

    Very interesting article on http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19632673. The same debate we are having from a European and Muslim POV. The first is from a Muslim –
    “We reached this stage of our history by ending the control of the Catholic Church on what could and could not be said or written in public. So-called heretics were killed at the stake to help secure freedom of religion, thought, and expression. These freedoms are sacrosanct to me.

    It is this history of Christian Protestant bravery that led to the creation of pluralist and secular societies in the West, allowing for the first time in history for Muslims and Jews to settle there in large numbers – we were free to practise our religions freely. The barbarity of pogroms, witch-hunting, and burning heretics ended…”

  • T. Venditti

    Very interesting article on http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19632673. The same debate we are having from a European and Muslim POV. The first is from a Muslim –
    “We reached this stage of our history by ending the control of the Catholic Church on what could and could not be said or written in public. So-called heretics were killed at the stake to help secure freedom of religion, thought, and expression. These freedoms are sacrosanct to me.

    It is this history of Christian Protestant bravery that led to the creation of pluralist and secular societies in the West, allowing for the first time in history for Muslims and Jews to settle there in large numbers – we were free to practise our religions freely. The barbarity of pogroms, witch-hunting, and burning heretics ended…”

  • fws

    t venditti

    naw it wasnt protestant bravery so much.

    it was that all sides were exhausted after the human waste and carnage of the 30 years war I suggest.
    protestants had their share of persecuting others…

    even and especially with what I just said, I have just reinforced your point. we would not want to return back to the roman catholic dictum that “error has no rights”

    that would look like islam and the christian church having too much political power as well.

  • fws

    t venditti

    naw it wasnt protestant bravery so much.

    it was that all sides were exhausted after the human waste and carnage of the 30 years war I suggest.
    protestants had their share of persecuting others…

    even and especially with what I just said, I have just reinforced your point. we would not want to return back to the roman catholic dictum that “error has no rights”

    that would look like islam and the christian church having too much political power as well.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Jon, not absolutely sure, but usually if pictures are taken from a place where the photographer is entitled to be–say outside a Lost Wages suite with private pool, as in the Prince Harry case–the photographer is not liable to legal action. In this case, the photographers were legally situated on public property about 1km away from the chateau.

    The name of the legal doctrine, I believe, is that “the eye can not trespass.”

    And OK, so Hebdo is “Mad.” My point about the Mohammed pics still stands, as good satire must be linked more than tenuously with reality. Lewd pictures of the prophet don’t pass this test, at least unless there is an image of his wife Aisha there, too.

    In which case U.S. law would prohibit them, as it would be child porn. But that’s another story.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Jon, not absolutely sure, but usually if pictures are taken from a place where the photographer is entitled to be–say outside a Lost Wages suite with private pool, as in the Prince Harry case–the photographer is not liable to legal action. In this case, the photographers were legally situated on public property about 1km away from the chateau.

    The name of the legal doctrine, I believe, is that “the eye can not trespass.”

    And OK, so Hebdo is “Mad.” My point about the Mohammed pics still stands, as good satire must be linked more than tenuously with reality. Lewd pictures of the prophet don’t pass this test, at least unless there is an image of his wife Aisha there, too.

    In which case U.S. law would prohibit them, as it would be child porn. But that’s another story.


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