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Muslims Burn Building Over Cartoon

Well this is messed up.

PARIS (AP) — France’s prime minister condemned an apparent arson attack early on Wednesday that destroyed the offices of a satirical French newspaper that had “invited” the Prophet Muhammad as a guest editor this week.

The front-page of the weekly, subtitled “Sharia Hebdo,” a reference to Islamic law, showed a cartoon-like man with a turban, white robe and beard smiling broadly and saying, in an accompanying bubble, “100 lashes if you don’t die laughing.”

They burned a building because they didn’t think somebody was paying their religion the respect it was due, yet I know children who don’t get violently bent out of shape over cartoons. Can you think of anything that could be a more insane reason to engage in potentially life-destroying actions? Lost at tiddly winks? No, cartoons are more insane. Breathing the same air? Yeah, that might do it.

What is the proper response? To cave and abdicate our right to free speech so as not to offend them? Is it to afford them even a modicum of respect, not because they are behaving respectably, but that perhaps falling on that sword will make them see reason (and not give positive reinforcement to psychotic behavior)? No. Those are not the proper response. The answer is to say that fear will not silence your opposition, adding that you can either play fair in the marketplace of ideas or promptly piss off.

Religion causes people, not just Muslims, to gratuitously overvalue their own (mismanaged) sense of propriety. In some cases, like this one, it causes them to value it over the lives and property of others.

Tell me again how religion is a force for good in the world.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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