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Wow the murder of the French cartoonists ……….. how depressing is that ……….. obviously as a journalist I am a supporter of ‘free speech’ ………. I hate to see journalists dragged away and locked up but most of all I hate to see journalists murdered to shut them up …… especially when their murder is specifically designed to try and end freedoms ………. the murder of these humorists …… these cartoonists chills me to the core ………. just totally depressing………

Salman Rushdie, the author who was the subject of a fatwa calling for his assassination issued by Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, has declared he “stands with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire” Salman said : “ I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity. “Respect for religion” has become a code phrase meaning “fear of religion.” Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.” ……. I have to say when I saw this I did think that just about sums it up perfectly Salman.

Im glad to see the ‘survivors edition’ of Charlie Hebdo is selling like hot cakes today. With a spokesman for Charlie Hebdo making in clear “ Je sues Charlie “ means you are stating: “I am a secularist”.

Funnily enough European secular attitudes and rejection of the concept of blasphemy in particular protects and benefits all ….. but perhaps especially Muslims ……. living in Europe a place previously known as Christendom ……… any one previously stating: “ Jesus was not the son of God” for instance…. back in the days before ‘The Enlightenment’ could have found themselves slaughtered for blasphemy …… Europeans had pogroms against people subscribing to the ‘wrong’ religion or the ‘ wrong’ branch of Christianity. Only a societal rejection of the absolutism of fundamentalist religion and the rise of enlightenment ideas of free speech and free thinking allows Muslims in particular but all religious and ethnic minorities to live safely in todays Europe and be accepted and welcomed practicing their own culture and religion.

Obviously the main issue is violent fundamentalism. The exponents of terror really are the enemy, they are the murderer’s in pursuit of their newly invented totalitarian death cult. But we as ordinary society need to make sure we are not giving them the drivers they need.

All the talk about any representation of Mohamed being an insult to Islam and the Prophet is a modern construct pushed to the fore largely by an Islamist agenda. Islamic scholars from the earliest days were interested in stopping adherents to Islam worshiping images or statues of ‘The Prophet’ they wanted to stop Idolatry ….. to stop good muslims venerating false idols including any images or statues of the Prophet. Thats why Islam does not permit Muslims to makes pictures of ‘The Prophet’. But the fear was always that Muslims will venerate those pictures not that they were or are inherently an insult to ‘The Prophet’ or to Islam.

It is sad so many followers of ‘The Prophet’ have learned in recent times to become insulted and angry at even the rumor of any representation of ‘The Prophet’. The adoption of this sense of angry outrage and insult gives cover to the killers. Many interviews I have heard with outraged Muslims discussing the cartoons have people saying the cartoonists “were asking for it” . All this does make me very sad because it represents such a nasty undemocratic intolerance.

To be fair it is not all the interviews I have heard on the media. I heard a wonderful interview with Maajid Nawaz of the Quiliam Foundation, he was in no way troubled by cartoons of anything. He said that his faith was strong and in no way threatened by anyones scribbles or drawings. He had absolutely no issue with non muslims, or indeed Muslims enjoying all the freedoms of an open society, in terms of free speech. His was such a refreshing Islamic voice, I hope more will come to his view, understanding like him, the joys and massive advantage of an open free society for everyone, but especially minorities. After all it only requires us to look away when others publish things we do not like or say things we disagree with, or of course anyone can engage in any elements of protest if they wish to display opposition …. but violence and murder destroy everyones freedom, even just the threat of it destroys freedom.

One German newspaper has already been firebombed this week for reproducing the cartoons. I see yesterday Turkey has sent police to raid the press and distribution operations of the one newspaper that had the nerve to reproduce something of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. I also see separately a blogger in Saudi Arabia has received the first of his incredible inhuman one thousand lashes for writing a blog that is perceived to have brought insult to Islam. He also received a totally obscene ten year prison sentence and a quarter of a million dollar fine to go with the life threatening flogging.

European Union societies are characterized by delivering the freedoms lacking in any theocracy. It really is important to maintain a modern free society based on decent secular law and reality…. its a protection for all but especially religious minorities. It seems a shame Turkey appears to be moving away from a European style secularism toward a society of religious edict enforced by the state apparatus and of course Saudi Arabia makes no pretense to be anything other than a harsh religious autocracy, it has no tolerance of others non-Muslims are not even permitted in some of its cities. Clearly we should not wish to emulate any of this.

Western societies with their tolerance and acceptance of minority rights and religious practices really need to be understood better by all those on the outside but critically need to be understood by those who live within them. People who have the advantage of all those inherent protections, but we with those protections, must remember in a free society that there is a responsibility to reciprocate to protect the freedom of others. All of us need to be tolerant of the rights of others, even if they do things we would not do, because ultimately our right to do the things we want to do, depends on others being tolerant of our right to do it ; say it ; believe it or publish it.

Let them publish …………. Read it if you want to …… Ignore it if you want to ………… protest if you must ….. but do not call for them to be shut down or burnt down ……. Especially do not call for them to be killed ……. In a society where they can publish their minority views without fear ….. you or I can publish and practice our minority views and beliefs without fear too …….. At the end of a grim week lets all agree to reject violent extremism and opt for a little good humor and a little more acceptance and tolerance of others.

I loved this by Steve Bell in The Guardian ……… Viva the Cartoonists :-))))) XXXXXXXX

Cheers Jez XXXXXXXX

PS………. News Update : The Pope says punch people in the face if they insult your religion or your mom …….. Even the Pope wants to advocate violence to shut people up ………. Jeeeeeeez Dude have you never heard of turn the other cheek ?

[ 12 ] comments

  • The Pope did at least say freedom of speech is a human right before talking about punching people that cause any insult

    K9 @ January 15, 2015, 6:47 pm

  • Yes ….. but freedom of speech is about allowing people to say things you don’t like to hear…….. and he then rather implied that the cartoonists were asking for it ….. Not very free speech…… not very turn the other cheek …… kind of disappointing for a supposedly nice guy pope.

    Jezblog :-)) XXX @ January 15, 2015, 7:27 pm

  • The Pope is right magazines should not be allowed to make jokes about other peoples faith without expecting a punch

    Busy Lizzie @ January 16, 2015, 7:55 am

  • The pope is wrong. If your faith is strong, there’s no need to punish those who mock it. You should be secure in your own beliefs.

    RobertB @ January 16, 2015, 8:05 am

  • Yes, nice one Robert…. Far be it from me to call out the infallibility of the Pope ….. But the words of the islamic speaker Maajid Nawaz seem so much more decent educated and apt …… his faith is not challenged by a cartoon……. be strong in your conviction if u feel it….. but do not threaten others that do not …….. and as Salman Rushdie says cartoons often are ‘a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity’….. and that ‘Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.” …. People that do not share the faith of others cannot be bound by the religious rules of those others. Only by breaking with that kind of edict were we able to have all the modern leaps of science, education and thought that characterizes the enlightenment and characterize modern Western Societies.Cheers Jez XXXX

    Jezblog :-)) XXX @ January 16, 2015, 8:26 am

  • I see folks in countries where Charlie H is not even sold are demonstrating against those Cartoons : in Niger 3 have died and 40 odd have been injured : in Karachi a photographer has been shot covering the protests : again in Pakistan protests against the deliberate killing of 150 Pakistani children by the Taliban were eclipsed by the much larger demonstrations against some cartoons in far off France : Special prayers in Istanbul for the super market killer who tried to kill ordinary jews : This all seems a kind of skewed set of priorities : but what can u say ? After all they do say God moves in mysterious ways.

    Depressed Observer @ January 16, 2015, 8:45 pm

  • ein schönes Fotos, welches viel erzählt

    kunstop @ January 21, 2015, 10:35 am

  • See that we are now lowering flags to half mast as a mark of respect to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, peas be upon him, that we’ll known oppressor of women, dissidents and religious minorities, how long are we going to continue to kowtow to these medieval maniacs??

    Charles Martel @ January 24, 2015, 4:55 am

  • A hideous act of terrorism no less disgusting, albeit numerically dramatically less than the millions dead from illegal wars and the continuous and ongoing extra-judicial executions of Muslims by drone, nor indeed the deaths of many journalists targeted by ALL sides it seems – but of course Muslims getting killed elsewhere seem to matter far less. The media here in the UK immediately started on “multiculturalism” as if this would somehow explain “terrorism”.. which itself can be clothed in any or no religion, by any “left” or “right” ideology you like… but facts seem not to enter the debate.. The fear & confusion of the Hebdo attack is whipped up to support a expansion of the surveillance state and of course to further justify that war without end – the so called “War on Terror”.. with further onslaughts in the Middle East & Africa no doubt now better supported by a French population previously largely opposed.Crudely punching down on “Islam” with provocative anti-Muslim caricatures reminiscent of the crude anti-Semitic stereotyping we have seen in other times & places – isn’t edifying, nor enlightening, nor does it even point to the contradictions of religious suffering… the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world.. but these cartoons have proved increasingly popular in a rather racist France – a country where the far right is growing fast and the oppression of a religious minority is declared a “secular”, indeed a civic duty. And, although I recognise publishing these cartoons had greatly improved the Hebdo sales figures in recent month & years, I do find it difficult to see them in that democratic, enlightenment tradition of satire that pours scorn on the great and powerful for progressive purpose… but maybe I paid too much attention at Art school!

    Chris Hedges characterises it well:
    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/a_message_from_the_dispossessed_20150111

    We can all (misquote) Voltaire but there are enevitably limits to “free speech” in an unfree society- not least where a single individual’s corporation can own vast swathes of the media, determining much of the news narrative, or where a state imprisons journalists and/or controls and censors the media.. or indeed conducts surveillance of journalists so no speaker can dare to come forward and speak truth to power, where sources can no longer be protected (oh and free speech for Wikileaks anyone?) or indeed where certain forms of hate speech are illegal (as is denying the holocaust in France).

    The hypocrisy of the leaders who marched for “Free Speech” in Paris is caught well here:
    https://storify.com/tometty/staunch-defenders-of-free-press-attend-solidarity

    So whist we must all agree with you folks and be absolutely clear in condemning this violent terrorist attack on the magazine.. I’m afraid Jes Suis Ain’t Charle mate… cheers John


    John Harris @ January 25, 2015, 9:03 am

  • “Becoming a holy warrior, a jihadist, a champion of an absolute and pure ideal, is an intoxicating conversion, a kind of rebirth that brings a sense of power and importance. It is as familiar to an Islamic jihadist as it was to a member of the Red Brigades or the old fascist and communist parties”Some of the stuff in Chris Hedges’s article is in my view completely correct he is right to look to the causes of Jihadism and also to understand it is very similar to joining fascist organization or even The Red Brigades ……. there is of course a direct link between extremist behavior of all kinds …… of course youth alienation is a contributory factor but so is the ideology they adopt …… when an alienated youth becomes a fascist and joins say the National Front …… his alienation is a contributory factor, as is his poverty and unemployment but so importantly is the ideology and organization of The National Front …….. its correct to blame failings in society but also we need to oppose and hold to account the individuals who push that ideology …… the same is clearly true in modern Jihadism …….

    I think we should organize to oppose all fascist ideology and racism …… clearly we should oppose members of the NF and the EDL and others who are clearly alienated and end up supporting extremist ideology and violence ….. obviously there are complex triggers for all this …… we should try and address them all ….. of course we should campaign to win decency for anyone living in poverty …… but we need to oppose this extremist violence in all its forms not make excuses for it ……

    I am replying to you on holocaust memorial day….. 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red army …… the speakers at todays memorial there, the survivors, spoke so movingly of their memories and fears …… and they were right to mention modern day anti semitism …… and to remind us the so called Jihadists famously killing cartoonists also targeted ordinary folks just for being Jews …..

    That is a horrifying fact of this newly invented fascist Jihadism …… one of its primary driving factors is hatred of Jews ….. its not good enough to brush it all under the carpet as if it is directly caused by capitalist society and its resulting alienation …….. modern day fascist Islamism has its own agenda …… that agenda and the resultant action of its followers ….. is dangerous to all especially Jewish people and especially ordinary Moslem people but also Christians and secularists and others …….. yes the killing of magazine staff for things they have published is a truly disgusting fascist leaning act that chills me and fills me as journalist with fear and disgust ….. but the disgusting killing of jewish people just because they are Jews … in Europe …… fills me with total horror …… and really should help people on the political left …. people who sometimes make excuses for violent fascist Islamism …… to look again ….. to see it for what it is.

    Je suis Charlie


    Jezblog :-)) XXX @ January 27, 2015, 8:25 pm

  • And it is the Saudis – our firm allies – have done much to promote this backward looking (albeit to a historical fantasy) reactionary notion of “Islam” that few would recognise – rather than get their butts kicked by Arab Nationalism (or even socialism). As you like “nutty Berkeley professors” you might find this interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_gPky76zHc#t=45
    cheers John:o))


    John Harris @ February 6, 2015, 10:53 am

  • Wahhabism …. is the basis of the modern cult of death that is the modern invention of fascist islamism ….. i think we can agree on that …. Saudi Arabia is the root of all this …… with all the money given to it for oil it has attempted to convert old style Islam into wahhabism …. paying for mosques all over the world sending imans etc to teach wahhabism they have successfully turned Pakistani islam into Saudi Islam…. and the Brit versions of Bangladeshi and Pakistani Islam now looks and preaches like Saudi Islam …… it’s a sad fact that those cultures have suffered complete ‘cultural imperialism’ their cultures have been largely wiped away in favor of the new wahharbi islam…… the grandmothers still wear pink and green etc …… but the daughters are all wearing the black of Saudi Arabia….. in a generation Saudi with all its oil money has ‘done in’ the leadership of Indian, Pakistani Bangladeshi , and much Indonesian Islam and its footholds everywhere else like Britain …… yes what was mainstream religious islam in all those places is under attack from the mosque leadership paid for and appointed by Saudi Arabia … of course al qaeda and the whole 9/11 attack had Saudi Arabia stamped all over it ? ….. I have never argued that does not.That bloke talking about the research into Muslim societies …… fine I have no argument with any of that……. No doubt Norwegian Society comes out less violent than US society…… but thats not what we are talking about right ?…… clearly people living under the rule of IS don’t need statisticians to tell them about the level of violence perpetrated by their new rulers…… especially if they were say Yazidi’s or some other minority suffering attempted genocide against them……..

    Old style Indonisian or Bangladeshi Islam or old style Jordanian Islam not violent particularly OK . Modern fascist Islam like that embodied by IS well that is more like a cult of death attempting to subvert and convert old style islam and is successfully infecting it because old style islam finds it hard to define itself separately from the new cult.


    Nutty Prof :-)) XXX @ February 6, 2015, 12:58 pm

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