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9671. bhelpuri - 1/13/2015 12:51:02 PM

This by Teju Cole is on-point.

Excerpt:

This week’s events took place against the backdrop of France’s ugly colonial history, its sizable Muslim population, and the suppression, in the name of secularism, of some Islamic cultural expressions, such as the hijab. Blacks have hardly had it easier in Charlie Hebdo: one of the magazine’s cartoons depicts the Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira, who is of Guianese origin, as a monkey (naturally, the defense is that a violently racist image was being used to satirize racism); another portrays Obama with the black-Sambo imagery familiar from Jim Crow-era illustrations.

On Thursday morning, the day after the massacre, I happened to be in Paris. The headline of Le Figaro was “LA LIBERTÉ ASSASSINÉE.” Le Parisien and L’Humanité also used the word liberté in their headlines. Liberty was indeed under attack—as a writer, I cherish the right to offend, and I support that right in other writers—but what was being excluded in this framing? A tone of genuine puzzlement always seems to accompany terrorist attacks in the centers of Western power. Why have they visited violent horror on our peaceful societies? Why do they kill when we don’t? A widely shared illustration, by Lucille Clerc, of a broken pencil regenerating itself as two sharpened pencils, was typical. The message was clear, as it was with the hashtag #jesuischarlie: that what is at stake is not merely the right of people to draw what they wish but that, in the wake of the murders, what they drew should be celebrated and disseminated. Accordingly, not only have many of Charlie Hebdo’s images been published and shared, but the magazine itself has received large sums of money in the wake of the attacks—a hundred thousand pounds from the Guardian Media Group and three hundred thousand dollars from Google.

But it is possible to defend the right to obscene and racist speech without promoting or sponsoring the content of that speech. It is possible to approve of sacrilege without endorsing racism. And it is possible to consider Islamophobia immoral without wishing it illegal. Moments of grief neither rob us of our complexity nor absolve us of the responsibility of making distinctions.


9672. judithathome - 1/13/2015 8:52:18 PM

Here's an great perspective:

Questions to ask myself before I publicly wonder whether Muslims condemn terrorism:

1) Do I know any Muslims in real life that I can ask?

2) Am I actually following any Muslim activists, scholars or leaders on social media outlets?

3) Am I assuming that if Muslims are not condemning violence done by other Muslims 24/7 in the medium that I personally follow, so that I can see it when I check into FB or Twitter at a time convenient for me, then that means Muslims support terrorism and are inherently violent people
because of their religion?

4) When I meet a person of a different faith is my immediate assumption, "This person is Catholic, he must be a child molester" or "This Jewish woman hates all Muslim children and wants them to be bombed" or "This person is a Christian, he must want to steal the money of gullible old white ladies who think the Rapture is imminent?" Or is my assumption when I meet people is that they believe all these things are abhorrent and that we share these basic values?

5) If some people of a faith tradition have committed criminal acts, even if they claim it's done in God's name, does it automatically mean that every person of that faith tradition supports crime?

6) This Hindtrospectives blogger sure sounds mad. She claims that Muslims have been condemning all kinds of Muslim terrorism for over at least over a decade on every medium available to them. Is it up to me to find these condemnations, or is it up to them to make sure I see the thousands of condemnations they've issued in the past?

7) Do I know what a search engine is? If so, I wonder what will come up when I type "Muslims condemning terrorism?"

Source

9673. alistairconnor - 1/14/2015 6:52:47 PM

Here's something I wrote for a NZ blog :

A few thoughts from a French citizen, of NZ origin, irregular reader of Charlie Hebdo these last 10 years or so, occasional reader of Danyl…
I brought up my children in France. My life partner of these past 8 years is Muslim.
I came here to read thoughtful responses from New Zealanders, and I came to the right place. Here are mine.

* Geopolitics: This is not original, but the current “global jihad” state of affairs all dates from 2001. Not from the destruction of the Twin Towers — that could have been an oddity, instead of the defining event of the new century, but for the US response to it : the invasion of two sovereign nations of Muslim culture. Based on unstated geopolitical motives (the Cheney crew), but domestically enabled by ordinary Americans’ thirst for Muslim blood. I am not exaggerating, anyone who followed the US blogosphere at the time will tell you this. It’s hardly surprising that this felt like a war on Islam to a very large number of Muslims, because that’s what it felt like to a very large number of Americans too.

* Added to this blowback from Afghanistan/Iraq is the French post-colonial situation. Millions of mostly illiterate north Africans came to France in the 60s to work in factories, with lots of resentment on both sides (France “lost” the Algerian war…). Their French-born children are “second-generation immigrants”, like my own. Coming from a cultural background where religious principles are at least as important as the law of the land — think France or NZ as little as a century ago — they often tend to disapprove of the values of the French republic, or even reject them outright. The Republic is deliberately blind to the race or religion of its citizens, and has done a very poor job of integrating both the original immigrants and their offspring. The collective values of their source culture are in conflict with French individualism; endogamy is the rule, and a Muslim woman who marries a non-Muslim is typically an outcast from her community.

9674. alistairconnor - 1/14/2015 6:53:23 PM

[continued]


* Charlie Hebdo is a leftist feminist anti-racist anti-militarist satirical paper, which pulls no punches with respect to its targets. It never ridicules immigrants, women, Muslims, Blacks etc as such, but, as with all good satire, you can easily understand the opposite of the intended meaning if you don’t get the context. It is my experience that most Muslims are uncomfortable with what they do, because blasphemy is a big no-no. A certain proportion of French Muslims will conclude that the paper is anti-Muslim, because the blasphemy thing is too big a wall for them to climb; they’re not going to get the joke, even though it isn’t against them. This is not a problem for the great majority, because if you don’t like a paper you don’t read it; and they understand that religious freedom means freedom to criticise religion too. Freedom of speech is by no means absolute in France; you can go to jail for denying the Holocaust, for incitement to murder, for racist statements etc. CH has frequently been taken to court, and has won every time. It is not a racist paper.

* Those who are militantly against CH’s blasphemous cartoons etc, and would like to shut them down, whether by legal process, firebomb or whatever, are those who are trying to legitimize the place of religion in the public sphere. This has included conservative Catholics in the past, but now it’s generally Muslims. Typically their wives will wear headscarves in the street (which is fine, of course), and they will want Muslim girls to wear headscarves to school (this is forbidden, and rightly so in my view, but is controversial). Religion in the public sphere is a no-no in France; it is considered a private matter, for individual choice.

Oh that’s enough rambling. Hope you find some useful insights. Cheers.

Breaking : Charlie Hebdo will be at newsagents tomorrow as usual on a Wednesday. However, they’re printing 3 million instead of the usual 60 000 or so.
Cover features Mahomet (obviously). It’s brilliant. Made me lose my shit. But that’s been frequent over this past week.

9675. alistairconnor - 1/14/2015 6:54:47 PM

Oh OK, another thing :
It’s pretty damn hard to judge how “offensive” CH is, when you don’t have the language and cultural references to understand for yourself. This hasn’t stopped the world’s journalists and commentators from having a go, and getting it badly wrong in 95% of cases.
Among people I respect who, in my view, have got it wrong, are Glenn Greenwald and danylmc. No big deal.

I am a big fan of Jesus and Mo. CH is more vulgar and sexualised, but on strictly religious matters, it’s on about the same level. What do you reckon? Should the author refrain from being so mean?

9676. alistairconnor - 1/14/2015 6:58:54 PM

Sunni religious authorities don't like it. Film at 10.

Charlie Hebdo: Egyptian fatwa authority condemns new issue - France - ANSAMed.it

(ANSAmed) - CAIRO - Egypt's official center of Islamic jurisprudence and issuer of religious edicts ('fatwa'), Dar El-Iftaa, has heavily criticized the announcement that caricatures of the Muslim prophet Mohamed will appear in the new issue of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. In a statement on Tuesday, the body called the planned issue ''an unjustifiable provocation to one and a half billion Muslims across the world''. Along with the Al Azhar university, the institution is one of the main Egyptian interpreters of Islamic law. It said that the issue ''will cause a further wave of hatred in French and Western societies, and does not serve the coexistence and dialogue of civilizations that Muslims are striving for'', as it will ''deepen feelings of hatred and racism between Muslims and others''.

The magazine, it said, represents ''a dangerous degradation of human values, freedoms and tolerance.'' The institution, presided over by the Grand Mufti of Egypt, has called on ''the French government, parties and organizations to reject this racist behavior by the magazine, which creates confessional sedition and ruins the efforts made to strengthen dialogue between religions.''



In other coverage of the fatwa that I have found in English suppresses the allegation of racism... perhaps because it is ridiculous on its face. Your mileage may vary.

To be clear : Sunni religious authorities make an explicit claim for universal religious privilege. As do, implicitly, their apologists in the English speaking media stream who call for self-censorship.

9677. alistairconnor - 1/14/2015 7:02:17 PM

Sorry Bhel -- Teju Cole is one of the 95% who got it wrong.

9678. alistairconnor - 1/14/2015 7:18:55 PM

While the geopolitical context is important and sucks rocks, I prefer to think of the Charlie murders as a domestic affair. It is the end result of a tragic, ghastly failure of integration of Muslims in France -- including the majority that were born here. This has been obvious for a long time, but perhaps it'll get some urgent attention now. A serious rethink of the dysfunctional education system is a good place to start. Housing policy has aggravated segregation.

There is a key problem in dealing with the integration of French Muslims. Those who integrate successfully, do so by accepting the values of the Republic (or at least paying lip service to them), which often means breaking with their own community. What is needed is for the community's values to evolve to be more compatible with those of the Republic. I make no apology for this, I have a lot of personal experience with it. This does not mean an abandon of religion or collectivist values; but it does mean an acceptance of individual self-determination. Without doubting the sincerity of anyone's religion, it happens to be a very handy means of denying self-determination, particularly that of women. This has to change.

9679. judithathome - 1/15/2015 7:58:30 PM

Thanks, Alistair...good to get the perspective of someone who actually LIVES there! You make far more sense than the talking heads on American television.

9680. judithathome - 1/15/2015 11:15:42 PM


More hilarity from MSNBC: "The raid took place in a town about an hour away from Brussels"....EVERY town in Belgium is about an hour away from Brussels!

9681. Wombat - 1/19/2015 6:01:18 AM

Alistair,

Many of the Algerians who initially arrived in France in the early 1960s were those who fought for the French against the FLN; they were able to escape the retribution visited upon reportedly tens of thousands of those who remained by the victorious FLN. There is a certain irony about that. Interestingly, Pied-noirs who fled were able to take advantage of the rights as French citizens; the Algerian Arabs did not have that privilege.

9682. Wombat - 1/19/2015 6:03:01 AM

It must be said that the US, as a nation of immigrants, has been far more successful at integrating new arrivals, even today.

9683. Wombat - 1/19/2015 6:12:25 AM

Ms. No:

More egregious (and counterproductive) is describing terrorists as "crazy," "whacko," etc. They are about as crazy as the Japanese pilots who dove their aircraft into ships in WW2. They made choices and decisions that they saw as rational, given their experiences, social, cultural, and religious contexts.

I do not believe that we can divorce religious inspiration from their actions. While Islam can certainly be described as no better or worse than the other monotheistic faiths, there are strains that lend themselves to extremism (as in other religions), and some of their adherents may take it to what they see as the ultimate goal.

9684. arkymalarky - 1/19/2015 7:30:21 PM

there's that, and then there's the troubled American who converted 6 months to a year ago and plots this kind of crap from that point forward like the man from Ohio. They're two different birds, and one is attaching itself to the other. There are also, as in France, national issues that impact the extremism. it's understandably very difficult to separate that all out, but if you look at the numbers, those mentally unstable "lone wolves" are not an insignificant part of the extremist terrorists--in the United States, anyway.

At least publicly, there's not enough attention on the internet aspect of all this, social networking etc that I know they're focusing on privately. I can't help but think that this wouldn't be the issue it is without it. Disenfranchised and disturbed people would act as such, but without attaching to Islam. Not a suggestion that something should be done on that front other than what's already happening, just an observation.

9685. robertjayb - 2/6/2015 4:15:20 PM

Where are we going?





President Obama is expected to formally ask Congress to authorize the use of military force against the Islamic State terror group in the coming days, even as lawmakers said crafting and passing such a measure would be a challenge.

The U.S. has been carrying out airstrikes against the terrorists, most commonly known as ISIS, in Iraq and Syria since August and September, respectively. In doing so, Obama has been relying on congressional authorizations that President George W. Bush used to justify military action after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Critics have called the White House's use of post-9/11 congressional authorizations a legal stretch, though Obama has previously argued that a new authorization isn't legally necessary.

(Fox News)

9686. robertjayb - 2/6/2015 4:29:43 PM

Please not war, not "war" war...

I do think the U.S. should take a hand in this horror. But not some replay of the self-serving Bush/Cheney (et al.) disasters.

These villains should be dealt with as criminals as we should have dealt with the 9/11 murderers. We are a rich, rich country and can always print more money. Put our many spooks to work scouring the globe for the baddest, meanest motherfuckers that can be hired. Pay them extravagantly, equip them well, and give them the best intelligence possible. Then have them go Keyser Soze on these loonies. Kill them, their families, their associates, their friends an neighbors.

I read of a Jordanian using the word exterminate. Exactly.

Take a page from (but don't dare involve them) the Israelis response to the Munich Olympics massacre in '72. Multiplied many times over. Track 'em down and kill 'em. Too bad we don't seem to have anyone around now with the balls of Golda Meir.

9687. iiibbb - 2/6/2015 5:20:38 PM

Take a page of Isreal?

Didn't they assassinate the wrong people on at least one occasion, and paid little attention to anyone standing near their targets?

That'd be great.

9688. arkymalarky - 2/6/2015 7:13:43 PM

Will there ever be a Kurdish nation?

9689. robertjayb - 2/6/2015 8:11:02 PM

Shit happens. Collateral damage.

Today: BEIRUT (AP) — A purported statement by the Islamic State group claimed that an American female hostage was killed in a Jordanian airstrike on Friday on the outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, the militant group's main stronghold.

9690. Trillium - 2/17/2015 2:50:22 AM

The Atlantic on Islamic State

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