French satirical magazine firebombed because they lampooning Mohammed

The BBC reports here that the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris have been destroyed in a petrol bomb attack. The report explains …

It comes a day after the publication named the Prophet Muhammad as its “editor-in-chief” for its next issue.

The cover of the magazine carried a caricature of the Prophet making a facetious comment.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has described the petrol-bombing as an unjustifable attack on the freedom of the press.

OK, what was the offense? Well, here is the cover (pictured on the left). It’s an image of Muhammad saying “100 lashes if you are not dying of laughter“. Inside they have an editorial, attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, and more cartoons – one showing the Prophet with a clown’s red nose.

Yep, its offensive to Muslims, but there is no such thing as the right not to be offended, nor is any idea or belief beyond satire or criticism.

When previously challenged last tuesday that they were being provocative with this issue, they explained that this was motivated by the recent victory of the Islamist Ennadha party in elections in Tunisia, and by indications that sharia law could form the basis of legislation in post-Gaddafi Libya.

It is also not their first brush with Islam, back in 2007 they reprinted 12 controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that were first shown in a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, and caused outrage in the Muslim world. In response to that they were sued for incitement to racism by two Islamic groups in France, but were acquitted by a Paris court.

The current thinking about the firebombing is that it was not an attack on the magazine by French Muslims, but rather by “idiot extremists”. Also, the head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, Mohammed Moussaoui, has condemned the attack.

Prime Minister Fillon has also expressed his “indignation” at the attack on the newspaper.

Freedom of expression is an inalienable right in our democracy and all attacks on the freedom of the press must be condemned with the greatest firmness. No cause can justify such an act of violence,

Beliefs and ideas do not have rights, only people do. Folks should of course be free to believe whatever they wish, what they don’t get to do is to impose their beliefs on others by either force or violence. The extremists that do so might believe they are judging and condemning heretics and infidels, but in reality all they are doing is demonstrating the degree of their own bias and bigotry. Their action is really a judgment upon themselves and confirms the depths of their insecurity and intolerance.

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