Reza Aslan blames Charlie Hebdo massacre on France’s “inability to tolerate multiculturalism”

If your blood pressure is sufficiently low and you’re sitting down, you might want to go to Real Clear Politics and see the video interview of Reza Aslan on the Charlie Hebdo killings. The critical parts are also transcribed on the site. And you can get idea of his theme right out of the gate, for when asked about the causes of the murders, Aslan begins by saying this:

REZA ASLAN: Europe is facing nothing short of an identity crisis. Look, the fact of the matter is there have been these seismic changes on the continent, culturally, racially, religiously, politically. And that’s resulted in this intense anti-immigrant and more specifically anti-Muslim backlash. In France, one of the largest parties, the party of Marine Le Pen, The National Front is a virulently anti-Muslim party and very well may win the next elections.You have the UKIP party in the UK, the Pegida party in Germany. This is a party whose sole platform seems to be let’s get rid of all Muslims. They have had for the last few months every week thousands and thousands of supporters marching in Germany in this notion that Muslims are some internal enemy. In Sweden we’ve had three mosque attacks over the last week. So this has created this sort of, intense, tension among the Muslim population in Europe and non-Muslim population.

It goes on and on in this vein, with Aslan seeing parity between European suspicion of Muslim immigrants and the Muslim killings of the Charlie Hebdo journalists (as well as two police, one a Muslim). The former, he implies, gave rise to the latter. Here’s Aslan’s “thoughtful” explanation of the violence:

ASLAN: Well, it’s not a justification by any means at all, but what Charlie Hebdorepresents for a lot of people in Europe is precisely this clash of civilizations. Look, the editors of Charlie Hebdo would unapologetically say they make fun of everybody, every religion, and they make fun of Muslims for a very specific reason to sort of show, or maybe demonstrate, that look if you maybe want to be in this country, if you want to be in France, then you have to deal with the French values, you have to rid yourself of your own values, ideals, norms, and you have to take on French values. And there have been a number of laws passed not only in France, with regard to prohibitions on Islamic dress, but throughout Europe about whether you can build mosques, about whether build minarets, et cetera. And this tension, this polarization I’m afraid has led to a lot of acts of violence. Not just the tragedy yesterday…

. . . And I think Charlie Hebdo was representative of this distinctly French value and an argument that unless you agree with that value well then you are not really French. That is an argument that a lot of young Muslims, and particularly young immigrants who come from different cultures, they just don’t buy into it and enough of them feel angry, perhaps, threatened, enough to actually take up violence.

. . . And particularly in France, an aggressively secularizing country that has never really tolerated multiculturalism or the kind of cultural religious diversity that is the hallmark of the United States, you can see how that would create the kinds of tensions that would bubble up occasionally into acts of violence on both sides.

As you might expect, Aslan does everything possible to avoid indicting the murderers of the French journalists. The farthest he goes in decrying the brutality of the killers is the statement above (and a call at the end of the interview for Muslim countries to condemn acts of violence).

ASLAN: Well, it’s not a justification by any means at all, but what Charlie Hebdo represents for a lot of people in Europe is precisely this clash of civilizations. . .

The “but” is telling. Aslan is more concerned with giving us a reason why the murders happened. Unfortunately, I don’t agree with his reasoning.

But first, let’s admit that there is in fact a grain of truth in what Aslan says: there is an unacceptable bias against Muslims, and immigrants in general, among the French and other Europeans as well. Mosques have been torched, Muslims attacked for being Muslim. That, in fact, was decried by Charlie Hebo, as Matthew pointed out in the previous post. That xenophobia and its attendant violence is odious, bigoted, and reprehensible.

But does it have anything to do with the Charlie Hebdo killings? Very little, I think. What the terrorists appeared to be taking their revenge on was not the bias faced by Muslims in France. Rather, it was a combination of the magazine’s publication of images of Muhammad (proscribed by many interpretations of the Qur’an), a perception that the journal was a beacon of Islamophobia (it wasn’t; it shone its light on Islamic perfidy), and, most important, a general hatred of the West and its democratic (and perceived “anti-Islamic”) values.

What is wrong with “multiculturalism”? That depends on how you define it. If you mean “tolerating or celebrating the customs of people from another land,” it’s fine—and desirable. The U.S. would be bland and uniform without its many immigrants, their celebrations and holidays, their food, their politics, their philosophies, and so on. But when multiculturalism involves importing antidemocratic ideas into a democratic culture, then it becomes problematic.  The kind of “multiculturalism” that Charlie Hebdo opposed, and wished to be dissolved by “French” values, was Islam’s veneration of sharia law, its institutionalization of the subjugation of women, its calls for the death of apostates, gays, and adulterers, its belief in corporal punishment for criminals, and the Muslim habit, in some places, of patrolling the streets, looking to find and admonish young Muslims partying, drinking, listening to music, dancing, and associating with members of the other sex. Fun is a no-no.

In other words, the more “enlightened” French are uncomfortable with those tenets of Islam that conflict with the values of the Enlightenment; and it’s just too bad if asking Muslims to conform to those values makes them uncomfortable. By all means keep your Ramadan, your delicious food, your clothing (except, perhaps, the veil), your prayers, your mosques, and so on. But don’t you dare try to quash freedom of speech, beat your wives, kill your daughters, or try to practice sharia law in France.

It surprises me that Aslan can’t fathom that multiculturalism can be seen in several different ways, some of which are commendable and others odious. Actually, I’m sure he can, but he’s so committed to Islamic apologetics that he won’t admit that anything about Muslim “culture” is inimical to democracy.

I’m pretty sure that even if all the unconscionable French bias against immigrants were to cease, it wouldn’t for a moment stop the drive of Islamic terrorism to wreck that society. The deep animus of extremist Muslims against Western values per se is just too strong. If you think otherwise, read the Pulitzer-Prize-winning book I constantly recommended: The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, by Lawrence Wright. You will find the animus right at the foundation of extemist Islam in the 1940s.

And even if you think (wrongly) that Charlie Hebdo was racist, sexist, and homophobic, it’s salubrious to listen once again to Christopher Hitchens’s most eloquent defense of free speech, whatever that speech contains:

112 Comments

  1. Nicholas
    Posted January 11, 2015 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Charlie Hebdo was as funny as a Klan rally or root canal.

    And the term cartoon does not necessarily impart humor or pleasant witticisms. History has shown us some of the vilest examples of racism and antisemitism by way of the scartoons. But no one deserves to die over any opinion or expression of thought. That’s the axiomatic, pedestrian retort that must always follow the obvious. It’s similar to when a criminal is shot by police, you must always say, “It’s a tragedy, every life is worth something.”

    Yes, thanks for the proviso and condition.

    But as to Charlie Hebdo, it ain’t the Onion or Daily Show or National Lampoon. Somehow the term cartoon has been conflated and coopted to suggest a euphemistic revision of what Charlie Hebdo is and has been. Before it was Charlie Hebdo, France’s most controversial magazine even by French standards was known as L’Hebdo Hara-Kiri. Hara-Kiri had one mission only: to be as “dumb and nasty” as possible (their words). Pay particular attention to that, all you cartoon fans. The motive and intent and direction and plan were to abrade and sting and piss off. Mission accomplished, mes amis.

    And why this is critical is to understand that our piquant and raucous humor, by our timid standards, knows no comparison to Charlie Hebdo. Remember, we’re the epicenter of political correctness. At least, selective PC.

    How many folks know that one cartoon portrayed France’s black Justice Minister Christiane Taubira as a monkey? Oh, that would play just great here. Right.

    • Derrick
      Posted January 11, 2015 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      “How many folks know that one cartoon portrayed France’s black Justice Minister Christiane Taubira as a monkey? Oh, that would play just great here. Right.”

      They were having a go at the racist reactions against her, including having bananas thrown at her (by right wing Catholic protestors). I know the images are provocative but the fact that they usually come with captions in French and it’s about french current affairs it should alert one to the fact that maybe there’s more to it than immediately meets the eye

      • Nicholas
        Posted January 11, 2015 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Derrick,

        Ok.

        It’s possible to disagree with its message and allow and permit and countenance its right to be offensive.

        Let me repeat: You can condemn the cartoon and the murder of the cartoonist simultaneously.

        In my perfect world, nothing should ever be prohibited from expression except for the obvious. But, no, I find Charlie Hebdo offensive, crass, crude, hateful and worse, not funny in the least. And that’s where Americans can relate. There’s almost a sense of mandatory acceptance of the message whole cloth with no room for reservation or disagreement. America thrives on being offended for everything and everywhere. If some celeb drops an F-bomb, Janet Jackson suffers a wardrobe malfunction and flashes an armored areola or mammilla that requires the visual acuity of a fighter pilot to even notice, if Michael Richards goes off on a racist rant, name it, we call for their heads. The same folks who march in solidarity today would be calling for the prosecution and incarceration of the foregoing subjects yesterday.

        So we have inconsistent allegiances and fealty, and I submit again, most of those who are publicly ardent in support of Charlie Hebdo would have cursed its subject matter had it been published here.

        • Posted January 11, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

          Nicholas,

          Do you want to admit you’re wrong about that cartoon? Or is that what your “okay” means?

          We like people who admit their mistakes.

          • Bala
            Posted January 11, 2015 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

            It looks like Charlie Hebdo is the French South Park. Any outsider who looks into it for the first time will be shocked without knowing the context.

            • Jonathan Wallace
              Posted January 12, 2015 at 3:39 am | Permalink

              Yes, good point.
              Hara-Kiri, the precursor to Charlie Hebdo did indeed have the sub-title “Journal bête et méchant” but the mission to offend was not purposeless. There was a point to many of the cartoons, which were in fact, often also very funny.

        • mathieu siol
          Posted January 12, 2015 at 3:48 am | Permalink

          It’s beyond me how intelligent people can so widely miss the mark. Accusations of racism of CH are simply ludicrous. Cabu, Charb and the others were people tolerant in the highest degree. What they fought for was secularism, criticism of any form of bigotry, hatred and any form of extremism. And yes, over the years I can assure you they have mocked everybody (muslims, jews, christians, right, left, anybody). How can you not see that they use the codes of the people they are trying to make fun of, to expose their shortcomings?
          I am french, and hope that this type of humor, irreverent, subversive and sometimes yeah in the breach of taste will outlast any sort of attack directed to suppress it.
          Also, you might be interested in knowing that racism is punishable under french law. Over the 22 years of its existence NOT ONE charge of racism was retained against CH (not for a lack of trials believe me). Doesn’t it say something?

          • conn suits
            Posted January 12, 2015 at 4:37 am | Permalink

            How can you not see that they use the codes of the people they are trying to make fun of, to expose their shortcomings?

            Comedian Stephen Colbert does the same thing here. The style is different and he’s an actor comedian not a cartoonist. But yes we know what that is. Of course to understand some of them you really need to know the context. Like the thing about the Black justice minister being insulted in those true racist terms. Thanks for the info Mathieu.

          • conn suits
            Posted January 12, 2015 at 4:37 am | Permalink

            How can you not see that they use the codes of the people they are trying to make fun of, to expose their shortcomings?

            Comedian Stephen Colbert does the same thing here. The style is different and he’s an actor comedian not a cartoonist. But yes we know what that is. Of course to understand some of them you really need to know the context. Like the thing about the Black justice minister being insulted in those true racist terms. Thanks for the info Mathieu.

        • Posted January 12, 2015 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

          In not a single example that you gave about American sensibilities do I ever remember anyone calling for the prosecution or incarceration of the offenders. The closest example of that would be the wardrobe malfunction in which the FCC received complaints and a fine of the network that aired it was called for, but no one was threatened with prosecution or incarceration, let alone violence or death. In each instance of offense you mentioned, speech was met with speech – as it should be.

      • blacktriangle
        Posted January 12, 2015 at 4:24 am | Permalink

        There’s a good discussion about that specific cartoon here http://67-tardis-street.tumblr.com/post/107589955860/dear-us-followers.

        It’s enough that these cartoonists were killed by religious supremacists, we don’t need faux-liberals smearing them with racism before they are buried.

        • conn suits
          Posted January 12, 2015 at 4:38 am | Permalink

          Here here. And damn straight!

          • seriouslytalib
            Posted January 13, 2015 at 4:18 am | Permalink

            French Govt should now atleast realise that Freedom of expression and insult are not the same.

            http://talibtabbu.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/freedom-of-expression-or-freedom-of-insult/

            • GBJames
              Posted January 13, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink

              Good example of a distinction without a difference.

              I consider all disagreement with me to be an insult.

              • seriouslytalib
                Posted January 13, 2015 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

                That is your problem GB James. General definition says, disagreement with reason is criticism. Insult is slandering. Sound minds can make the difference.

              • GBJames
                Posted January 14, 2015 at 7:30 am | Permalink

                Your comment is profoundly offensive to me.

                May I kill you now?

            • Posted January 13, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink

              Egregious victim blaming. Da Roolz prohibit further comment. Please choose your own epithet from the following list: foul, nasty, unpleasant, bad, disagreeable, horrid, horrible, dreadful, abominable, atrocious, offensive, obnoxious, odious, unsavory, repulsive, disgusting, distasteful, loathsome, hateful, nauseating, sickening; disgraceful, appalling, shocking, sorry, shabby, shameful, dishonorable, execrable, heinous, abhorrent, deplorable, monstrous, wicked, evil, iniquitous, nefarious, depraved, debased; contemptible, despicable, reprehensible.

              /@

      • ase
        Posted January 12, 2015 at 4:45 am | Permalink

        With regards to the Christiane Taubira kerfuffle, I’d just like to give a little more context so you can decide for yourself with more information.

        what happened was that this far-right magazine associated with the FN published a cover with a headline that Christiane Taubira “finds her banana again” (literally). In French, the expression “have a banana” is supposed to refer to the smile on your face being like a banana; in other words you are so happy that you have a huge smile on your face.

        Of course the FN associated magazine immediately disclaimed all accusations of racism, but what makes it especially disingenuous is that the particular picture they picked had Taubira looking quite unhappy. So, if she “had a banana” at that time, it was most definitely not on her face.

        So, this was the political context when Charlie Hebdo printed this picture. It had the headline of the Rassemblement Bleu Raciste, a obvious take on Rassemblement Bleu Marine (which is the loose coalition headed by the FN), and they included a logo which evoked, as far as I can tell, the logo used by the FN during the 2014 municipal elections.

        In other words, they were saying that these were the real values of the RBM and this was how the RBM saw Taubira.

        Now, you may say they could have done it in another way without actually putting her face on the body of a monkey, and you’re probably right. But then again, so could have the gun men, right?

        Whatever it is, the Daily Mail had an article which included two references to the fact that the Charlie Hebdo team was going to participate in a conference on racism: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2902337/First-picture-inside-blood-stained-Charlie-Hebdo-newsroom-Chilling-image-reveals-aftermath-Paris-massacre-left-12-people-dead.html

        I have no other details about it, but for those of you who are saying that Charlie Hebdo is racist, I hope this gives you more perspective. They may be plenty of things, but I’d submit that racist is most definitely not one of them. Insulting religion is not insulting race.

        • conn suits
          Posted January 12, 2015 at 4:57 am | Permalink

          Thanks. Spiffing!

    • winewithcats
      Posted January 11, 2015 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Well, count me as one person who already knew that. Then again I also know that the satire of that particular cartoon was not aimed at the Justice Minister, but at her political opponents who had previously portrayed her in just that manner. Context matters; in satire perhaps more so than in most endeavors.

      • Nicholas
        Posted January 11, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        Winewithcats,

        There’s an irony here.

        The professional and prototypical American left loves the hate crime, which stands to date as the quintessentially and fundamentally unconstitutional embarrassment since the neck tattoo. The idea is that speech that is deemed hateful and criminal thereby as to the message, especially when accompanying an already crime already cognizable at law, should subject the actor and declaration of the errant message to a higher level of prosecution and charge.

        Yet, and pay close attention, many of these folks are now calling for acceptance and tolerance and understanding as to Charlie Hebdo’s racist and hateful content.

        Again, we’re all in agreement that murder over objection to a message is never justified or warranted.

        • Posted January 11, 2015 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, but, if there’s any racist component to Charlie Hebdo, I’ve simply not seen it.

          Indeed, they explicitly target racism, as with the example of the minister portrayed as a monkey in order to lampoon the racists who made the connection first. Same deal with the welfare queens; they were exposing the racists for their racism. That you’ve got that bit exactly bass-ackwards should give you not the least bit of pause.

          Are they heavy-handed and crude? Sure. And I get that that’s not everybody’s style. But, if you’re going to criticize them, at least have the decency for being honest in your criticism. Just because you don’t like their aesthetics doesn’t give you free license to distort their politics.

          Cheers,

          b&

          • Genghis
            Posted January 11, 2015 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

            I agree that too many people comment on Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons without being aware of the full context. Something which is exacerbated by their having been written in a foreign language.

        • eric
          Posted January 12, 2015 at 8:46 am | Permalink

          The idea is that speech that is deemed hateful and criminal thereby as to the message, especially when accompanying an already crime already cognizable at law

          No, no, no. It is not ‘especially when accompanying’ a criminal act, it is only when accompanying a criminal act. At least in terms of the US legal definition, there can be no hate crime absent an otherwise regular crime. Determining hate crime vs. regular crime is analogous to determining first vs. second degree murder; once there is a crime, you will then consider motivation to decide how bad it is.

          And that’s why it’s not unconstitutional: because nobody is going to jail for their speech or thought. They are going to jail when they commit [crime X], but the amount of jail time they get is going to depend on whether they did X to terrorize some group of citizens, vs. doing X for some other more venal motive, such as to get money. That sort of looking at motivation to assess appropriate punishment is a perfectly reasonable and historically normal part of the justice system.

    • Mike Barnes
      Posted January 11, 2015 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Too many people lack familiarity with Charlie Hebdo’s style of humour. So like Nicholas here, they come across a Charlie Hebdo image or two on the web, rip it from its context and decry it as racist.

      Yet those who wrote and illustrated Charlie Hebdo were determined – and principled – anti-racists.

      For UK and US readers interested in the (very French) style of humour, this gives a lot more insight than Nicholas: http://www.quora.com/What-was-the-context-of-Charlie-Hebdos-cartoon-depicting-Boko-Haram-sex-slaves-as-welfare-queens

      • conn suits
        Posted January 12, 2015 at 4:54 am | Permalink

        Thank you so much for this Mike! I read it and I think I tweeted it. It’s fantastic. It translates the captions, and also explains the specific current events and French politics things that they’re alluding to. So everybody read it!

    • Pliny the in Between
      Posted January 11, 2015 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      When you qualify speech, it stops being free.

    • Posted January 11, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Nicholas: “Before it was Charlie Hebdo, France’s most controversial magazine even by French standards was known as L’Hebdo Hara-Kiri. Hara-Kiri had one mission only: to be as “dumb and nasty” as possible (their words).”
      ___

      Wikipedia disagrees: “In 1960, Georges “Professeur Choron” Bernier and François Cavanna launched a monthly magazine entitled Hara-Kiri.[5] Choron acted as the director of publication and Cavanna as its editor. Eventually Cavanna gathered together a team which included Roland Topor, Fred, Jean-Marc Reiser, Georges Wolinski, Gébé (fr), and Cabu. After an early reader’s letter accused them of being “dumb and nasty” (“bête et méchant”), the phrase became an official slogan for the magazine and made it into everyday language in France.”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Hebdo

      This is their style, to use the words of their opposition to skewer them with their own words. These cartoonists were creative, intelligent, and not dumb and nasty.

      Nicholas: “…France’s most controversial magazine even by French standards…”

      As a long-time resident of France, I disagree. Any right-wing paper is way more controversial.

      • Posted January 11, 2015 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        “As a long-time resident of France, I disagree. Any right-wing paper is way more controversial.”

        Très bon!

        /@

    • BillyJoe
      Posted January 11, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      Nicholas, if you had but read the previous but one post on this blog, you could have saved yourself some time and effort writing your misinformed comment, not to mention the embarrassment of having done so.

    • Catstantinople
      Posted January 11, 2015 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      >Charlie Hebdo was as funny as a Klan rally or root canal.

      So you’re the ultimate arbiter of humor? Did you subscribe to Charlie Hedbo? If not what does it matter to you? Clearly some people found it funny.

      And free speech protection doesn’t just apply to things that the general public find funny or have artistic merit.

      >And the term cartoon does not necessarily impart humor or pleasant witticisms. History has shown us some of the vilest examples of racism and antisemitism by way of the scartoons.

      History also shows up how easily people will use labels to shut down something they don’t like. (blasphemous, communist, racist)

      >Somehow the term cartoon has been conflated and coopted to suggest a euphemistic revision of what Charlie Hebdo is and has been. Before it was Charlie Hebdo, France’s most controversial magazine even by French standards was known as L’Hebdo Hara-Kiri. Hara-Kiri had one mission only: to be as “dumb and nasty” as possible (their words). Pay particular attention to that, all you cartoon fans. The motive and intent and direction and plan were to abrade and sting and piss off. Mission accomplished, mes amis.

      Charlie Hedbo is a newspaper. Unless they go around forcing people to look at their offensive material on giant posters who cares?

      I mean we have the Westboro Baptist Church in America picketing the funerals of fallen soldiers and gay marriage. Even they haven’t been beaten up or killed and they’re much more in-your-face and provacative.

      And being offended by Charlie Hedbo is like Christian fundies in America being offended by a breast on broadcast television. Who cares if there’s a breast on broadcast tv when the entire internet is full of things 100000x more lurid?

      You have stuff on Twitter that makes Charlie Hedbo look like Newsweek, what do you want to do about them?

      >And why this is critical is to understand that our piquant and raucous humor, by our timid standards, knows no comparison to Charlie Hebdo. Remember, we’re the epicenter of political correctness. At least, selective PC.

      So you’re basically trying to tell us how bad Charlie Hedbo is. You make it clear you dont’ think they deserve to die, but at the same time… What? They shouldn’t be venerated? Lets not posthoumously glorify them? Is that your issue?

      >How many folks know that one cartoon portrayed France’s black Justice Minister Christiane Taubira as a monkey? Oh, that would play just great here. Right.

      Sure, Charlie Hedbo was offensive to you, it had no artistic merit and wasn’t funny. Does that sum up your view well?

      Here’s my answer: I don’t care.

      Whatever was in Charlie Hedbo is irrelevant. The point is people were murdered for something they wrote on a newspaper/magazine.

    • Posted January 11, 2015 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      Not to pile on here, but:

      “Charlie Hebdo was as funny as a Klan rally or root canal.”

      Relevance?

      Can you imagine a criminal defender admonishing the court to appreciate how bigoted her client’s victim was?

      • Posted January 11, 2015 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

        (Of course, I was granting the “Eddington Concession above: even if CH was publishing legitimately racist material, etc. But as others have pointed out, it was, in reality, not.)

    • Posted January 11, 2015 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

      Ah. Another American who had never heard of Charlie Hebdo until a week ago, saying that it’s not funny. How novel.

      • eric
        Posted January 12, 2015 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        CH should do a magazine about the phenomenon. 🙂

    • Patricia
      Posted January 12, 2015 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      speak for yourself. I thought it was hilarious.

    • Ron
      Posted January 13, 2015 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

      “Charlie Hebdo was as funny as a Klan rally or root canal… racism… anti-semitism… the objective to piss off… etc”

      And what the hell does this have to do with the issue a hand, pray do tell? Charlie Hebdo wasn’t funny or even witty IMO, but it IS part of the backbone of western society which is free speech: they had the right to be abrasive as we had the right to ignore or critisize them… This little shits didn’t attack Charlie Hebdo, they attacked our right to speak freely our mind. Granted, some of those opinions will be filth, but if we lose the freedom of speech then Europe goes centuries back, right in the middle of its dark times… they didn’t attack just a satiric magazine: they attacked all the people that live in Europe and enjoy its culture… millions of Muslims included…

  2. Derrick
    Posted January 11, 2015 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    If Aslan thinks the attacks on Charlie Hebdo was due to it upholding French values doesn’t that means Aslan is on the same page as the French Nationale?

  3. Barry Lyons
    Posted January 11, 2015 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Jerry, did you happen to see “Real Time with Bill Maher” last night? He had Salman Rushdie on, and he talked about the “but” people.

    • Nwalsh
      Posted January 11, 2015 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      I saw it online, very interesting. Something Rushdie said made me think: something about that great purveyor of fiction Charles Darwin. What’s all that about?

      • Randy Schenck
        Posted January 11, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Rushdie was being sarcastic with that. It was a joke you know…..to the religious he was fiction.

  4. lkr
    Posted January 11, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Curious to see how RAslan then explains the other member of this cell murdering shoppers at a kosher deli – after the original duo are killed.

    [And by the way THREE police killed, one without provocation by the deli guy.]

    • Jonathan Wallace
      Posted January 12, 2015 at 3:47 am | Permalink

      I don’t think the other policeman that were killed can be accused of provocation either!

      • Jonathan Wallace
        Posted January 12, 2015 at 3:48 am | Permalink

        Sorry that should be plural – police officers.

  5. stephen
    Posted January 11, 2015 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    May I please have permission to be impolite? Reza Aslan is a pernicious twat.We do not lack for such in the Old World by the way,eg anjem choudhury,und so weiter,just to essay a bit of multicultualarism …

    • Filippo
      Posted January 11, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      sub

  6. Posted January 11, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Pegida isn’t a political party. It’s a movement, ergo nothing you could vote for.

  7. Posted January 11, 2015 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Reza Aslan is the proof that having a PhD does not necessarily make one wise.

  8. Diana MacPherson
    Posted January 11, 2015 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    It seems very simple to me. A group of thugs tried to shut down a paper because it made fun of ideas they hold sacred.

    Making fun of sacred ideas and therefore making no idea sacred, is a cornerstone of a democratic society.

    Killing people because you are offended is not allowed in a democratic society.

    Therefore these people cannot reconcile the values of a democratic society and their values.

    So, the choice is clear. Deal with these values or you will find yourself in trouble.

    I fail to see how this is racist. It applies to all members of French society equally.

    But, of course Islam teaches that you must avenge the prophet, force your ways on others by enacting Sharia, etc., etc. It’s annoying like Christianity in that it constantly seeks to push itself on others but it has much sharper teeth and claws than Christianity.

    It is unfortunate that the extreme Islamic reaction (killing people who “insult” Muhammad) causes an extreme right wing reaction (targeting mosques) and it is the regular people (cartoonists, Muslims who are happy to live in France) who get hurt.

    • Posted January 11, 2015 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Ramen, sister.

      b&

      • Randy Schenck
        Posted January 11, 2015 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        Excellent….that’s why they pay you the big money, or at least they should.

    • Posted January 11, 2015 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      +1

      Especially the bit about how although right-wingers may be willing to acknowledge that Islam is problematic, they still aren’t on the sane (yes, “sane”) side of the issue.

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 12, 2015 at 2:19 am | Permalink

      + 4

    • Posted January 12, 2015 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      I couldn’t agree more.

  9. Canoe
    Posted January 11, 2015 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for the link to Hitchens. It’s a reminder, especially poignant since he’s no longer here, how good he was, how good the British educational system that produced him can be, and of the difference between merely good and quintessentially superb argument.

    • Posted January 11, 2015 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear. It’s always such a pleasure to watch Hitchens think and speak so eloquently and clearly. He is greatly missed. I hadn’t come across this particular video yet, so thank you very much Prof. Ceiling Cat for posting it.

    • Posted January 11, 2015 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      While I enjoyed listening to Hitchen’s speech, I was surprised to find him make an error in his ‘Man for All Seasons’ anecdote. The quote he discussed was not from the courtroom scene when he was defending himself against ruthless Cromwell, but rather a philosophy discussion with his son-in-law. It had to do with Thomas More explaining his respect for the law.

    • darrelle
      Posted January 12, 2015 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      I clicked “play” intending only to listen to a minute or two, just for remembrance’s sake. But, even though I have listened to this speech several times in the past, I could not turn it off.

  10. Genghis
    Posted January 11, 2015 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    It’s not that France can’t accept multi-culturalism it’s that some religious people cannot accept multiculturalism and all that implies.

    • Mike Paps
      Posted January 11, 2015 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Indeed

      • merilee
        Posted January 11, 2015 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

        yes indeedy

  11. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted January 11, 2015 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    “In Sweden we’ve had three mosque attacks over the last week.”

    What we know is that there were fires.

    Two was more or less ascertained as arson, with a third possible. The investigations haven’t finished yet (AFAIK).

    [One of those fires happened somewhere in my own hometown of Uppsala.]

  12. Posted January 11, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on scarcesense and commented:
    Let’s not forget, it’s all our fault…

  13. Aldous
    Posted January 11, 2015 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    The”journalists shouldn’t be killed BUT” people would be making same basic argument even if Charlie Hebdo was a random bakery instead of satire magazine. Everything is seen through a filter where Westerners are only people on planet with agency to commit evil: “Obviously bakery slaughter was a horrible crime BUT we must understand how OUR foreign policy, imperialism etc” Which is absolutely valid and should be examined. But it’s simplistic/narcissistic to deny other people on planet have agency to commit evil. It’s not always about you and your neurotic self flagellation over the success of the west.

    Aslan casts the French desire to retain French values with an ominous nativist tone but consider this map: http://i.imgur.com/TR9UrYw.png Is this something to be ashamed of? Really?

    The Liberal/progressive desire to protect out-groups is a value I’ve long cherished and is among the western values we should be proud of but I’m sad to see it mutate into a naive blinkered view of the world that will only serve to undermine the very institutions that make us great.

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 12, 2015 at 2:23 am | Permalink

      I really like your last paragraph.

      • conn suits
        Posted January 12, 2015 at 5:10 am | Permalink

        Re: Aldous’s last paragraph. That is easily the best statement of that idea I have heard so far. Just superb. Put it on a T-shirt! Oh, a rather large T-shirt. Okay, a caftan!

        • Diane G.
          Posted January 12, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

          😉

  14. Aldous
    Posted January 11, 2015 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    “1. Don’t make fear-mongering generalizations about groups of people
    2. Westerners are a hair’s breadth from going Kristallnacht on Muslims”

    -basic crappy argument I hear from Islamist apologists

    • conn suits
      Posted January 12, 2015 at 5:11 am | Permalink

      They actually mention Kristallnacht? Zow.

  15. Graham
    Posted January 11, 2015 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    “ASLAN: Well, it’s not a justification by any means at all, but what Charlie Hebdo represents for a lot of people in Europe is precisely this clash of civilizations. . .”

    As Fritz Perls used to say, Everything before the “but” is bullsh*t.

  16. Golkarian
    Posted January 11, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    This begs the question, why was Hebdo attacked and not UKIP or Le Pen? In my opinion it has to do with religion instilling a fear of ideas over a fear of intolerance or persecution. They know persecution can’t keep them down, but ideas…that’s something different entirely.

  17. Jimbo
    Posted January 11, 2015 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    How Aslan earned the title of “go to Muslim” on US TV baffles me. Please replace him with Majid Nawaz, immediately so Americans can actually enjoin the debate.

    I miss Hitch so much! I wish he was here to see the French solidarity.

    • conn suits
      Posted January 12, 2015 at 5:15 am | Permalink

      No kidding, eh? His expertise is supposedly in religion, but he keeps saying these attacks don’t have anything to do with religion. So what’s he doing there? This attack had to do with satire. Why don’t they have a satirist on? (I don’t actually know what the show was maybe they did, she said hopefully.) Why don’t they have on, I don’t know, John Oliver or Ben Karlin.

  18. Randy Schenck
    Posted January 11, 2015 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Instead of being troubled about the Multi culturalism or the clash of cultures, Aslan would do well to think of assimulation by the Muslims as they move into other societies. Some would almost call it a kind of evolution.

    Even the most narrow minded Christians found a way to evolve and remove the worst parts of their practices, although not nearly all. But enough to give up the killing and torture.

    Resa Aslan would say I know nothing because I have not spent years studying religion as he has. But I would say that being buried in it as he has, makes him unqualified to see much of anything clearly.

  19. Bhagwan
    Posted January 11, 2015 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Proof that apologetics for a cruel, viscious death cult will make you a cruel and immoral person. Amazing – he blamed the victims for their murder.

    Nothing benign about Karen Armstrong or Reza. Defenders of murder and terrorism.

    • conn suits
      Posted January 12, 2015 at 5:17 am | Permalink

      Yes.

  20. Eric
    Posted January 11, 2015 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    Once again we have someone essentially blaming the victims. It is immoral in the highest degree!

  21. Posted January 11, 2015 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

     Voltaire: “To find out who rules overyou, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize. 

  22. merilee
    Posted January 11, 2015 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    sub

  23. Nora
    Posted January 12, 2015 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    “But does it have anything to do with the Charlie Hebdo killings? Very little, I think. What the terrorists appeared to be taking their revenge on was not the bias faced by Muslims in France. Rather, it was a combination of the magazine’s publication of images of Muhammad …”

    It is both. It cannot be solely one or the other, but it most certainly is both.

    Look,. I agree that if tensions did not exist between Muslims and the French state, and some of the general public, an act like this still could have been carried out. And I agree that the distinct symbol of attacking Charlie Hebdo, who made fun of Muhammed the Prophet, makes it a religious-based issue (and thus linked to the issue of violent extremism within Islam today).

    But this attack happened in France, by French-born citizens (of Algerian descent). And, as someone who has family in France of Algerian descent (who are Muslim), I really cannot express (and I don’t think you nor I could ever really understand) the extent to which young French-Maghrebines feel like they are hated by the French state. Let me give you an example: a young cousin of mine recently told me he feels like the media in France is trying to create a civil war between Muslims and “Franco-French”. There is a lot of tension there – not to mention all of the socio-economic struggles faced by the Muslim population. Whether or not you think this is just (you’ve got some interesting points about the ups and downs of multiculturalism), this is the situation.

    So again, it’s both. I agree that Aslan is looking too far on one side, but you’re actually doing the same thing.

    • conn suits
      Posted January 12, 2015 at 4:43 am | Permalink

      That sounds good Nora until you actually think about it. The racism of French society made this guy go into a kosher grocery store to kill Jews?

      There is a very specific ideology behind this. Jihadism and it’s religious supremacism. It invented this great purpose, it pays for it and it trained these young men as commandos.

      All the young French Black men face the prejudice. But not all of them become fanatical killers.

      • conn suits
        Posted January 13, 2015 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        I have to correct something really stupid I said above. At the start of my comment I’m talking about the Charlie Hebdo killers who were North African. And not Black. By the end I seem to think that they as well as the murderer at the kosher grocery store was Black. Sorry. Of course North Africans are subject to racist prejudice in France. And of course that isn’t why these two fellows murdered all those people at Charlie Hebdo. It was ideology. Religious and political. Requiring money and commando training.

  24. conn suits
    Posted January 12, 2015 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    After reading about the hideous Reza Aslan (with his ironic Narnia name) you might want to cleanse your mental pallet with this nice commentary from British journalist Nick Cohen

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/11/paris-attacks-we-must-overcome-fear-or-selfcensorship-will-spread?CMP=twt_gu

    It’s on liberal/left squeamishness about Islamist terror.

    And Heather Hastie’s blog Heather’s Homilies has a veritable Reza Aslan Watch. Several very fact-based posts about his shenanigans. The one about him and female genital mutilation will make you so angry your brain will turn inside out. Don’t read it when you’re supposed to be in bed!

    Lastly, it’s time we start talking about these Islamist attacks as the fascist-like and government based thing that they are. Don’t debate the apologists. Paint a different picture.

    • Posted January 12, 2015 at 2:40 am | Permalink

      Aslan is the Turkish for lion. That’s why CS Lewis used it for the Narnia lion.

      • conn suits
        Posted January 12, 2015 at 4:48 am | Permalink

        Thanks. That’s fun to know. I have to admit I am childishly amused that Reza has the same name as the storybook lion.

        And even more childishly amused by the lion, lyin’ pun. 😄

  25. kelskye
    Posted January 12, 2015 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    “And even if you think (wrongly) that Charlie Hebdo was racist, sexist, and homophobic, it’s salubrious to listen once again to Christopher Hitchens’s most eloquent defense of free speech, whatever that speech contains”
    Indeed!

    It’s been sad for me to see how many people are gleefully willing to give away someone else’s right to free speech on the grounds that it’s the wrong kind of politics (no right-wing politics allowed!), or that Muslims are a persecuted minority so it’s wrong to critique them, or that sexist racist speech should be punishable by law. It’s quite scary how easily liberty can be cast aside when it comes do views we disagree with.

    • Posted January 12, 2015 at 2:35 am | Permalink

      “If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don’t like. Goebbels was in favor of freedom of speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re in favor of freedom of speech, that means you’re in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise.” — Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992)

      /@

      • kelskye
        Posted January 12, 2015 at 2:39 am | Permalink

        Exactly.

  26. Roger
    Posted January 12, 2015 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    Does anyone ever ask him what are his stupidest beliefs? Why would he pick one stupid religion over another stupid religion? There’s gotta be at least one stupid belief in there somewhere. “Reza, what are the stupidest beliefs you have.”

  27. Nell Whiteside
    Posted January 12, 2015 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    Appreciation of satire requires sophistication, a sense of humour, an open mind and an understanding of context.

    Congratulations to the Jesuits who published some Charlie Hebdo cartoons lampooning the pope – and for their explanation on this website.

    The indoctrinated mother grundies who blame the cartoonists should perhaps relocate to somewhere like Saudi Arabia where their sensibilities about free speech will not be offended?

  28. Ionescu
    Posted January 12, 2015 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Still, France still has some interesting intellectuals in this debate. Like Mohamed Sifaoui. An Algerian journalist who witnessed the results of Muslim Brotherhood actions both in North Africa and in France. His oppinion is that islam is fascism[1]. Sadly, most of his articles are in French only. For those who can read French (the Bing automated translation is acceptable) he has a very recent article about Tariq Ramadan[2].

    [1] http://www.meforum.org/1870/mohamed-sifaoui-i-consider-islamism-to-be-fascism

    [2] http://www.huffingtonpost.fr/mohamed-sifaoui/tariq-ramadan-nest-ni-charlie-ni-flic-ni-juif_b_6448888.html

  29. eric
    Posted January 12, 2015 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Azlan:

    the editors of Charlie Hebdo would unapologetically say they make fun of everybody, every religion, and they make fun of Muslims for a very specific reason to sort of show, or maybe demonstrate, that look if you maybe want to be in this country, if you want to be in France, then you have to deal with the French values, you have to rid yourself of your own values, ideals, norms, and you have to take on French values.

    I don’t think anyone (even CH) is demanding that their subjects like their humor or like the fact that they’ve been skewered. By all means, be offended if you want. But as a resident of a country, yes you do have to obey that country’s laws. Including the ones protecting free speech. As has been said many times before and will be said in the future, the proper response to bad speech* is not censorship, but good speech.
    [*I’m taking the subject’s position in this case merely for arguments’ sake; if they view CH humor as bad speech, then their proper response would be good speech].

    Jerry:

    But when multiculturalism involves importing antidemocratic ideas into a democratic culture, then it becomes problematic… In other words, the more “enlightened” French are uncomfortable with those tenets of Islam that conflict with the values of the Enlightenment; and it’s just too bad if asking Muslims to conform to those values makes them uncomfortable.

    I might go even a bit further than you in defending the notion of free speech. In line with what I said above, I don’t think we ask incoming immigrants to ‘conform to our values’ even in important things like antidemocratic ideals. By all means, hold the opinion that the best form of government is a theocracy. Believe in your heart that women shouldn’t get the vote or that corporal punishment for theft is an appropriate response. Heck, you can even vote in favor of those things if they ever make it to a ballot. What you can’t do is violate the law in support of those ideals. You can’t try and get society to accept them at the point of your gun, you must use the standard democratic processes like everyone else promoting their ideology.

    I doubt there is a single person in either the US or in France that is perfectly happy with their countries’ current set of laws. We all want to change something. None of us conform 100% to the values expressed by our laws. But what we insist on is that all us non-conformers settle such differences of values by vote, ballot, and legal amendment, rather than by gun, sword, and fist. You must obey the law on that. And you don’t even have to like that law if you don’t want to, but you must obey it.

  30. Garnetstar
    Posted January 12, 2015 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Baloney. America hasn’t got France’s “agressive secularism”, yet we regularly have Christian terrorists who commit massacre for their religious causes. Do the words “Olympic bombing” or “Olakhoma Federal Building” ring any bells?

    I wholly agree that the content of speech is completely irrelevant. I don’t care if someone’s publishing the most vile, offensive, racist, Nazi, apartheid viciousness. Murder is not permissable.

  31. Posted January 12, 2015 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Yes and that Jonathan Swift one. He should have been taken out and shot for advocating cannibalism by Americans in ‘A Modest Proposal’. Indubitably.

    When humour fails, be worried about ‘free speech’. Take nothing for granted.

  32. Memo Akten
    Posted January 12, 2015 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Jerry, as much as I usually enjoy your articles and videos, I couldn’t disagree more with you on this article. Most critically, what matters is not that *I* disagree with you, but that articles like this are *incredibly damaging*. I explain more here
    View story at Medium.com

    • Posted January 12, 2015 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Yeah, right. Well there are other Muslims who take precisely the opposite stand of the article that you mention. And that one you link to takes a “blame-the-West” stand on Muslim violence and an implicit call to NEVER INSULT ISLAM.

      Sorry, but we’ll have to agree to disagree. You can think that we should bow to the Muslim desire not to be offended, and say that the lashings on Friday are the result of the West’s oppression (a ludicrous idea in my opinion), but I don’t for a minute see my post as damaging.

      • Memo Akten
        Posted January 12, 2015 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        wow, my article completely does *not* say blame the west, neither does it say never insult islam! wow you’re making judgements and you haven’t even read it, perhaps skimmed through at high speed, missing the point completely. I am saddened to have suddenly lost a lot of respect for you.

        • Posted January 12, 2015 at 10:46 am | Permalink

          wow, my article completely does *not* say blame the west, neither does it say never insult islam!

          Then your writing, if not your thinking, is muddled.

          Statements such as this, which you yourself highlighted, are generally understood as being “dog-whistle” code for the exact interpretation Jerry took away from your article:

          I’m not trying to make excuses for, or sympathize with the killers. I’m just trying to understand the situation that causes this mindset, so I don’t inadvertently contribute to creating more killers in the future.

          Cheers,

          b&

  33. Posted January 12, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Here is the link to the transcript of Hitchen’s speech on free speech
    http://genius.com/Christopher-hitchens-on-free-speech-annotated

    IMO, Islame is a religion which uses every method it can think of to intimidate people into towing the line ( the line being which ever one the sImam says / simon says is the apt interpretation of original Arabic)
    Islame uses the psychological threat of eternal torture, threat of physical death, loss of job, freedom, status, money to pressurize people to join the gang.

    How can this be countered without resorting to similar tactics ? Can reasoning alone enable each individual to say no to superstition & harmful behaviour ?

    Both Islam and Christianity have the idea of an apocalyptic ending to the human race in the near future. If that can be shown to probably be fantasy then maybe we can focus on the real challenges of both maintaining civilization for thousands of years and also keeping what biodiversity remains on Earth.
    In BBC show,”Lost land of the volcano” Steve Backshall, George C. McGavin, Gordon Buchanan headed a 2009 team recording the flora and fauna of Papua New Guinea in the hope to getting an area near Mt bosavi protected from the loggers.

    Can we plant new forests so as not to cut down virgin rain forest or use other materials instead ?

  34. FloM
    Posted January 12, 2015 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Small drop in this ocean of wrongness, but Germany’s Pegida is not a party. It’s a local movement, confined to Saxony, where there are practically no muslims. It will go away soon…

  35. matt
    Posted January 12, 2015 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    sheesh, george packer was right. lots of pretzel logic going into pinpointing they “why” of all this brutality. am i really to believe that a small weekly paper is to be the hub of multicultural tolerance in Paris? regardless, these cartoons are about as racist as Ronald McDonald. funny or not, they were all incisive and thoughtful critiques on the culture in Paris, etc.

    i’ve had friends on facebook claim that reproducing the images in the context of a news story is “obnoxiously offensive and racist” and these same people openly admit that they do not hold artists and comedians, etc. to that same standard. was it irresponsible to reproduce mel gibson’s anti-semitic remarks in every corner of the internet? hell no. it would have been irresponsible to let him get away with saying such things without a bit of ridicule.

    the same is happening here. these cartoons highlighted some of the most barbaric and absurd practices by muslim extremists by depicting their ideas in cartoon form. did anyone cry racism when the catholic church hid and protected the priests guilty of sodomizing young boys in the church? it was the idea that the church gave cover to such behavior, and enabling it in many ways, that paved the way for the criticism it deserved to get.

    reza aslan is to intellectualism what KISS cover bands are to music: completely terrible and misguided.

    • matt
      Posted January 12, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      “am i really to believe that a small weekly paper is to be the hub of multicultural intolerance in Paris?”

      corrected.

  36. GBJames
    Posted January 13, 2015 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    “The “but” is telling. Aslan is more concerned with giving us a reason why the murders happened.”

    Indeed. I would recommend to Reza Aslan these comments from Ahmet Hakan.

    We are going through days when sentences containing “but” have peaked.

    “I condemn this, but…”
    “Of course killing is horrendous, but…”
    “One would not support a massacre, but…”
    “I would never tolerate what has been done, but…”

    Here’s how to understand these types of sentences: Disregard all of the words before the “but.” Concentrate on what comes after the “but,” because the actual ideas are hidden there.

    • GBJames
      Posted January 13, 2015 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      (and sub)

  37. Posted January 13, 2015 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Christopher Hitchens begins his speech with a reference to “Shouting fire in a crowded theater” which is a popular metaphor for speech or actions made for the principal purpose of creating unnecessary panic. The phrase is a paraphrasing of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.’s opinion in the United States Supreme Court case Schenck v. United States in 1919, which held that the defendant’s speech in opposition to the draft during World War I was not protected free speech under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

    I wonder if both Christianity and Islam are crying fire, creating panic where there is no need? Where is the evidence for the fires of hell ?

    If someone falsely cried fire in a theater but no fire alarm bell was heard then people might ask if it was a prank. With so many test alarms now people might doubt it and ask if it was just another test ? In modern times schools and work places carry out practice exits to try to give the habit of calm procedure.

    If most were educated to a high enough standard in history of science, history of religion, comparative religion, etc and were aware of the reasons to think the scriptures were largely fictions then they would be more likely to ignore the cry of “fire” by priest & Imam.
    IMO it would be good if the world would say Mohammad was the last prophet because Allah was senile, got cancer and died in the 7th Century therefore the Coran ceased to apply after the 7th Century and we will just have to make up new & better rules now as best we see fit; to maximize human well being and minimize human suffering.

    A related Wikipedia article on Surrey Music Hall says: In 1856 religious services were held at the Music Hall by the famous Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, with an audience of 10,000 inside and as many outside unable to enter. It was marred by tragedy when someone shouted fire, and a panic to escape ensued. Seven were killed in the crush, and many injured.
    [How come Spurgeon had no ‘word of knowledge’ to call the alarm a hoax? How come not enough calm to exit in an orderly manner? How come no quick prayer for angels to extinguish any fire ?]
    The music hall was destroyed by fire in 1861

  38. Sand
    Posted January 13, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Way to blame the victim, Reza.

  39. jonathanlk
    Posted January 14, 2015 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    France and America are more or less, at least in writing, secular democracies which allow free speech. At least they are pointed in the right direction. This is the direction they should stay in. If you live in France or America, you know that ‘freedom of speech’ is constantly challenged, abused, upheld etc… and so is freedom of religion. People are still naturally confused by these brave new concepts. I grew up with the right to have my opinion and express it so I am used to it. If you get all uptight and hung about someone else’s expression, just form your own opinion, say something maybe if it’s so important to you, and move on. Don’t fret about it and kill people. If you want to live with us then obey our laws, respect our rights and freedoms. Try to be at least civil and maybe you will find greater acceptance. I would not move to a country for example, Pakistan or Afghanistan, where I would be subject to primitive laws written from what I consider an ignorant period in international history. I would be risking my life if I ever spoke the truth. If you prefer that move there. If you don’t like our ways then don’t move here.


4 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Worldwide, there have been several examples of those blaming the victim. Professor Jerry Coyne at Why Evolution Is True wrote about my old mate Reza Aslan, saving me the bother. Aslan is blaming “France’s […]

  2. […] in Paris last week is indefensible. Of course, Muslim apologists such as Reza Aslan are happy to blame the massacre on “France’s inability to tolerate multiculturalism”. As usual, no […]

  3. […] As Professor Jerry Coyne wrote in addressing this issue: […]

  4. […] https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/reza-aslan-blames-charlie-hebdo-massacre-on-franc…http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2015/01/08/reza_aslan_there_is_a_civil_war_taking_place_in_europe_france_tolerated_multiculturalism.html […]

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