‘Charlie Hebdo’ Basically Just Thinks All Muslims Are To Blame For Terrorism. | Gradient
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‘Charlie Hebdo’ Basically Just Thinks All Muslims Are to Blame for Terrorism.

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Following the ISIS-led terrorist attacks on French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo last year, there was a slight awkwardness to the groundswell of support. The #JeSuisCharlie hashtags and impassioned missives on the importance of free speech and political humor just barely covered an uncomfortable truth: Charlie Hebdo kind of sucked. When their humor wasn’t outright offensive, it was just juvenile. Nevertheless, offensive and juvenile humor is just as worthy of protection as Shakespearean poetry, so the world rallied.

But last week, Charlie Hebdo made a serious withdrawal from the trove of goodwill they’d spent the past year mustering with an editorial titled “How Did We End Up Here?” that confirmed the suspicions of its harshest critics. Charlie Hebo’s cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad and various well-known Muslims in degrading, humiliating situations isn’t just some kind of fancy French satire that other countries just don’t get. No, Charlie Hebdo just really believes that extremist terrorism is “the end of a philosophical line” for Islam.

The editorial itself puts the spotlight on various non-extremist Muslims to show how even they, though seemingly innocent, contribute to attacks like the one in Brussels from last month. For example, in discussing famed Muslim professor Tariq Ramadan, the editorial said:

Tariq Ramadan is never going to grab a Kalashnikov with which to shoot journalists at an editorial meeting. Nor will he ever cook up a bomb to be used in an airport concourse. Others will be doing all that kind of stuff. It will not be his role. His task, under cover of debate, is to dissuade people from criticising his religion in any way.

Ramadan, it bears noting, condemned the attacks on Charlie Hebdo.

The editorial also discusses a “local baker” who, even though he’s “likeable and always has a ready smile for all his customers,” nevertheless contributes in his own way to extremist terrorism by not selling any pork at his bakery. And Charlie Hebdo‘s editorial proclaims that “this veiled woman. She is an admirable woman” who is also unknowingly contributing to extremist terrorism by wearing the burqa. And so on. These regular, innocent Muslims are, to quote the editorial, “the tip of the iceberg” and terrorism can’t happen “without everyone’s contribution.”

The article was widely condemned across the Internet.

Nigerian-American writer Teju Cole took to Facebook to write a terrifically reasoned critique which is worth reading in full, but said in part that it was:

“hard not to recall the vicious development of “the Jewish question” in Europe and the horrifying persecution it resulted in. Charlie’s logic is frighteningly similar: that there are no innocent Muslims, that ‘something must be done’ about these people, regardless of their likeability, their peacefulness, or their personal repudiation of violence.”

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