Why Europe Shouldn’t Print the Cartoons

The horrendous murders in Paris appear to have ignited a firestorm of defenders of free speech urging us to “print the cartoons”, an understandable, and likely to be unheeded plea, at least by the West’s major newspapers. That is all for the good, for contrary to claims that not re-printing cartoons inflammatory to many Muslims amounts to cowardice, (a claim I do not understand given how many journalists at these institutions have risked or lost their lives covering conflicts) printing them in seeming defiant defense of free speech is exactly what the terrorists wish we would do.

Islamists need for there to be a violent confrontation between their version of the world and the one born in the West, they need for Muslim minorities in Western countries to feel besieged, their religion disparaged, their value as human beings reduced to that of a threatening other.

France’s population of 5 million Muslims is perhaps the most secular group of Muslims in the world.  The overwhelming majority aren’t looking for a Caliphate they’re just looking for a job. They are not, as a best selling recent work of French speculative fiction, Soumission (Submission) depicts, likely to create a future Islamized France.

Rather, a handful of crazies might have managed to make a European nightmare of 21st century Ottomans at the gates of Vienna seem real, but only if Europeans let it.

It’s a nightmare that won’t benefit the Islamists much, but could greatly benefit the European right which had already identified Europe’s Muslim minority as the scapegoat for the continent’s decline. Neo-fascist parties such as Marie Le Pen’s National Front in France itself, or Nigel Farage’s UKIP in the UK. Europe is going through a very troubling identity crisis where even countries that should surely know better, namely Germany, have seen the rise of things like “Pegida” — Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West- which bring thousands to the streets in anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim marches. Islamists and the right need each other like the communists and Nazis in order to make fanatics out of the rest of us. I sincerely hope that neither the Muslims nor the non- Muslims of Europe will let them do it.

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7 comments on “Why Europe Shouldn’t Print the Cartoons

  1. Rick Searle says:

    Thanks Jonny, and thanks for the link.

  2. aleksmalecic says:

    A satire is when you mock those in power. Islam is treated like the second-order religion and anyone “proud” of their “freedom” should first and foremost address this fact: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council – Christians have started two world wars and counting.
    Islamists or potential Islamists don’t feel oppressed, they are oppressed. Do some research what happened to Iraqi intellectuals in this decade. That French magazine is a satire just like a 10-year old child kicking a mutilated grown up man.
    This comment is written by a Serb. We fought Muslims twice (bombed by NATO and forced to leave our homes both times) recently.
    Where is Bradley/Chelsea Manning’s freedom? How about Julian Assange? Or David Kelly?
    How America Was Lost: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/pages/books/how-america-was-lost/

  3. Michele says:

    I think republishing helps people see with their eyes how truly secularized, tolerant or even indifferent to religion their Muslim fellow citizens are (or are not). Would your opinion be different if the claim that the majority of Muslim immigrants are secularized, uninterested in religion and overwhlmingly not extremists were in fact not true?

    Already looking at the source cited in the very article you link to, one finds: ‘In Paris, 68% of Muslims say that religion is an important part of their daily lives. This figure stands in stark contrast in comparison to 23% of the general population’ [10-15% of which is Muslim, by the way].’ And: ‘18% of Muslims in the capital city believe that homosexuality is acceptable’.

    This paper published in a peer reviewed scientific journal has intersting findings: Koopmans, Ruud. ‘Religious Fundamentalism and Hostility against Out-Groups: A Comparison of Muslims and Christians in Western Europe’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 41, no. 1 (2 January 2015): 33–57. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2014.935307

    • Rick Searle says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting on my post.

      “I think republishing helps people see with their eyes how truly secularized, tolerant or even indifferent to religion their Muslim fellow citizens are (or are not). ”

      I am not in favor of treating people as members of a social experiment as in testing how Muslims will react if the cartoons are reprinted. Establishments that chose to print the cartoons have every right to do so, but claiming this is somehow a collective defense of free speech is a little hard to believe. I think it’s completely reasonable to defend someone’s right to use, say, racist speech without having to defend WHAT they said let alone repeating it on a much wider scale.

      Even were it not the right thing to do, not printing the cartoons would still be more politically astute given that the only groups that benefit from heightened tensions between native Europeans and recent Muslim arrivals would be the European right, and Islamist.

      Just curious, are you from France?

    • aleksmalecic says:

      “Secularized” – If people are being arrested and tortured in Abu Graib and Guantanamo because of religion they belong to, if Julian Assange and Bradley/Chelsea Manning (or David Kelly) are risking life sentence to death penalty when they blow a whistle, if I grow up surrounded by children (Croats) who sing that they are about to cut out eyes to Serbs and CNN calls Serbs bad guys because why don’t they die already, THAT IS NOT FREEDOM AND TOLERANCE.

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