The Slate headline reads: News Outlets Are Censoring Images of Cartoons That May Have Incited Charlie Hebdo Attack. Whatever else we say, I insist that what incited that attack was not humorous cartoons, but a perverted religious faith. The sadly deluded individuals who perpetrated this crime were motivated by hatred and fear, not devotion. They did not avenge the Prophet Mohammed, they raped him. Anything that is good in the religion of Islam can only be harmed by this kind of criminal activity, done in the name of Mohammed.
Now as to our response to this madness, of course we will do everything we can to bring the perpetrators to justice. What concerns me is what other measures we may take. We don’t need more political correctness, we need more boldness. We do not need to be concerned about the victimless crime of blasphemy. We should be encouraging satire, even if it often does go beyond common decency. We can afford to risk losing some dignity. We cannot afford to lose the right of free speech.
I understand publishers who don’t want to take the chance of someone getting killed. We are dealing with criminals whose moral sense has been destroyed by their ideology. Every precaution needs to be taken to protect law-abiding citizens. But if we capitulate, the radicals win and everyone else loses. Even Islam loses. If fear prevents us from publishing controversial material, we permit terrorists to be our thought police.
Je suis Charlie. I am Charlie.