I hesitated to publish this paper because it comes very close to violating French, German and other countries’ laws on what free speech is allowed and what is not. This is a strong opinion piece in defense of Freedom of Speech and of Opinion.
PARIS, NOV. 2, 2020. KAZOLIAS
I demand the right to hurt people’s sensitivities just as they have the right to hurt mine; the right to Blasphemy and to speak one’s mind should never be infringed upon. Libel, slander, inciting to violence are crimes, but opinions should never be.
France Declares War on ‘Political Islam’ & Struggles with ‘Islamophobia’
When the trial of those implicated in the Charlie Hebdo massacre of January 2015 opened in September, Charlie Hebdo decided to republish the caricatures of Mohammed which so angered the Islamic murderers. These obscurantists decided they would strike again with an attack in Paris by a Pakistani migrant, near Paris by a Chechen and in Nice by a Tunisian, yet again, who had just illegally entered the country.
It is very hard to write about these things in France because you walk on thin ice when dealing with religion and identity. If you are among those who accept racism is a crime and not an opinion, then how do you define racism?
Freedom: Use It or Lose It
Good intentioned leftists, who have no problem with caricatures of Christians and Jews, tell us we should not needlessly provoke the anger of Muslims by hurting their sensitivities, humiliating them, or provoking them. Of course, Jews and Christians are not killing people over cartoons, so no outrage there.
The argument is: we should not use our freedom of expression and satire, including blasphemy, because we could anger those who would use violence to repress our freedom of expression and freedom to Blaspheme. In other words, don’t use your freedom because you could lose it if you do. In what world does that make any sense?
There is so much wrong with this kind of thinking it is hard to determine where to begin.
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that I dislike any religion based on human sacrifice. I not only denounce this religion as barbarous, but I also do satire and caricatures to underline how ridiculous this murdering obscurantism is. I am in this sense an “Aztecophobe” or an “Incaphobe.” This is all right under French law as long as I am condemning the religion and not the people: there are no Blasphemy laws in France, but there are in many EU countries.
Now let’s say I feel anybody who practices a religion that commits human sacrifice has to be a bad person and therefore the Aztecs and Incas are bad people. Then I am in an illegal situation because I am condemning a people, an ethnicity, which is considered an expression of racism in France; racism is a crime under French law and not an opinion.
Here we are dealing with a clear entity which is a religion, a culture, and an ethnicity, and the border blurs when condemning the one which is also the other.
Defining Religion and Race
Radical Muslims and French leftists claim “Islamophobia” is a crime of racism, as if Islam were an ethnicity or some other entity beyond that of a religion. So far, they have been unsuccessful. While pro-Israeli Jews in France have often convinced the Courts that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism, which is considered racism and therefore is illegal, (click here) hardline Muslims and their left-wing friends have not won cases on ”Islamophobia” (click here) although they have won some cases on inciting to hate and discrimination. (click here for one recent example)
The goal in both cases is to prevent certain Free Speech and open expression of certain Public Opinion through Judicial repression. It is important to point out that the European Court has systematically over-ruled the French Courts condemnations of anti-Zionist BDS militants as infringement on Free Speech.
In the extreme, such thinking would basically outlaw atheism, for example. The real question is: Why can I not dislike a culture, or a country, along with a religion or the people who practice a religion I find abominable?
Of Religion and Violence
There is much in the Book of Islam which is illegal under French law (orders to kill categories of people, to discriminate, to subjugate, to seize power, to put Sharia above the laws of the Republic), just as the Old Testament is an apology for genocide, crimes against humanity, wars of aggression, rape, slavery, pillage and discrimination and even human sacrifice (close call for Isaac, son Abraham). The difference is, the Old Testament is finite while Sharia and the obligations listed in the Quran are open ended. “Political Islam” has valid arguments to offer its fellow Muslims.
Suppose I dislike any nation created not only on the exclusivity, but also on the supremacy of a race, religion, ethnicity, tribe, etc.? Many believe this is Israel. Yet to deny Israel’s right to exist is a crime in many European countries, including France, Germany and Austria, even if your goal is to see the creation of a country with greater democracy, human rights, and an end to occupation and apartheid; to build a new nation of inclusiveness rather than racialist exclusiveness and expropriation.
It is interesting that during the 1980s, the same BDS movement against South Africa was more than tolerated while today, concerning Israel, it is condemned as anti-Semitism, inciting to hate, etc. This is seen by many Muslims as double standards and, as Islamists say their religion is an identity, they, therefore, see themselves as victims of racism. (click here)
For those who take the Quran literally, it is a call to violence to defend the honor of their ‘Prophet,’ advance Muslim world domination, the Umma, and kill those who don’t respect “the laws of Allah” such as Christians and Jews, homosexuals, those guilty of adultery, apostates, and Blasphemers.
Canada’s Premier, Justin Trudeau, is wrong when he says doing caricatures of Mohammed is the same as yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre. (2.) (click here) Trudeau is right only if you accept as a given and “normal” that it will be followed by terrorist attacks. Others say it is harming people’s “dignity”; something which is banned in the preamble of the German Constitution (1..) (click here); a country which also punishes defaming religion “in a manner suitable to disturb the public peace.” Then there are those who say: “you just shouldn’t hurt people’s feelings.” Islamists say anything they find offensive to their religion is “Islamophobia” which they consider racism.
The silent entente France held with its Muslim immigrant population has allowed Political Islam to take a firm foothold in the country. The hour is late to speak words of truth, call things by their name, denounce certain teachings, but there can be no compromise with Fundamentalists of any stripe.
You don’t defend freedom by ceding territory to those who object to your freedom. There is clearly an advance of “political Islam” which has found well-meaning allies on the French left.
1. German Basic Law :
[Human dignity – Human rights – Legally binding force of basic rights]
- (1) Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority.
- (2) The German people therefore acknowledge inviolable and inalienable human rights as the basis of every community, of peace and of justice in the world.
- (3) The following basic rights shall bind the legislature, the executive and the judiciary as directly applicable law.
2. What did Trudeau say? This from the BBC:
But in a response to question about the right to show a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed, he said “freedom of expression is not without limits”.
“We owe it to ourselves to act with respect for others and to seek not to arbitrarily or unnecessarily injure those with whom we are sharing a society and a planet.”
He added: “We do not have the right for example to shout fire in a movie theatre crowded with people, there are always limits.”
3. Zineb El Rhazoui, a Moroccan born French woman and former member of the Charlie Hebdo Team, leads the fight in France against Islamism. She and her child have been under constant Police protection for five years. She has received thousands of death threats.