Charlie Hebdo firebombing and depicting Muhammad

Marc Piasecki GETTY IMAGES A police cordon is placed outside the offices French satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’, following a petrol … Continued

Marc Piasecki


A police cordon is placed outside the offices French satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’, following a petrol bomb attack on November 2, 2011 in Paris, France. The attack, which completely destroyed the offices, comes a day after the French satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ featured a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad on its cover and named him as ‘editor-in-chief’.

The office of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris was badly damaged by a firebomb early on Wednesday after it had published a spoof issue “guest edited” by the Prophet Muhammad to salute the electoral victory of an Islamist party in Tunisian elections, according to a report published in the Post. The publication also said hackers had disrupted its Web site.

The French magazine had announced that a special issue for publication was called “Charia Hebdo”; which was a play on the word in French for sharia law. News reports said that a Molotov cocktail had been thrown through a window as the special edition was on its way to the newsstands, as previously scheduled.

The Associated Press quoted Mohammed Moussaoui, head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, as saying that his organization deplores “the very mocking tone of the paper toward Islam and its prophet but reaffirms with force its total opposition to all acts and all forms of violence.”

“I think that they are themselves unbelievers … idiots who betray their own religion,” the magazine’s editor said in an interview with Associated Press Television News.

I could not have said it better myself, monsieur.

During the needless geopolitical firestorm after the 2005 Danish cartoon controversy, scores of Muslim commentators and public intellectuals like myself took to the airwaves and newspaper pages to explain that the violence which occurred during that time were un-Islamic criminal acts of violence which should not be mistaken for religiously-sanctioned actions.

In a May 2010 piece that I wrote for The Washington Post, I highlighted a well-known Islamic parable which tells the story of the Prophet Muhammed and his daily interactions with an unruly female neighbor who used to curse him violently and then proceed to dump garbage onto him every day from her perch-top window each time he would walk by her house on his way to the mosque.

One day, the prophet noticed that the woman was not present to throw garbage outside of her window. In true prophetic kindness, he actually went out of his way to inquire about her well-being and then proceeded to visit this unfriendly neighbor at her bedside inside of her own home when he had found out that she had fallen sick.

This genteel act of prophetic kindness toward unfriendly (and overtly hostile) neighbors is the Muslim ‘Ubuntu’ standard that we should all use within our collective lives — not stupid threats of violence aimed at the silliness of some sophomoric cartoons aimed at inciting a provocative response around the world.

Simply put, people should keep in mind that the bombing of this French magazine’s offices are about as ‘Islamic’ as the bombing of an abortion clinic would be considered to be a ‘Christian’ act.

Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, global media commentator and author of the book Islamic Pacifism: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era.

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  • WmarkW

    Just like Islam, there are people who live peacefully in an arrangement called “communes,” but trying to run a whole nation that way didn’t work out very well.

    Like all religions, Islam is best kept within one’s home.

  • TalGreywolf

    “Simply put, people should keep in mind that the bombing of this French magazine’s offices are about as ‘Islamic’ as the bombing of an abortion clinic would be considered to be a ‘Christian’ act.”

    There are sects of Christianity who not only support such acts, but promote them with their tone of intolerance towards all others except their particular branch of Christianity. The same, sad to say, is also true of Islam, with their divisions within their faith that are deeply divided as the Christian faith is, complete with those would firmly believe that such actions are condoned by the Qur’an. And on both sides of the fence, there are also those who may ‘tsk tsk’ at such actions, but will not say the words condemning them.

    To my mind, religion should be a faith, not a way of life, and that the only place religion belongs is in the heart. No attempts to convert the unbelieving, no religious wars over whose God is mightier (despite the fact that the Jewish God is the same as the Christian God is the same as the Islamic Allah, just different facets of the same jewel), but a quiet acceptance of each other’s beliefs regardless of where they may come from.

    [Also remember, Jesus was not a White, Anglo-Saxon individual, he was a Jew and Middle-Eastern in descent… and viewed as a prophet to those followers of Islam.]

  • TheMSMControlsUs

    Just remember: We have to be accepting of the Religion of Peace because they are so accepting of us.

  • voldenuit123

    I have been saying this for three years. The key is getting the media and government, both of whom rely on fear to keep our attention, to stop refering to them as Islamic terrorists. They are the ones who label themselves as that and everyone els seems to blindly follow along. The government and media actually affirm their desired status by constantly refering to them as religious zealots. They are not. They are criminals.

  • aprilglaspie

    No matter what anybody tries to claim, the original Jyllands Posten cartoon publication was a deliberate provocation dreamed up by the vile bigot Daniel Pipes and his buddy Flemming Rose. Muslim overreaction? Sure. Irresponsible behavior from Pipes and Rose? Indubitably. They should have suffered some consequences.

  • thebobbob

    Religious whackos are all the same, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus. They mock God by claiming unique understanding of the Unknowable. They claim that their own pathetic interpretation must be defended from other equally pathetic misinterpretations of the Uninterpretable. They claim one of their own as the sole ‘prophet’ who can speak for ‘that which needs no voice’.

    And what does God do? God ignores their trivial concerns and takes pleasure as millions of true believing Pastafarians partake of his noodly appendage.

  • thomasmc1957

    Religion is the seed of mental illness.

  • ElmosCousin

    The facts are that almost if not all all bombings of abortion clinics were done by or in the name of Christians. And, the bombing of the French magazine was done by Muslims. Now, someone with a personal grudge, etc. could bomb an abortion clinic hoping that “Christians” would be blamed. Also, some non-Muslim nut job could have bombed the magazine for some past insult to him/her/something hoping also that “Muslims” would be blamed. Insulters and bombers alike share a shameful place in mankind. Your editorial thus says nothing new in any way. But, no one should harm you for exprssing an opinion, a view, a comment. (I recall, however, the old adage: “The pen is mightier than the sword!”) But that is the nature of man and the way of mankind. …but keep in mind as you muse and consider, bombing an abortion clinic is very focused. Bombing a la Muslim-style seems to be widespread, random, and particularly savage re markets, busses, schools, etc. Madness abounds all around.

  • WmarkW

    But there is a difference…

    Abortionists perform their services as a benefit to their clients. The Danish cartoons were published for no reason except to be provocative to Muslims. If they had used free speech to educate people, to advance a cause, or point out a problem the government was overlooking, that would have been free speech used for its intended purposes. The Danish cartoons had no purpose BUT to inflame.

  • ccnl1

    Continued from above:

    19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country’s controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

    20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

    21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

    22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) — Hena Akhter’s last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh’s Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

    23) “October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. “

  • ccnl1

    Some free informing speech:

    Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added “angels” and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

    This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

    And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni “Wannabees” of Saudi Arabia.

    Current crises:

    The global Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

  • ccnl1

    – Timothy McVeigh was executed. Terry Nichols escaped the death penalty twice because of deadlocked juries. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole,[3][7] and is incarcerated in ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado. He shares a cellblock that is commonly referred to as “Bombers Row” with Ramzi Yousef and Ted Kaczynski

    – Eric Rudolph is spending three life terms in prison with no parole.

  • john_bruckner

    Iftikhar shows what a dimwit he is by believing the statement of the French Council

  • Kingofkings1

    It’s strange that even comedians are politicized – if they took equal time disparaging Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Ram, Confucius, Lenin, etc., the so-called comedians might command more respect, at least from this observer