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The Problems of the Discourse Surrounding the Charlie Hebdo Shootings Watch

    • Thread Starter

    I have read so much idiocy on "both sides" if there really are sides to this, not that I think there should be. Generally it seems to be two kinds of idiocy("the two sides"):

    1. Charlie Hebdo asked for the attack because they are racist, islamophobes

    2. Muslims are to blame, they are not standing up against this and are terrorists who do not respect freedom of speech (quite sad to see troll posts on this forum advocating banning Islam regardless of their authenticity)

    Before I write a large analysis I'd like to get the obligatory "I don't condone the attacks" rubbish out there, because apparently it is necessary to do so, I can't say I have met many Muslims or non-Muslims who seriously support terrorism. Especially over such petty affairs.


    I'd rather not turn either hashtag into a faction, or use them to further political purposes, but use it to remember that these people did not die in vein one died protecting somebodies right to publish something regardless of its offensive nature and the other used their freedom of expression regardless of your take on its worth and the reaction it would get from fundamentalists.
    My starting of this thread has been a result of reading many facepalm worthy articles and views on the issue. I'll debunk arguments made on "both sides", perhaps not thoroughly although they were never really thought out well enough to deserve the effort of a full analysis, by analysing their claims. In regard to this 'side' business, I have put myself on the side of reason, convenient, but I prefer reason to that of ignorance.

    "They shouldn't have published it if they didn't want to die."
    The flaw of this logic can easily be shown through changing the subject to a female and the expression of choice being that of a article of clothing and murder to rape.

    "She shouldn't have worn that dress if she didn't want to get raped".
    May I point out that nobody wants to be raped or killed, to say that Charlie Hebdo wanted to die is quite sad, in the same respect of someone being raped because they wore a particular article of clothing. They were free to make their own decision, their own opinion, but are being oppressed because of it. To the point of death. The satirical paper was provocative, and some rape apologists would say the clothing was provocative, so what, should they have their human rights revoked for that? Should they cave into societal pressure and conform to acting a certain way?


    "Muslims need to stand up against this"
    This ridiculous idea that Muslims are in anyway responsible for this is adding fuel to the European anti-immigration fire, feeding far-right parties like UKIP and the French National Front and generally stigmitising a minority group that is for the most part against these acts of terror. They are not responsible for the actions of others as they do not control these other people.

    Blaming a large number of people for the actions of a minority. In fact if evidence or science matter anything to you then you would know that 0.4% (according to Europol)of terrorist attacks in the EU are committed by Muslims, that is less than half a percent. So perhaps you should proportion your dislike for terrorism to the seperatists and the nationalists who make up the larger proportions of terrorist activity in Europe? (Further evidenced by the RAND index which records terrorist incidents).

    These sources help illustrate my point more empirically and therefore more scientifically:

    EU terrorism and trend report 2009:
    Terrorism and Political Science:

    Considering how many people identify as Muslims (1 billion or so) you'd think if they were all anti-western and pro terrorism that we would be in quite the pickle. Yet you ask the majority of Muslims who do not commit these attacks to apologise for the actions of a minority.

    "They were Islamophobic and were spreading hate speech not free speech, therefore were racist"
    This can take many different forms in wording just like the first "argument". It usually boils down to "whoever criticises Islam, jokes about it, or mocks it is racist" or a xenophobe or a Nazi. Another fallacious "argument", and again like the first "argument" relies on poor logic or rather lack of logic.

    If I criticise another religion other than Islam or an ideology other than Islamism is that also racism. Such as a religion like Scientology (which I find quite reprehensible and worthy of criticism) and Thatcherism (something also worthy of my mockery and criticism).
    Let's not forget how offended Scientologists were over the depiction of Xenu and their religion overall in the South Park episode, although this was never suggested to be racism, unlike their depiction of Muhammad.

    I would recommend you watch this link, funny for both Muslims and non-Muslims:

    I'm sure Muslims and non-Muslims alike would laugh at this cartoon without worrying about offending Scientologist's sincerely held beliefs.

    I found it hard to believe too, that even depicting the prophet could be considered "Racist" perhaps with a capital R as it seems to have lost all meaning to some now. I shall evidence the article that claimed it was racism:

    "Changing your twitter avatar to a drawing of the Prophet Muhammad is a racist thing to do, even in the face of a terrorist attack. The attitude that Muslims need to be ‘punished’ is xenophobic and distressing."
    - See more at: http://www.hoodedutilitarian.com/201....b9jDpeFG.dpuf

    I agree with the latter sentence however. I find that Xenu and Scientology is worthy of mocking and so is Islam and Paganism (Shamanism, Animism and Totemism) and all other religions. I don't care. You are not being singled out. All religious beliefs are criticised and questioned. It is free expression, it is hard not to laugh at the South Park scientology episode in the same way it is hard to withhold laughter at a man who claims to have split the moon in half.

    Racism is certainly hate speech, it can lead to hate crimes and human rights abuse. However, making a criticism is not hate speech, questioning something is not hate speech. The Boko Haram one however I dislike, I find that one xenophobic at best. I don't particularly like gay people shown as camp, or women and men as objects in TV adverts. But I don't let it get to me. Sometimes it is even amusing and usually in good taste.

    I would link the cartoons although I imagine TSR has disallowed that. It is important to note that racism, is hatred against a whole group of people based on ethnicity. Draw Muhammad day is mocking a religious belief, a religious figure, not a race of people.

    Regardless of your view on their cartoons, this is no reason to say "they had it coming" or "they are racist" as if that is helpful or honest.


    The discussion surrounding the shooting has led to what seem to be troll posts on TSR or even worse a completely useless discussion on Islam with titles such as: "Is Islam worse than Nazism?" and "Should Islam be Banned?". The latter not learning anything from the shooting, more evidently a troll post created to cause argumentation of a low quality.

    I would certainly argue against Islam especially with verses in the Quran such as this one
    "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them"
    to the more philosophically or scientifically contentious or inaccurate verses and to the ones prejudice against gay people. If we are to simplify all those who criticise Islam as racists, (I am sure there are many racists who criticise Islam, just look at the EDL)then can we not use the same poor logic and suggest all Muslims are homophobes or terrorists? I'd rather not start a sentence with "all _____ are" with the gap being substituted with a group of people. As all of one group of people cannot be addressed as being the same.

    I identify as a anarchist, but I do not throw firebombs or cause trouble like Black Bloc do. I am an environmentalist, but do not harass ships like Greenpeace do and I am a vegetarian and do not commit mass genocide like Hitler did, although Hitler did not do what he did because he was vegetarian.

    A productive conversation would involved using reason, evidence, being civil and not using fallacies to win support. Discussions must be fair and shouldn't be based on faulty logic.

    What we should be concerning ourselves with now is what human rights and liberties our governments plan on taking away from us as a result of this massacre. Privacy seems to be on the mind of the Tories at the moment.

    With people like Maajid Nawaz at the forefront showing quite clearly that Islam can integrate into British society and that there are better ways of resolving issues such as extremism, in his case through the Quilliam foundation. The best way to resolve issues like extremism that we saw in Paris, is through rational discourse not violence as seen in the attacks on Mosques and with the Charlie Hebdo shooting. Freedom of expression is important for Muslims and non-Muslims, your right to believe things with which I disagree with and I find offensive. I find the Quran offensive with it's distorted view on gay people, but I won't advocate for it to be banned like countries such as Malaysia have done with books by Darwin. I don't find it productive.

    Further reading:



    Anti-Muslim attacks:

    Tommy Robinson leaves EDL:
    (Important when looking at integration of Islam into the UK and Tommy Robinson's decision to leave the EDL to embrace a more reason based approach to countering extremism)

    I will leave you with this image that I commissioned that represents my own religion, that I created. The picture is quite strange, surreal and I think it's pretty funny. Feel free to criticise my religion.

    Attached Images

    BBC - Israel was to blame.

    This is a good read

    From smears to abuse: Five responses to the Charlie Hebdo massacre

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