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Freedom of Speech?

The only reasonable response to the massacre of 12 people at the satirical French publication Charlie Hebdo is condemnation. It is never acceptable to respond to freedom of speech with violence and terror.

Having said that, however, there is quite a bit of irony around this event, and I would be remiss in my duties as Iron Knee if I did not mention it. But the fact that I bring it up should not be construed in any way that I have sympathy for the terrorists (or any terrorists).

The biggest irony is that the cover of Charlie Hebdo that was published just before the attack on their offices was not making fun of Islam. Instead, the cover was making fun of novelist Michel Houellebecq, whose negative attitude toward Islam is well known (he was once sued in court for calling Islam “stupid”). So how ironic is it that supposedly Islamic terrorists attacked the newspaper over a cover that was making fun of someone who doesn’t like Islam. Whatever happened to “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”?

In addition, AlJazeera published an article that makes a pretty good case that the attack on Charlie Hebdo was not about Islam at all. Two of the attackers were from Algeria, and another was from Senegal. These are both countries that suffered mightily under French colonialism (Algeria alone lost over a million lives in the ensuing brutal civil war, and Senegal was likely worse off).

It is also interesting that the reaction in Arab newspapers has been strongly against the attack.

Also ironically, there has been an outpouring of support for Charlie Hebdo, calling the massacre an attack on free speech. Really?

Back in 2009, Charlie Hebdo published a column by Maurice Sinet. Jean Sarkozy, the son of the French president, had just become engaged to the Jewish heiress of a successful electronics goods chain. The column commented on a rumor that Sarkozy was going to convert to Judaism by saying “He’ll go a long way in life, that little lad.” Relatively tame stuff, but the column was attacked as anti-Semitic (for linking prejudice about Jews and success). The editor of Charlie Hebdo asked Sinet to apologize and when he refused, he was fired. Sinet was then charged with the crime of “inciting racial hatred” and anti-Semitism. Where were the defenders of free speech then? Is it free speech when you make fun of Islam, but not when you make fun of Judaism?

Indeed, many of the people expressing support for Charlie Hebdo after the attack had condemned the newspaper in the past. Charlie Hebdo was an equal opportunity satirical publication, and it especially loved making fun of people with power and influence. In fact, a cartoonist for the newspaper who was not in the office at the time of the attack said in an interview “We vomit on all these people who suddenly say they are our friends.” He says it makes him laugh to get support from the Pope, Queen Elizabeth, and Vladimir Putin, all people who have been satirized by the publication.

Finally, I am tired of people attacking all of Islam because of the actions of a few terrorist extremists. Last week, comedian Bill Maher went on the offensive against Muslims, claiming that many of them supported the attack:

I know most Muslim people would not have carried out an attack like this. But here’s the important point: Hundreds of millions of them support an attack like this. They applaud an attack like this. What they say is, “We don’t approve of violence, but you know what? When you make fun of the Prophet, all bets are off.”

I could make a similar claim about Christians supporting the murder of people who worked in abortion clinics. Many Christians still claim that abortion is murder, which justifies the killing of abortion doctors and nurses. So should we (do we) condemn all of Christianity because of that?

Terrorism is wrong. But Muslims are not the only terrorists. Even including 9/11, only 6% of terrorist attacks between 1980 and 2005 in the US were carried out by Islamic extremists. You might think this is because the US is somewhat far away from Muslims. But in Europe (next door to Arab countries), Islamic extremists are responsible for only 0.4% of terrorist acts.

Charlie Hebdo



  1. Hassan wrote:

    Thanks for posting this. I have many thoughts.

    First, there is no such thing as absolute freedom of speech. I do not know about France, but in much of Europe holocaust denial is a punishable crime. And then the case you mentioned that Charlie Hebodo fired one of the cartoonist for allegedly antisemitism.

    Secondly, I am not sure (not knowing French or its culture) whether Charlie Hebodo making fun/ mocking muslims and religious figures was satire on others who were doing so, or an actual attack on religious figures. Based on vast number of cartoons they have against muslims, christians and their religious figures, it seems they are actually mocking them directly rather than just satirizing others for doing so.

    As for Bill Maher, I think I have said it before, and I will repeat, he is Sarah Palin of left with more eloquence. He knows nothing about Islam and Islamic history, but acts like he is an expert. In his defense, what he said may be right (I do not have any scientific statistics), that many muslims have extremist tendencies (but it is very low in terms of percentage, but 1% of 1.6 billion is like 16 million??, that is huge in number). But he links it with Islam itself, rather than people who are committing it. If he was any knowledgeable, as he claims to be, he would have figured this out.

    Monday, January 12, 2015 at 3:20 am | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    Hassan, Charlie Hebdo definitely has satirized Muslims on many occasions (and people from pretty much any religion), it is just that the cover that might well have been the trigger for the attack was not a satire against Muslims at all, even though it featured a Muslim looking figure (which represented the novelist).

    Monday, January 12, 2015 at 9:43 am | Permalink
  3. Yudith wrote:

    The most ironic thing is another cartoon from Charlie Hebdo published in the beginning of 2015 saying something like “no terrorist attacks against Charlie Hebdo in 2014” with a terrorist saying “Wait a minute, we have until January 31 to close the fiscal year”.

    Monday, January 12, 2015 at 11:45 am | Permalink
  4. Jon wrote:

    The premeditated killing of even a single individual human being is the act of a psychopath and properly called “murder,” whether committed directly by the psychopath or committed on his/her behalf by convincing a weak-minded surrogate by religious or political (or other) means that the act of murder is justified. At the end of the day, the act remains premeditated murder… and I submit that “collateral damage,” when the possible effects are known in advance and have been intentionally weighed against some perceived “benefit,” is no exception.

    In spite of all our protestations about how civilized we’ve all become, there seems to still be a lot of it going around and none of us is blameless for what is done in our name.

    Monday, January 12, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Permalink
  5. il-08 wrote:

    Hassan, I must point out the seeming contradictions in your argument regarding Bill Maher. First you say that he knows nothing of Islam and Islamic culture, but then you say he may be right. You state that you do not have any scientific statistics to support your beliefs, however if you listen to Bill Maher’s argument, he quotes many scientific statistics. It seems that he has gone to the trouble of researching the science and you have not.

    Among the statistics quoted by Mr. Maher, very high percentages of Muslims in many countries would prefer sharia law to secular law. Among those people a very high percentage (ie 86% in Egypt,76% in Pakistan) believe that a person who wishes to leave the faith should be stoned to death as per sharia law.

    Now look, I can see that Bill Maher is cherry picking some statistics to make the problem seem worse than it is, but by the same token, your estimate of 1% is also very problematic. The point that Bill Maher makes is that within people who express their faith as Muslim, a very high percentage of them do not share the same values as classical western culture. This may or may not be true, but continuing episodes like the most recent in Paris seem to confirm this view.

    How can this view and increasing perception of Islam be changed? Hint, hint, it wont be done by the west, it can only be done by the followers of Islam convincing the west that we share the same basic values. Ongoing stories of genital manipulation, fatwas, terrorism, women in burkas in the Wynn Dixie and underpants bombs only reinforce the growing feelling in the west that it is not a small percentage of individuals, but a significant percentage among all Islam believers. The seeming lack of concern within the Muslim community reinforces this view.

    Christianity has its own wackos, I recently ran into some westboro baptist yo-yos in Key West. But the reaction of the locals was to ridicule and laugh at these people expressing such out of the mainstream views. I believe that the same level of wacko in a Islamic country would be lauded for their piety. I believe that is the difference between east and west that needs to be resolved before true understanding will take place.

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 8:18 am | Permalink
  6. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    IK – you are spot on. We do that all the time even in our country. If it’s something we like then you better not talk bad about it or you’ll get lambasted, but it’s ok if it goes against mainstream.

    Look at the Westboro Baptist. Most of us deplore their tactics and message, yet it is protected speech. Fortunately, w have come up with a civilized method of banding together and out loving them.

    Maybe the extremist groups could take a lesson from that.

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 8:19 am | Permalink
  7. Hassan wrote:

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 10:14 am | Permalink
  8. Hassan wrote:

    IL-08, to respond to you will take time, but briefly about following statements:

    ” The point that Bill Maher makes is that within people who express their faith as Muslim, a very high percentage of them do not share the same values as classical western culture.”

    “it can only be done by the followers of Islam convincing the west that we share the same basic values”

    If you can tell me more about those values (classic western culture, and basic values), we can talk more. If it is related to violence, terrorism and extremism, then yes, we share same values.

    Other than that, I agree overwhelming majority of muslims are not liberals in American or European definition of liberal. And they do not have to be to be law abiding citizens of US.

    The 1% that I refer to are violent/extremist who kill muslims as well. (google khawarij)

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink
  9. Hassan wrote:

    IL-08, Again to point out Bill Maher and your ignorance of Islam, when I see him and you mentioning genital manipulation (mutilation), it gives me enough information how much you know about it (Islam). Also the term fatwas that you used in context, made me chuckle.

    In summary (will write in detail when get time), just like any other religion, Islam and liberalism may have few things common, many different. In fact each religion and isms may share some and disagree on others. It comes down to what ideology takes preference. For example a liberal may be muslim, jew, christian or whatever. But if there is ever conflict, he will take his liberal ideology over faith. Similarly, as a muslim, I may hold many things that are common with ideas of liberalism, but I hold them because of my religion, and not to appease liberals. So if they are ever in conflict I will take my religious views over liberal ideology.

    In Islam, and in our sharia (scary word for many) it is duty for muslim to be law abiding citizen and fulfill the contractual agreements and trust. If there is something in system of the state that we do not like, we work within system to change it. If we cannot, then depending on nature and severity, we may have to move out of country, or just ignore it as something evil.

    I standby my statement that Bill Maher does not know anything about Islam other than some superficial things. But to save him time, even if he studies in depth, he will end up realizing that it does not match liberalism one to one. But right now he does not even know what he is talking about.

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink
  10. Hassan wrote:

    More example of irony, not sure why France thinks it has freedom of speech

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink
  11. Jon wrote:

    Hassan, you may want to keep in mind that Bill Maher is a comedian and political satirist. Much of what he says is intended to be inflammatory and gain him publicity, which tends to be good for the ratings of his late-night talk show because more people may be interested enough to watch just to see what he says.

    Maher is no more a spokesman for America (or France, for that matter) than David Letterman or Jay Leno or Rush Limbaugh or any other talk show host. He is simply a popular culture figure with a TV following.

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink
  12. Hassan wrote:

    Jon, thanks, I know he does not represent America, or he does as much as I do, being an American.

    I never considered him to be comedian (not because he is offensive to me as muslim, but because he is not funny).

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Permalink
  13. il-08 wrote:

    Hey Hassan, I don’t claim to be an expert on Islam, I am glad that my ‘ignorance’ gave you a chuckle. Perhaps that is all that Bill Maher is trying to do.

    As for the values I refer to, please see US Constitution, Bill of Rights section. In the most recent attacks, specifically the freedom of speech. But I would include gender equality as another basic belief that we don’t seem to see the same way.

    To be honest, I do not understand your use of the term liberalism in your comments, are you referring to political beliefs or something else? perhaps you are referring to a secular v. society based on religion?

    Societies are based on laws, nothing else. If those laws come from religious beliefs, fine. Western society is based on the rights and equality of the individual, if other nations have laws based on other beliefs, that is fine. The problem is when the two societies disagree.

    We are reaching a time where the differences in our societies is causing a greater discomfort in the interaction of the societies. As a western individualist, I may abhor something someone says, but I will defend their right to say it. The statistics quoted by Bill Maher show a majority of Muslims in many countries believe, for example, that someone who leaves the state religion should be stoned to death. As a western individualist, that statement seems to indicate to me that I do not share the same beliefs as those people. Further, I will say that I believe those beliefs are bad.

    Here’s the kicker, you are a thousand percent correct that I am no expert on Islam, I never will be. I don’t care to be. But what I do represent, as does Mr. Maher, is a growing distrust of the value system expressed by both the very small violent representatives of Islam and also the majority.

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 6:26 pm | Permalink
  14. ThatGuy wrote:

    It’s worth noting that Maurice Sinet was acquitted of inciting racial hatred and also sued Charlie Hebdo for wrongful termination and won. It is somewhat of a double standard by France and the publication in question that it came to this, but I can’t say the blip of hypocrisy really registers when the “Je Suis Charlie” movement is more of a rallying cry that violence is not the proper answer to something you disagree with. I’d also imagine that there were plenty of people who sided with Sinet at the time, but because he didn’t kill twelve people he didn’t see as much publicity outside of France.

    I’m not saying anyone here is making a one-to-one comparison of a guy being fired and prosecuted for something he wrote and a dozen people being murdered for the same, but Sinet sought and won restitution for the limits placed on his freedom of speech, the Hebdo writers only became unwilling martyrs.

    If there’s any sad irony to be had here, it’s that these killings will only make more people in France think seriously what Charlie Hebdo made light of, making it harder for normal, law abiding Muslims to acclimate and probably radicalizing some of them. In this, the lowest common denominators of each party will only serve to reinforce on another.

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 7:25 pm | Permalink
  15. Hassan wrote:

    THATGUY, I mentioned (link) other instances of where legally free speech was not allowed. Yes, killing is wrong, but I do not buy into free speech thing, as there are always some restrictions.

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 7:49 pm | Permalink
  16. Hassan wrote:

    IL-08, I cannot find anything to disagree with you. May be we got sidetracked, but here is summary:

    1. There are serious misunderstandings of Islam in west, and how the whole system works (slight glimpse

    2. Even if you or Bill Maher come to understand the details of it, the basic premise of it (or any religion of that matter) is contradictory to modern western ideology, as religion is always considered divine, and while US constitution or western ideology states that entire system should be based on human intellect (or lack of if you see our congress). So for example, the concept of freedom of religion is different under US constitution then European and Islam. Theoretically, (remember, even in Islam, practice can be different than theory, based on realities) if there is a islamic state (not ISIS), minorities have full right to run their affairs by their own religion, and do not have to conform to Islamic law. If they differ among themselves, or have no basis, then matter can be delegate to state. The same concept happens today in India and Israel, they allow muslims to run their own civil affairs.

    3. I think the discomfort part is important. Western societies or anyone should not be discomforted in interaction. Of course there will be always cross discomfort knowing how other society operates. But as long as interactions are done properly, this should not be issue. So muslims in west either live by the laws of the land, or they can leave (or if they commit crime, then they will be taken care of). Similarly, if a nation or group disrupts the system externally, they should be dealt with.

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 8:30 pm | Permalink
  17. Il-08 wrote:

    Interesting. I knew I could get you to agree with Bill Maher! Ok, that’s pushing it…

    How do we deal with ‘human rights’? The US of A always professes it’s support for every individual’s human rights. I think the original point was that the prevailing attitudes as represented by various surveys indicate an institutional denial of human rights in countries with predominantly Muslim populations. Your point seems to be that human rights are in the eye of the beholder, ie there is no belief of any denial of rights in those countries, or perhaps more accurately human rights are subservient to religious beliefs.

    All bill maher said is that given these potentially conflicting views of human rights, the western secular system is superior. You can absolutely argue this point, but it seems to me based on our discussion, it does not represent an ignorance of Islamic beliefs and certainly does not warrant a comparison to Sarah Palin!

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 9:28 pm | Permalink
  18. Hassan wrote:

    IL-08, no some examples that you and him cite, are not related to islam or understanding of how islamic jurisprudence works. I did not know that it would be eureka moment for anyone that religion (divine) and ideology based on human superiority will contradict.

    Human rights are either divine, or man made. In modern western civilization, specifically in US, definition of human rights are man made and evolved. Homosexuality was illegal before (some states), now even marriage of them is recognized. For religion, only way laws change are through divine intervention (God sending messenger/prophets to change laws).

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 10:02 pm | Permalink
  19. Hassan wrote:

    THATGUY, also if I am not mistaken France bans hijab in schools and stuff, and niqab everywhere else. So not sure if it comes under freedom of religion or expression.

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 10:31 pm | Permalink
  20. Michael wrote:

    IL-08, I wanted to highlight one problem with your argument back in post 5: “Ongoing stories of [female] genital manipulation…” It is critical to note that this is primarily a problem of African culture, not of Islam. According to, FGM has been documented primarily in 28 countries in Africa. Ten of those countries (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Benin, Togo, Cameroon) have Christianity as their dominant religion. Those first two, Eritrea and Ethiopia, are among the highest rates of FGM in the world.

    Outside of Africa, FGM occurs at significantly lower rates. While it does occur mostly in countries that are predominantly Muslim, the practice is often restricted to particular ethnic minority groups. For instance, in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran, FGM is mostly isolated to Kurdish groups.

    Overall, ascribing FGM as a Muslim practice is not completely accurate.

    Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 8:04 am | Permalink
  21. Hassan wrote:

    Wow France seems to be on roll with free speech hypocrisy

    Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 8:14 am | Permalink
  22. il-08 wrote:

    Thanks for the discussion Hassan, it is not my intention to insult or mock, only understand. Based on this discussion I think we are all in agreement that beliefs are different east/west based on individual freedoms verses divine decree.

    The original concern I had about your original post was your comparison of Bill Maher (a comedian) to Sarah Palin (also a comedian). His argument is and always has been that the secular system of rights and laws is superior to those of a theocratic system, specifically the ones based on Islam. Throughout our discussion we have both tried to identify and define these differences and have come to an agreement on what they are.

    Based solely on our discussion, I think you will agree that his argument is based on the reality of the differences of our systems and denotes some knowledge of those systems. Without comment on whether he is right or not, my original and only point is that to compare him to Sarah Palin and to say he knows nothing about Islam is wrong.

    Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 8:19 am | Permalink
  23. ThatGuy wrote:

    Hassan, France does not have absolute freedom of speech. Nor does any other country on Earth. France’s rules on what can and cannot be said may be more strict than some and certainly (in some cases) are applied with a double standard, but it’s worth noting that your link also lists the Maurice Sinet story without mentioning at all that he was found not guilty under French law and was, through that same legal system, able to win restitution for his wrongful firing from Charlie Hebdo. Again, the Je Suis Charlie movement is, I think, more of a reaction against violence (specifically extrajudicial mass murder) as a tool for control of speech versus a “we are usually able to say whatever we want” sort of movement. France has laws banning mocking the holocaust and sympathizing with terrorists. Obviously these are limits on absolute free speech, but as Charlie Hebdo’s continued existence despite making fun of basically every religion shows, the laws seem pretty lenient. That leniency obviously lends itself to biased application, but again we are comparing mostly fines and investigations to mass murder. All lie along the spectrum of oppression, but they aren’t exactly close.

    The banning of the hijab is part of a larger ban on wearing overtly religious symbols that goes back to the early 20th century. The 2000s update to the law, however, is pretty vague and it’s plain to see that Muslim headscarves are the easiest/most obvious target. Technically a yarmulke or large crucifix necklace should also be covered by the ban. This all revolves around France’s fairly serious post-revolution history of trying to keep state and church separate as well as the common perception in France that a hijab/niqab are symbols of males dominating females. Of course the problem is when one religion takes the brunt of something because of a more obvious symbol of religiosity (say, a headscarf vs a star of David necklace) it very clearly appears that the state has chosen a side.

    You’ll never see me defend France as the perfect bastion of free speech or religion, and most European countries are certainly not models of how to integrate immigrants. I just don’t think that anything they’ve done to limit free speech in one direction or the other is incompatible with people rallying in support of freedom of speech when it is attacked by savages knowing nothing of the concept or even of their own professed religion.

    Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 9:18 am | Permalink
  24. Hassan wrote:

    THATGUY, I am not sure what you are trying to say, or perhaps you are not understanding what I am trying to say. But I think perhaps we are agreeing that:

    1. No country (specially France) has absolute freedom of speech. They allow some speech and punish other through the system.

    2. There is no justification of violence. (period)

    Where we disagree:

    1. I consider the violent attack in France, as attack on France and French Law. Not against free speech. (as there is not). I am sure the terrorists would not have attached Charlie Hebdo if they had cartoon for holocaust denial (the government would have taken care of them in that case)

    Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink
  25. Hassan wrote:

    IL-08, as I said, it should not have taken genius to realize that religion (any) is not same as modern western civilization. Even that conflict happens within US (with Christians).

    For Bill Maher to cite examples as he does, shows his lack of knowledge (like Sarah Palin). If he was knowledgeable, he could cite better accurate examples, and instead, there is no need of example, when you realize the very fundamental difference between any religion with the liberal ideology of his (not the US constitution, as we can argue it is conservative).

    Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 2:23 pm | Permalink
  26. Hassan wrote:

    And as usual it takes Glen Greenwald to state the obvious

    Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 3:32 pm | Permalink
  27. ThatGuy wrote:

    That’s a really odd way to parse it. French law guarantees freedom of speech up to the point that it becomes an abuse of that liberty (so, basically the same provision present in any country that we consider to have free speech). When you attack someone specifically because of something they said/wrote/drew, you’re attacking their ability to freely express themselves. It’s censorship at the barrel of the gun. The French state clearly reserves the right to censor, but don’t typically go about it with assault rifles.

    Also, to butt into another discussion going on here, the US Constitution is actually a work of liberalism (search Classic Liberalism, but this is not to be confused with the liberal/conservative divide in US/European politics. Liberals in US politics are typically opposed to some fundamental values of classical liberalism like a completely free market or free trade. Conservatives in the US still fall under classical liberalism, but again oppose some of or parts of the central tenants of it such as (arguably) civil rights and freedom of religion.

    Classical liberalism, in its infancy, was opposed to the conservatives at the time. The conservatives then were monarchists, typically but not always religious leaders, and generally anyone who benefited from the way things currently were or used to be. I wouldn’t draw a direct line from these folks to current US conservatives but they share a fondness for the respective “old ways.”

    Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 7:40 pm | Permalink
  28. Hassan wrote:

    Why are you equating individual terrorist that are less influential then the actual government? Why government needs to go about it with assault rifles, when they control what needs to be said in first place. If someone drew cartoon mocking the Prophet in Saudi Arabia, I can guarantee, no terrorist will attack them, as government will take care of it by themselves.

    If you have to choose between the two which freedom of expression you prefer:

    1. Mocking a prophet of a religion who has very few individuals in your country, and rest live in 3rd world backward countries, that can be attacked and occupied as willed.

    2. Against Your own government corruption, spying, secret dealings etc?

    Ironically the second one is eroding on basis to protect the first one.

    Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 9:27 pm | Permalink
  29. ThatGuy wrote:

    Why would you need to choose between those? Why not take shots at everyone? When the French aren’t happy with their government, they vote them out. If they aren’t happy with a magazine, they don’t read it. Charlie Hebdo has mocked the government and the Pope and just about everything else and while it’s faced censorship and backlash (including death threats over anti-Semitic and anti-Christian cartoons/editorials), it’s still allowed to print. And, in a few cases, like Sinet’s, the laws of France ultimately protected his ability to lampoon groups you see as being over-zealously protected.

    Also France has a pretty large Muslim population, with about 7% of it’s population (~5 million people) practicing Islam. It’s dwarfed by Roman Catholicism, but Muslims make up the second largest religious bloc in the country. I believe it’s the fastest growing segment of the French population.

    The point is, there’s no amount of French inconsistency or even hypocrisy that makes freedom of speech in France a myth. They have laws that allow them to censor people and avenues for those people to defend themselves. Certainly not ideal, sure, but a hell of a lot better than what you’d get in much of the rest of the world. As such, the attack on Charlie Hebdo is absolutely an attack on free speech even if it was committed in a country that places limits on how far that right extends. Hell, the Chinese or Iranian or Saudi Arabian government imprisoning or executing a dissident is ALSO an attack on freedom of speech, and they make no guarantees of it.

    Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 8:50 am | Permalink
  30. Hassan wrote:

    Sorry, we have to agree to disagree and leave it there. I think the whole defense of freedom of speech is charade. France controls what is legally allowed in freedom of speech and what is not. The cartoonist need to say things that are not allowed in their country, then they will be really standing for freedom of speech. Saudi Arabia never pretends or bothers to say they have freedom of speech (like eruope claims to be), and ironically you can say things there that may get you in trouble in Europe but not there.

    Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 10:15 am | Permalink
  31. Hassan wrote:

    Before any jumps on me, please make distinction between phrases “defense of freedom of speech” and “freedom of speech”.

    I personally believe US constitution allows absolute freedom of speech, and I am totally fine with it, as long as there is no restriction on it. If there are restrictions, that is fine, but call it something other than freedom of speech. May be less regulated speech or something.

    Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink
  32. ThatGuy wrote:

    See: slander and libel. No country allows completely unfettered speech. Freedom of speech is the idea that you won’t be persecuted for holding an unpopular belief. Incitement to violence and various forms of lying (i.e. perjury, slander, libel) are not typically protected forms of expressing yourself.

    I guess we have to agree to disagree, but how anyone can see these attacks as anything other than an assault on a group of people for saying something disagreeable is beyond me. If Charlie Hebdo had stopped making fun of Islam, they wouldn’t have been attacked, right? So they were faced with the option of: give into censorship demands from terrorists or continue expressing their ideas and risk violence. Again, whether or not France has 100% freedom of speech or not is unimportant. The terrorists attacked Charlie Hebdo for something (or many things) they’ve printed, so they were attacking the ability of the cartoonists to express themselves.

    Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink
  33. Hassan wrote:

    Self explanatory

    Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 8:49 pm | Permalink
  34. ThatGuy wrote:

    Not without a Hareetz account. The bottom line is that these cartoonists and editors were attacked for things they’d drawn and written. This is an assault on freedom of expression in the simplest form.

    Friday, January 16, 2015 at 8:06 am | Permalink
  35. Iron Knee wrote:

    Sorry, there is no such thing as “absolute freedom of speech”. No country allows someone to walk into a dark, crowded theater and yell “Fire!”. Thatguy correctly points out that slander and libel are typically illegal.

    Freedom of speech is a continuum, not an absolute.

    Friday, January 16, 2015 at 10:20 am | Permalink
  36. Hassan wrote:

    Sure, useless offensive speech should be banned as well then. (as the pope said recently as well)

    Friday, January 16, 2015 at 11:36 am | Permalink
  37. il-08 wrote:

    I’m sure we can trust the Pope to define what speech is offensive.

    Friday, January 16, 2015 at 10:54 pm | Permalink
  38. ThatGuy wrote:

    Who decides what’s offensive? How about what’s useless? If your faith can’t stand up to cartoons drawn by people who don’t share your beliefs, how strong can your convictions really be? Anyone who gets that upset over doodles must have a very fragile belief system.

    Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink
  39. Hassan wrote:

    The faith started with 1 man and has 1.6 billion followers, and is not shaken by anything, and this was not even point of discussion from start with me.

    I am pointing at glaring hypocrisy of the fragile French/European free speech belief system, that allows some and disallows other. Apparently people are ok letting government and majority decide what is useless and offensive, and shut the minority up.

    I am done with this thread, holding to following:

    1. Western definition of freedom of speech is hypocritical, unless it becomes absolute. I am ok with it being not absolute, as long as it is called regulated free speech by government. The terrorist attacked the French law as it allowed the speech that cartoonist did.

    2. Bill Maher does not know about Islam, even if he finds more about it, he will be disappointed that it does not match to his liberal ideology. And to me it is surprise why even someone bothers to think about it, as it was given that different ideologies differ.

    3. As long as there is not issue among interactions of different ideologies, it should be fine. If there is violence, and imposition of one system over another with force, then that is wrong. (for example muslims trying to limit free speech of a country where there is actual free speech, or vice versa like US invasion of Iraq, and making their system like USA).

    Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 8:03 am | Permalink
  40. il-08 wrote:

    I am also done with this thread holding to the following:

    1) Some people refuse to listen to any logic in any argument and believe that if they keep saying the same false thing over and over again, it will become right.

    Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 9:33 am | Permalink
  41. Hassan wrote:

    IL-08, good point, I will add it to my list as well as I agree with it.

    Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 10:40 am | Permalink
  42. SEO wrote:


    Friday, January 23, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink
  43. BLOG wrote:

    قوالب بلوجر
    الربح من الانترنت
    اضافات بلوجر

    Friday, January 23, 2015 at 3:31 pm | Permalink