Friday, January 9, 2015

Charlie Hebdo: Dealing With Difference

(From Jeremy Schultz, via Reuters, used w/o permission.)
("Police entering the supermarket."

Here we go again. This time it's in Paris, France.

My guess is that body count will keep going up.

I'll skip the conventional 'it is the fault of the Jews/Muslims/police/whatever' rhetoric.

Oddly enough, cherry-picking facts from recent events could be twisted into a claim that Paris police declared war on a kosher supermarket.

I do not think this was a Zionist conspiracy to assassinate insufficiently-kosher Jews, or a plot by McDonalds to take over the kosher food industry, by the way.

Death at a Kosher Supermarket

"French forces kill newspaper attack suspects, hostages die in second siege"
John Irish, Emmanuel Jarry and Ingrid Melander; Reuters (January 9, 2015)

"Two brothers suspected of a bloody attack on the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo were killed when police stormed their hideout on Friday, while a second siege ended with the deaths of four hostages.

"The violent end to the simultaneous stand-offs followed a police operation of unprecedented scale as France tackled one of the worst threats to its internal security in decades. The heavy loss of life over three consecutive days also risked fuelling anti-immigrant voices in the country and elsewhere in the West.

"Officials said Cherif Kouachi and his brother Said, both in their thirties, died when anti-terrorist forces moved in on a print shop in the small town of Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, where the chief suspects in Wednesday's attack had been holed up. The hostage they had taken was safe, an official said....

"...Minutes later police broke the second siege at a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris. A police union source said four hostages had died there along with a gunman, believed to have had links to the same Islamist group as the Kouachi brothers, who was holding them.


"News footage of the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in the Vincennes district showed dozens of heavily armed police officers massed outside of two entrances. The assault began with gunfire and a loud explosion at the door, after which hostages were rushed out...."
The folks who murdered Charlie Hebdo staff cartoonists Charb, Cabu, Honoré, Tignous and Wolinski; economist Bernard Maris; and two police officers on duty at the magazine; may have believed they were lions on Islam, defending their faith against blasphemers.

Outside their fan base, my guess is that they've added more fuel to the argument that Islam and the 21st century do not mix well.

Islam in the Information Age

"...During the attack the gunmen were heard to shout Allahu akbar, 'the Prophet is avenged', ... [30][38][39][40] President François Hollande described it as a 'terrorist attack of the most extreme barbarity'.[41] The three attackers were identified as Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, both French, and Hamyd Mourad, 18, whose nationality is unknown...."
(Charlie Hebdo, Wikipedia [emphasis mine])
This week's lions of Islam apparently had a reason for murdering eight folks at Charlie Hebdo. That's the November 3, 2011 issue's cover. I gather that the issue was "guest-edited" by Muhammad, and depicted Muhammad saying: "100 lashes of the whip if you don't die laughing."

Then, in September of 2012, Charlie Hebdo ran an issue with nude caricatures of Mohammad. That was after other lions of Islam killed folks at U.S. embassies in the Middle East. Those attacks were presumably a response to an anti-Islamic film: "Innocence of Muslims."

I run into folks who rant about some threat to their beliefs — based on what they read in The Onion, an American digital media company and news satire organization.

I've read a few Onion pieces: and can understand how someone with a negligible sense of humor and stunted imagination might mistake their satire for 'real' news.

But I don't think killing Onion staff would be a sensible way to express displeasure.

The good news, I suppose, is that Charlie Hebdo went this long without a lethal attack.

I do not think that the French government will respond to this week's events by suspending their Parliament, declaring France an Islamic state, and giving French citizens 24 hours to convert or die.

It's quite possible that Muslims will continue to enjoy whatever rights they share with the rest of the citizenry: but after this, I don't think their popularity will increase among the non-Muslims.

Dealing With Difference: or Not

Being a Catholic in America, I know a little about living in a country where one's faith is not universally respected.

Chick Publications occasionally publishes another warning against Catholic beliefs.

I'm not gleeful about that, or the continuing popularity of Maria Monk's perennial bestseller.

But I wouldn't kill anyone to express my disapproval: not even if I felt like it. I'm a Catholic, murder is against the rules, and that's another topic.

Related posts, not entirely in this blog:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.