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‘Je suis Charlie’

A war against civilization?

The brutal murders of 12 journalists in France on Wednesday was an example of primitive brutality by those who eschew civilization and justify barbarism and call themselves Islamists.

Some call them Muslim extremists, others identify them as Islamic fundamentalists, but they are neither. They are barbarians who have no place in civilized societies. And those who either stand in silence against their primitive mentality or justify their actions by virtue of religion stand in equal guilt to those who pulled the triggers on free speech.

In USA Today this week the newspaper offered readers an opinion article by Anjem Choudary, a Muslim cleric in London and a lecturer in Sharia law. Choudary wrote “Islam does not mean peace, but rather means submission to the commands of Allah alone. Therefore, Muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression…”

That is illuminating, for it makes clear that such views have no place in a free society, where tolerance is a value limited only by those who advance intolerance. While Western culture has sought to find ways to recognize religious beliefs and grant them space within society, a religious belief that justifies, authorizes, or encourages the murder of “unbelivers” has no place in any civilized society.

Choudary goes on to say that people should know the consequences of depicting the Prophet Muhammad and understand that Muslims “will take the law into their own hands” and kill those deemed to insult the Prophet.”

In is good to know that the enemies of civilized society stand tall to self-identify, and their reward should be a reflection of acknowledgment by those who value human lives over pictures. The acknowledgment may come in several ways. First, it is a core belief of any and all Western democracies that freedom of speech is a fundamental right protected by law. Therefore, if you, as Anjem Choudary, state clearly that you do not honor those laws, then your citizenship can and should be revoked. For any nation requires those who would be citizens not to commit treason and to submit to the duly constituted laws of the nation.

Choudary clearly does not submit of the duly constituted laws of any Western nation by his denial of freedom of expression. And Choudary just as clearly speaks and acts with treason to any Western nation when he justifies murder of citizens who have committed no crimes and broken no laws other than his imaginary violation of a religious practice not shared by others.

If the Islamic Prophet Muhammad is depicted in ways that you, as a Muslim, object, then you have access to the legal system in any nation to make your complaint. Fundamentally, you may refuse to purchase the goods and services of such an entity. But to murder those who do not share your values has no place in any civilized society.

What is the response to hate speakers like Choudary? Perhaps a re-writing of national laws against inciting violence to recognize that such laws fully are applied even within the confines of religion, thus granting legal authority to close any mosque that advocates violence in defense of the Prophet.

Then, some have suggested, encouraging widespread publication of the images of the Prophet to such a point that protecting such primitive views becomes practically impossible to sustain.

Third, while it remains counter to the core beliefs of liberal democracies to stereotype any social segment, it may now be impossible for authorities not to infiltrate, investigate, and charge those who justify the acts of Sharia fundamental Islamic law. For undermining society cannot be tolerated.

When freedom of expression is at issue “Je suis Charlie.”

 

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.