I oppose death penalty, and I don’t really care who is to be executed: A newspaper cartoonist or the Boston Strangler or a mother and a baby in Gaza or a settler in the occupied territories or a young man picking Akub plants near the West Bank Separation Wall or the soldier who killed him, or just anyone who was murdered by those who kill because they are absolutely sure that God or Law or Justice are on their side. I also oppose those who are willing to fight the fight of freedom of expression without being willing to take responsibility for the content of the very expression they are willing to kill and possibly be killed for. Everyone have the right to say whatever they want, whenever they want and the way they want, as long as they are willing to stand behind what they say. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from being responsible for the content of the speech, and Charlie Hebdo is a newspaper who oppose religion, any religion, and belief, any belief, and use this fight as a platform to encourage xenophobia in general and hatred of Muslims in particular. They hide behind the cloak of satire to mock people who believe and they make fun of their symbols of faith. When they grotesquely draw a Muslim dressed traditionally, who says “one hundred lashes if you do not die laughing” and headline the cartoon with “Sharia weekly”… “Edited by the Prophet Muhammad” in “a special issue [this]”, then I am outraged as if I am a Muslim, and I may be the greatest atheist in my entire neighborhood.
And When the “Prophet cries” that “it is difficult to be loved by idiots” not only do I think that it is not funny, but I really really doubt the discretion of Stephane Charbonnier, the editor of the newspaper. Unless, of course, he is leading a populist agenda of riding the wave of Islamophobia with Europe’s extreme right, to sell a few copies more.
Charlie Hebdo is not the kind of newspaper of “liberty, equality and fraternity” who is inscribed by freedom of expression and truth, and what happened in the paper offices was not an attack on freedom of speech, or the French democracy, or the free world, but rather a murderous attack carried out by people who think that God is on their side on other people who think they have the right to mock and insult people who think that there is God. One is atrocity and the other is abomination.