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Hypocrisy of the Free Speech Fundamentalists: More on the Charlie Hebdo 

Erkki Tuomioja, Finland foreign minister, said lately:

“You caricature and criticize women, you are a chauvinist

You caricature and criticize Jews, you are an anti-semite

You caricature and criticize  Blacks, you are a racist

You caricature and criticize Islam, you are smack into free expression zone

As a Muslim, I’m Fed Up With the Hypocrisy of the Free Speech Fundamentalists

Posted: 13/01/2015 
Dear liberal pundit,You and I didn’t like George W Bush.

Remember his puerile declaration after 9/11 that “either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists”? Yet now, in the wake of another horrific terrorist attack, you appear to have updated Dubya’s slogan: either you are with free speech… or you are against it.

Either vous êtes Charlie Hebdo… or you’re a freedom-hating fanatic.

I’m writing to you to make a simple request: please stop.

You think you’re defying the terrorists when, in reality, you’re playing into their bloodstained hands by dividing and demonising. Us and them.

The enlightened and liberal west v the backward, barbaric Muslims. The massacre in Paris on 7 January was, you keep telling us, an attack on free speech. The conservative former French president Nicolas Sarkozy agrees, calling it “a war declared on civilisation“.

So, too, does the liberal-left pin-up Jon Snow, who crassly tweeted about a “clash of civilisations” and referred to “Europe’s belief in freedom of expression”.

In the midst of all the post-Paris grief, hypocrisy and hyperbole abounds. Yes, the attack was an act of unquantifiable evil; an inexcusable and merciless murder of innocents. But was it really is a “bid to assassinate” free speech (ITV’s Mark Austin), to “desecrate” our ideas of “free thought” (Stephen Fry)?

It was a crime – not an act of war – perpetrated by disaffected young men; radicalised not by drawings of the Prophet in Europe in 2006 or 2011, as it turns out, but by images of US torture in Iraq in 2004.

Please get a grip. None of us believes in an untrammelled right to free speech.

We all agree there are always going to be lines that, for the purposes of law and order, cannot be crossed; or for the purposes of taste and decency, should not be crossed. We differ only on where those lines should be drawn.

Has your publication, for example, run cartoons mocking the Holocaust? No? How about caricatures of the 9/11 victims falling from the twin towers? I didn’t think so (and I am glad it hasn’t).

Consider also the “thought experiment” offered by the Oxford philosopher Brian Klug. Imagine, he writes, if a man had joined the “unity rally” in Paris on 11 January “wearing a badge that said ‘Je suis Chérif'” – the first name of one of the Charlie Hebdo gunmen. Suppose, Klug adds, he carried a placard with a cartoon mocking the murdered journalists. “How would the crowd have reacted?… Would they have seen this lone individual as a hero, standing up for liberty and freedom of speech? Or would they have been profoundly offended?” Do you disagree with Klug’s conclusion that the man “would have been lucky to get away with his life”?

Let’s be clear: I agree there is no justification whatsoever for gunning down journalists or cartoonists. I disagree with your seeming view that the right to offend comes with no corresponding responsibility; and I do not believe that a right to offend automatically translates into a duty to offend.

When you say “Je suis Charlie“, is that an endorsement of Charlie Hebdo‘s depiction of the French justice minister, Christiane Taubira, who is black, drawn as a monkey? Of crude caricatures of bulbous-nosed Arabs that must make Edward Said turn in his grave?

Lampooning racism by reproducing brazenly racist imagery is a pretty dubious satirical tactic. Also, as the former Charlie Hebdo journalist Olivier Cyran argued in 2013, an “Islamophobic neurosis gradually took over” the magazine after 9/11, which then effectively endorsed attacks on “members of a minority religion with no influence in the corridors of power”.

It’s for these reasons that I can’t “be”, don’t want to “be”, Charlie – if anything, we should want to be Ahmed, the Muslim policeman who was killed while protecting the magazine’s right to exist. As the novelist Teju Cole has observed, “It is possible to defend the right to obscene… speech without promoting or sponsoring the content of that speech.”

And why have you been so silent on the glaring double standards? Did you not know that Charlie Hebdo sacked the veteran French cartoonist Maurice Sinet in 2008 for making an allegedly anti-Semitic remark?

Were you not aware that Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that published caricatures of the Prophet in 2005, reportedly rejected cartoons mocking Christ because they would “provoke an outcry” and proudly declared it would “in no circumstances… publish Holocaust cartoons”?

Muslims, I guess, are expected to have thicker skins than their Christian and Jewish brethren. Context matters, too. You ask us to laugh at a cartoon of the Prophet while ignoring the vilification of Islam across the continent (have you visited Germany lately?) and the widespread discrimination against Muslims in education, employment and public life – especially in France.

You ask Muslims to denounce a handful of extremists as an existential threat to free speech while turning a blind eye to the much bigger threat to it posed by our elected leaders.

Does it not bother you to see Barack Obama – who demanded that Yemen keep the anti-drone journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye behind bars, after he was convicted on “terrorism-related charges” in a kangaroo court – jump on the free speech ban wagon? Weren’t you sickened to see Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of a country that was responsible for the killing of seven journalists in Gaza in 2014, attend the “unity rally” in Paris?

Bibi was joined by Angela Merkel, chancellor of a country where Holocaust denial is punishable by up to five years in prison, and David Cameron, who wants to ban non-violent “extremists” committed to the “overthrow of democracy” from appearing on television.

Then there are your readers. Will you have a word with them, please? According to a 2011 YouGov poll, 82% of voters backed the prosecution of protesters who set fire to poppies.

Apparently, it isn’t just Muslims who get offended.

Erkki Tuomioja, Finland foreign minister

Mehdi Hasan is the political director of the Huffington Post UK and a contributing writer for the New Statesman

‎إنهم يعرفون ... ويحرفون ..!!!!‎

How can I win the war on “Terrorism”? Part two; (Jan. 28, 2010)

            I set the fundamentals in part one.  This part dwells on details.  Ilyass Kashmiri is presumably the Pakistani leader of the Islamic Kashmir independence movement (from the Indian Kashmir region).  Ilyass’s movement is called Lashkar Al Zil (army of the shadow).  In Arabic, Zil means shade and Zol means indignity; thus, it depends how the word is understood or pronounced in that part of Pakistan.  Lashkar Al Zil was known as Brigade 055 (was it initially a brigade of the Pakistani army?) Lashkar Al Zil has vast networks for intelligence gathering.  It is understood that currently most of the radical Sunni Islamic movements, including Al Qaeda, are taking umbrage under Lashkar Al Zil and not the way around since it has established popular bases in many self-autonomous districts in north Pakistan.

            Ilyass Kashmiri may be orchestrating most of the suicidal operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan; his movement has extended its influence in Yemen and Somalia (Al Chabab). Saleh Al Somali was killed by a drone in Pakistan in 2008.  David Coleman Headly was arrested in Chicago for preparing the aggression on the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten; he participated in the Bombay massacre of November 2008 and Ilyass was one of Headly’s contacts.

            Another Al Qaeda leader working with Ilyass is Yahya Al Libi. Yahya Al Libi is from Libya and his pragmatic goal is to overthrow the Kadhafi regime. In the mean time, Yahya Al Libi is taking the strategy of antagonizing the Islamic Shiaa sect movements (the Shiaa are mostly concentrated in Iran, Iraq, and India); the bombing of the mosque in Ramadi (Iraq) is of his doing (23 dead); the bombing of the Shiaa mosque in Karachi (Pakistan) resulted in 30 dead victims.  Al Libi has a different strategy than Zawahiri (Egyptian and second in command in Al Qaeda) who wants to unite the forces of all Islamic forces.

            Ilyass and Yahaya want the Western forces to intervene militarily so that they can infiltrate the Islamic masses at no cost to them.  Currently, their first target is the Pakistani army that finally got carried away with the US pressures to attack the fundamentalists. The Pakistani government is realizing that the gamble was premature: the Pakistani army is suffering from this unpopular civil war and losing its status as the backbone for Pakistan unity among the various ethnic diversity groups.

            The Lashkar Al Zil and its Afghanistan allies are preparing a counter offensive as snow melts against the Pakistani army in the districts of Khyber, Kurram, Hungu, and Orakzai (in Pakistan) and in the valley of Tera (facing the Afghan mountain chains of Tora Bora).  Saudi Arabia is heavily involved in Yemen because this Wahhabi monarchy is conscious that the vise of the fundamentalist movements is closing on from all directions (Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, and eventually Egypt).  Saudi Arabia has extended $two billion to the Yemenite government and moved its army and air force in operations in Yemen. 

            Some people believe that the USA is indeed fomenting these Islamic movements in order to have excuses for militarily accesses in Yemen and Somalia, in addition to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Arab Gulf mini-States.  People believe that the US wants to secure Africa and the oil shipments in the Middle East. People have reached this implicit feeling of US definite conspiracy from past evidences and because the US is the only superpower to dominate all the seas and oceans by its naval forces. Actually, the US drones have been bombing targets in the sub-Sahara States of Africa (Mauritania, Chad, and Niger) for sometimes.

            During the Bush Junior Administration, the CIA was extended the mission to develop its paramilitary branch (Special Activities Division SAD) in order to carry out vast secret operations.  The former “private security service” company of Blackwater (re-named Xe) was and is sub-contracting a few of these CIA secret operations. Currently, the US government is pressuring Congress to drop all judiciary cases leveled against Blackwater operators.

            The CIA was recently exposed by the suicide bombing of Humam Al Balawi in its Khost (Afghanistan) advanced post that killed 7 CIA agents and 6 other soldiers in December 2009. The Jordanian secret agent, Humam Al Balawi, was lent by Jordan to the CIA to facilitate intelligence gathering on extremist Sunni movements in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  The CIA installed a series of support bases in South and East of Afghanistan to gather intelligence for drone attacks on particular “targets” of extremist leaders.  The US military has boasted of killing over one hundred targets; most of the victims were civilians in “collateral damages”.  The increased number of civilian casualties prompted the Pakistani government to get involved in the rules of engagement and drone operations.

            The Afghan army is heavily infiltrated by Taliban elements: last week, the Capital Kabul awoke to a nightmare: it was rocked by 5 attacks on 5 government institutions, including the Presidential Palace of Karzai.

            What is happening in the region are series of civil wars; the factions are mainly borrowing the discourse of Al Qaeda but this movement is plainly limited to fringe countries in Africa.  Nevertheless, US Medias refuse to change the decades catch all term of Al Qaeda to means civil unrest and “terrorism” in Islamic states: they prefer disinformation instead of educating the public to the new realities. Is it simply because it is too “complex” for the little mind of the public to comprehend?

            So far, the US has heavily fallen in the trap of disseminating the image of fighting Islam instead of targeting “terrorist” bases.  More military involvement is bound to stick this image in the mind and heart of moderate Islamists who will be pressured to extend leniency attitudes to the extremist elements and factions.


adonis49

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