France’s turn?

posted at 8:41 am on September 19, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The US may no longer command the full attention of angry Muslims marching in the streets, thanks to a satirical newspaper in France and its decision to publish cartoons featuring Mohammed.  Charlie Hebdo offered its latest issue earlier today, and France has reacted by clamping down on protest and closing some of its embassies, consulates, and schools (via JWF):

France has temporarily closed its embassies and schools in 20 countries after a satirical magazine in Paris published insulting cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, a move it fears will add “fuel to the fire” of global tensions over an anti-Islam film.

“We have indeed decided as a precautionary measure to close our premises, embassies, consulates, cultural centers and schools,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman told Reuters.

It’s not as if the magazine doesn’t know what it’s doing; their offices got firebombed almost a year ago after publishing cartoons ridiculing Islam. CH’s cartoons are fully intended to provoke this time as well.  NBC describes the front-page cartoon, which mocks the violence from Muslim radicals by portraying Mohammed as a sick old man in a wheelchair:

The front page cartoon had the figure in a wheelchair saying “You mustn’t mock” under the headline “Untouchable 2”, a reference to a hugely popular French movie about a paralyzed rich white man and his black assistant.

Will France stand up for free speech and the right to criticize groups that engage in violence?  So far, the hints aren’t terribly encouraging:

The prime minister said freedom of expression is guaranteed in France, but cautioned that it “should be exercised with responsibility and respect.”

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius defended freedom of expression, but warned thatCharlie Hebdo could be throwing “oil on the fire” and said it’s up to courts to decide whether the magazine went too far.

“Freedom of expression can be limited by court decisions. If there is a case of overstepping, it’s up to individuals or groups to bring it to the courts, which will say whether the law … was respected,” he said after a Cabinet meeting.

Abdallah Zekri, President of the Paris-Based Anti-Islamophobia Observatory, said his group is considering filing a lawsuit but no decision has been made. “People want to create trouble in France,” he told AP. “Charlie Hebdo wants to make money on the backs of Muslims.”

As Allahpundit wrote last night, this basically means that any group that responds violently to speech wins the right to dictate to everyone else what the limit of that speech will be.  That isn’t freedom, nor is it free speech; it’s living within the dictates of a violent mob.  France has different laws governing freedom of expression than we do, of course, but suggesting that courts will censor people in order to prevent violence by theiropponents is a very large leap toward living under siege.

Interestingly, federal courts in the US have a different view — at least for now (via Pamela Geller):

As violent and sometimes deadly protests consume much of the Muslim world in response to an American-made video mocking the Prophet Muhammad, New Yorkers will soon encounter another potentially inflammatory rendering of Islam: an advertisement in the transit system that reads, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.”

It concludes with the words, “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad,” wedged between two Stars of David.

After rejecting the ads initially, then losing a federal court ruling on First Amendment grounds, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said on Tuesday that the ads were expected to appear next week at 10 subway stations.

“Our hands are tied,” Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for the authority, said when asked about the timing of the ad.

In July, Judge Paul A. Engelmayer of Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled that the authority had violated the First Amendment rights of the group that sought to place the ad, the American Freedom Defense Initiative. The authority had cited the ad’s “demeaning” language in barring its placement.

Inflammatory?  Perhaps, but after watching the repeated paroxysms of rage resulting from any critical speech about Islam over the last several years, it’s difficult to dispute the central thesis that at some level this is a conflict between civilization and its opposite.  Freedom of speech is intended to solidify civilization, allowing for discourse to replace gunfire as the means to which one’s values prevail.  If we allow gunfire to determine the limits of speech as imposed by those who consider us their enemy, then civilization a chimera, an illusion that covers up a totalitarian reality.

That’s easy to forget in the heat of the moment.  It’s our duty to remember what’s at stake, however, before it’s lost entirely.


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I’m in France right now, on vacay, it’s peaceful here currently and haven’t heard of any protests anywhere….will go to Bordeaux this weekend though, to visit with my sister…Bordeaux has a relatively big muslim community (15% probably) and an anoying one at it, very traditional too, the guys wear those long thawbs and djellabas as everyday garment, if you get lost in one of their neighborhoods in Bordeaux you would insintictively want to pinch yourself, make sure you are in France and not in the Middle East…beats even London…I wonder if they go crazy on us here too, or only abroad.ME/and North Africa…

jimver on September 19, 2012 at 10:55 AM

A thread on France and not one joke about cowardice.

Well, it wouldn’t wash today.

BL@KBIRD on September 19, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Here’s what the cartoons look like this time around, since you won’t be seeing them on TA: France Closes 20 Embassies After Naked Mo Cartoons

slickwillie2001 on September 19, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Oups, explosions in Paris…gird your loins, as dear oe Joe wojld say,..

jimver on September 19, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Dear old Joe would say, that is…

jimver on September 19, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Many Muslims in so many places in the world, including the West, seem ready to go on a murderous rampage over just some dumb obscure movie or a little Muhammad cartoon published in some obscure publications. Yet all the smiling Muslim apologists here denounce us infidels for fearing Muslims or for having very negative opinions of Islam calling it “Islamophobia”.

So who you are going to believe, the smiling Muslim apologists or your lying eyes?

Chessplayer on September 19, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Here’s what the cartoons look like this time around, since you won’t be seeing them on TA: France Closes 20 Embassies After Naked Mo Cartoons

slickwillie2001 on September 19, 2012 at 11:18 AM

You can’t find Charlie Hebdo here anywhere, apparently they sold all their 75,000 copies and Le Figaro says that they will print 200,000 more copies…

jimver on September 19, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Yoop on September 19, 2012 at 9:28 AM

I just moved from there a coouple months ago, but not for the reason you cited. Lots of paroled felons making trouble.

8 weight on September 19, 2012 at 11:33 AM

A thread on France and not one joke about cowardice.

Well, it wouldn’t wash today.

BL@KBIRD on September 19, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Too stereotypical and not awfully imaginative :)..

jimver on September 19, 2012 at 11:37 AM

I’ve been to the one in Wheeling whenever I got sent up there. We just got a new one in Charleston which is only an hour’s drive for me. Haven’t been to that one yet.

wildcat72 on September 19, 2012 at 9:37 AM

That one in Wheeling has a great collection of taxidermy. Stopped there a couple of times on trips to DC from Hoosiertopia.

I shop Cabelas and use their buyers club. Also shop online and then go to the local in Hammond where they will give the online prices. But I by guns from gun dealers of my acquaintance and who work the gun show circuit. I like to haggle, and support the local guys.

As for the French, what does it say about them that the bravest members of their society are cartoonists?

novaculus on September 19, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Many Muslims in so many places in the world, including the West, seem ready to go on a murderous rampage over just some dumb obscure movie or a little Muhammad cartoon published in some obscure publications. Yet all the smiling Muslim apologists here denounce us infidels for fearing Muslims or for having very negative opinions of Islam calling it “Islamophobia”.

So who you are going to believe, the smiling Muslim apologists or your lying eyes?

Chessplayer on September 19, 2012 at 11:22 AM

The movie and the cartoons are only handy pretexts.

What we are witnessing has all of the signs and symptoms of Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations.

farsighted on September 19, 2012 at 11:40 AM

As for the French, what does it say about them that the bravest members of their society are cartoonists?

novaculus on September 19, 2012 at 11:39 AM

At least they have brave cartoonists. The rest of the west doesn’t have brave anything.

BL@KBIRD on September 19, 2012 at 11:46 AM

At least they have brave cartoonists. The rest of the west doesn’t have brave anything.

BL@KBIRD on September 19, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Some have brave bloggers?

sharrukin on September 19, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Some have brave bloggers?

sharrukin on September 19, 2012 at 11:57 AM

True, I was thinking more of politicians, authorities and media.

BL@KBIRD on September 19, 2012 at 12:13 PM

True, I was thinking more of politicians, authorities and media.

BL@KBIRD on September 19, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Yeah, not so much then.

sharrukin on September 19, 2012 at 12:22 PM

If she hasn’t already, Molly Norris might want to emigrate to France, where she has a shot at practicing her art.

Barnestormer on September 19, 2012 at 12:23 PM

“Charlie Hebdo wants to make money on the backs of Muslims.”

This is the same language unions use.

unlisted on September 19, 2012 at 12:35 PM

The funny thing is that when American Muslims want to build a mosque (in NYC, in Tennessee, etc.) the freedom of speech argument suddenly takes a backseat and it’s all about “protecting the sensibility of the 9/11 victims” LOL

1215 on September 19, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Well, remember, the real problem didn’t start when Muslims wanted the Mosque, when the mayor of NY and many other Americans concurred, or when many other people objected and peacefully demonstrated, it took off when violent crowds of intolerant, fascist demonstrators flocked to the proposed site, started burning Korans, called for the imprisonment of mosque supporters, set the proposed site ablaze and murdered the leading proponent before dragging him through the streets. Wait…that last part didn’t happen, did it? Could illustrate the diff between freedom of speech and murderous, fanatic intolerance, eh?

limmo on September 19, 2012 at 1:00 PM

There s/b a global mocking even against the savages.

Schadenfreude on September 19, 2012 at 1:05 PM

event

Schadenfreude on September 19, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Can somebody tell me a time when the strategy of appeasing fanatics actually WORKED?

logis on September 19, 2012 at 1:07 PM

France announced Wednesday it will close 20 embassies across the Muslim world on Friday after French weekly Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed naked, amid growing unrest over an anti-Islamic film that has left dozens dead.

Capitulating wussies. There s/b a global pi*s-on-Mohmmed contest, with bacon at hand.

Schadenfreude on September 19, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Here’s a thought:

If all the western countries started printing stories critical of Islam, editorial cartoonists went full-bore crazy mocking Mohammed, and a few more movies (maybe of some quality this time?) came out denigrating Islam, what might happen?

I’m thinking either 1) Islamists heads would explode all over the world, leaving behind the more rational Muslims, or 2) they would end up setting their own countries on fire in the extreme protests that would ensue, leaving them (that are still alive) sitting in the smoldering ashes. Or some combination of the two.

Every time they protest and go crazy on some perceived insult, double down on the insults until they self-immolate.

iurockhead on September 19, 2012 at 1:45 PM

France announced Wednesday it will close 20 embassies across the Muslim world on Friday after French weekly Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed naked, amid growing unrest over an anti-Islamic film that has left dozens dead.

Capitulating wussies. There s/b a global pi*s-on-Mohmmed contest, with bacon at hand.

Schadenfreude on September 19, 2012 at 1:18 PM

better close them, than let your ambassadors get killed and dragged in the streets by barbarians…

jimver on September 19, 2012 at 2:55 PM

Will France stand up for free speech and the right to criticize groups that engage in violence? So far, the hints aren’t terribly encouraging:

Maybe our American Generals can call them up and encourage them to be brave and stand up for free speech. Oh wait, are Generals would just encourage them to attack free speech and surrender.

VorDaj on September 19, 2012 at 2:58 PM

A thread on France and not one joke about cowardice.

Well, it wouldn’t wash today.

BL@KBIRD on September 19, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Old word for cowardice: French.
New word (actually two) for cowardice: American generals.

VorDaj on September 19, 2012 at 3:01 PM

As for the French, what does it say about them that the bravest members of their society are cartoonists?

novaculus on September 19, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Their cartoonists are so much braver than our generals. Maybe we could swap our generals for the French cartoonists.

VorDaj on September 19, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Islam has been at war with everything and everyone NOT named Islam for 14 centuries.

Our leaders may not believe that we are at war with Islam, but Islam is most certainly at war with us.

TKindred on September 19, 2012 at 8:48 AM

Mohammad declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. – John Quincy Adams

VorDaj on September 19, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Maybe our American Generals can call them up and encourage them to be brave and stand up for free speech. Oh wait, are Generals would just encourage them to attack free speech and surrender.

VorDaj on September 19, 2012 at 2:58 PM

I’d take the attitude of the editor of Charlie Hebdo (btw, personally I think that the crazies will kill him sooner or later) to the suckazz attitude of our politician-generals any time of the day …

jimver on September 19, 2012 at 3:57 PM

calling it “Islamophobia”.

Chessplayer on September 19, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Challenge them on it. Its just name-calling, exactly the same behaviour that some of us grew-out of when our ages were still single digits.

They use that childish tactic for the same reason little children use it … they haven’t yet acquired emotional maturity, and they haven’t got any coherent, solid argument in support of their position.

YiZhangZhe on September 19, 2012 at 6:58 PM

As for the cartoons, very heart-warming to see somebody put their life on the line for liberty. May many, many more people stand-up and be counted too.

YiZhangZhe on September 19, 2012 at 7:03 PM

Cartoons and Youtube videos enrage umma horde. Good thing the Haji-mob is illiterate. They would hate my collection of Robert Spencer books.

Buck Turgidson on September 19, 2012 at 8:23 PM

paroxysms

Is this the new buzzword? I’ve seen it alot during the past week. Though I guess, thankfully, it pushed “fiscal cliff” off the edge…

John Kettlewell on September 20, 2012 at 12:54 AM

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