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Terrorists kill 12 in Paris

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Okay, here we go again:


This is the office of the newspaper that published a picture of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, or is it Mohammed...no one seems to know? Now we will have a response against the Arab community by the right wing French fanatics of which there are more than a few.

The absurdity of all this is that no one knows what this prophet looks like since even sketching his picture is forbidden in Islam. Add to the argument that Mohammed is the most popular name for the male population in the Middle East. Any guy with a beard is a suspected image violation...what crap.

As if terrorist organizations need an excuse to kill non-Muslims this is a pretty weak argument. The French have never been comfortable with their immigrant population and incidents like this only fuel the hatred. Now its going to be open season on Muslims across the streets of Paris.

The government will respond irrationally since that seems to be the French way. Arrests, deportations, and assaults on Arabs coming up, they just can't get it right. The last time the French arrested a major terrorist he was found guilty and released from prison all too soon. Perhaps his name was Mohammed.

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My friend Pascal who lives in the south of France texted me this morning that he is completely desolate about this attack. 4 of the victims were cartoonists of great renown that he has followed "since forever."

"To fully appreciate what has happened," he wrote (in French), "imagine that the entire cast and creative team of Saturday Night Live in its heyday had been wiped out in a matter of minutes."

I fear for France on a number of grounds, but the demographic trends are among the most alarming. Houellebecq's novel (mentioned in another post) is not entirely far-fetched.


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Some twenty years ago I had the privilege to be a guest at a lunch at which some of Frances leading cartoonists were present. I don't speak French and many of them did not speak English, but a two hour lunch turned into an afternoon and a bit of the evening of fun, as pens came out. After twenty odd years I can no longer remember the names of the people I met but I fear some of them are now dead. I suspect it is probably difficult for those of us in the English speaking world to realize just how important the cartoon is to French culture.

For those of us in England this would be somewhat similar to some gunmen taking out the presenters of PM or worse still the cast of the Archers. Not sure what the equivalent would be in the US or Australia.

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I heard it compared to Gary Larson (Far Side) or Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes).

Here in the States we don't get as attached to political cartoonists as they do in France.

Satire has a long history there with names like Voltaire and others that date back to their Revolution.

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For me, in Australia, it would have to be an attack on our beloved ABC TV programs, but we don't have to worry as our present federal government seems intent on diminishing the ABC's capacity to fulfil its charter.

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I am appalled this morning by the reaction to this terrorist attack. Some on the Christian right cannot help but share their moral outrage...not at the terrorists but at the dead employees from this French news magazine:


To say that Bill Donahue represents the Catholic Church would be a lie and yet when he speaks out against LGBT issues I do not hear the voice of the Church denouncing him. As President of the Catholic League he has garnered the moniker of hate group for his organization. Of course we don't know how many members he has, it could be just him and his rusty keyboard.

But comments like these put him in bed with the terrorists and the Church needs to respond or be painted with the same hateful and insensitive brush.

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It's mostly him and his keyboard. He has a long history of trying to get things censored. He certainly has no official status within the Roman Catholic Church. He is simply carrying out the maxim "Never let a good crisis go to waste." In his own way he is as shocking as Charlie Hebdo.


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In the Christian religion committing suicide is considered a major sin. In Islam it is seen as a means of attaining heaven if it is done in the name of Allah. How does one defeat such extreme logic?

Most religions have flaws...unmarried priests come to mind...but when the Imams preach that killing yourself along with anyone they label as an infidel is to be admired we have some serious issues. I read that Islam considers Jesus to be one of their sacred prophets and yet they don't seem to follow his teachings to any degree. That old love thy neighbor rule is out the window.

Even Quran preaches that killing a brother Muslim is forbidden and yet we have had centuries of this Sunni vs. Shia nonsense. In the Middle East these are tribal hatreds going back thousands of years but now we have ISIS who kills indiscriminately and claim it is in the name of Allah. What Islam needs is a Second Coming so that Muhammad can come back and clean up the mess he has created.

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At the end of the Cold War a bunch of old soldiers sat around and talked about their worst nightmares for the future.

One that kept coming up was a second coming of Saladin- someone who could unite all of Islam under one banner.

If ever such a figure were to emerge, Western Civilization would be in danger of extinction.

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In the Christian religion committing suicide is considered a major sin. In Islam it is seen as a means of attaining heaven if it is done in the name of Allah. How does one defeat such extreme logic?

Actually Chris the Quran and the Haddiths specifically forbid suicide. The Quran specifically states that those who commit suicide will be condemned to the fires.

The teachings also state that those who kill other muslims are condemned to the fires. As the injured policeman who was executed by the gunmen outside Charlie Hebdo's offices as they escaped was a muslim the fate the the brothers is firmly laid out at being the fires of hell.

The problem of the Jihadist mentality arises from the actions of one of the Ottoman Emperors Sultan Salim. He defined the Muslims in Egypt as being heretics, as they belonged to a different branch of Islam. This gave him the excuse to wage war on them and to conquer Egypt. The underlying reason for this was the conflict between the Ottomans and the the Mamluks over the control of the spice trade. Salim put forward the idea that it was permissible to kill Muslims who were opposing you as the fact that they were opposing you meant that they could not be true Muslims.

The religious basis for the suicide bomber comes from the teaching that those who die in the cause of Islam will go directly to paradise. Historically the strongest version of this was found in the teachings of the Assassins, whose members would often go on missions which they knew they could not survive. However, from a strict theological position there is a major difference between going on a mission which you know you cannot survive and going on one with the intent of killing yourself. In the first case there is always the possibility that Allah will work a miracle and you may survive. Actually in the history of the Assassins their are some remarkable survivals that were put down to the intervention of Allah. Undertaking a mission with the intention of killing yourself as part of the mission is a different matter, that would be suicide and it is forbidden by the Quran and the Haddiths.

Unfortunately a group of fanatics who have more in common with Adolf Hitler and the teachings of National Socialism than with the teachings of classical Islam have come up with a perverted teaching of Islam that supports a NAZI world view, in which they see Islam as the master race. One has to ask how much of this can be laid at the door of National Socialism which during the 1930s made an effort to befriend radical Islam.

Incidentally we need to remember that the first European country to decriminalize homosexuality was the Ottoman Empire in 1858.

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Very interesting, Nigel. I guess those fanatics in Islam cherry-pick their Quran just like certain Christian fanatics pick and choose their Bible guidelines. It sheds a bad light on all those who would have us believe that Islam is a religion of peace.

One of the strangest aspects of American Christianity is that these far right fanatics often quote the Old Testament for their hate speech. I always thought Christianity was founded on the New Testament based upon the teachings of Jesus. The Old is filled with myths and stories from ancient sources and some of them reflect the thoughts in the Torah, the Jewish holy scriptures.

Jesus came along and some years later we have the New part of the Bible, although those gospels were cherry-picked from what we now know are several dozen gospels written by the early Christians. Seems like a trend here.

Our history teacher in senior year of high school encouraged us to read the Bible as a historical document, a commentary on the society of the times. We also discussed it in light of earlier and later writings such as the Quran and the Epic of Gilgamesh. Modern fanatical Islam also seems to cherry-pick passages from their holy book, especially ignoring those lines about tolerance of other religions.

Prothletising and seeking converts for any religion seems to based upon greed as much as good. Everyone's belief system is different and forcing groups of people to accept any one view is wrong just like we have with ISIS these days. The Nazis had their sociopathic march to create the master race, but in reality the elimination of the Jews was all about greed.

In order for any group to feel superior they must suppress someone else...this is what elements in our society are doing to the LBGT community. The Russians have started down this path with the repression of gay rights, but then I have always thought Putin to be a closeted sociopath. Radicalism has no room for thoughts about a decent society living in peace together so the wars will continue, and isn't that a sad statement about humanity.

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In order for any group to feel superior they must suppress someone else...this is what elements in our society are doing to the LBGT community. The Russians have started down this path with the repression of gay rights, but then I have always thought Putin to be a closeted sociopath. Radicalism has no room for thoughts about a decent society living in peace together so the wars will continue, and isn't that a sad statement about humanity.

That is very much the key to things, whether it is the Christian Right, the Muslim Jihadists or Hindu Nationalists, they are all taking an extreme position in order to assert their superior status to others. The Christian Right take the position that they are 'saved' so they have the right to decide what should be and how things should be run, the Muslim Jihadists take the view that they have the right to say what is and is not Islamic and to enforce Islamic law as only they understand the true message of the Prophet. We see the same sort of thing starting in the Hindu Nationalist movement and I fear for the future of Indian democracy.

When you look at things closely, and understand the history of where they are coming from you find that the Christian Right and the Muslim Jihadists have more in common with each other than they do with other members of their own religion.

What we need to recall is that the West has a great debt of gratitude to Islam, for it was the Islamic universities in Damascus, Baghdad and Cairo that preserved the teachings of Ancient Greece and gave them back to the West during the Renaissance. Many of the ideas which underlay the Barons demands to King John, which resulted in Magna Carta arose from ideas and concepts that those Barons had brought back from Crusades and are influenced by Islamic concepts, essentially that the government is subject to the law, an idea found in Arabic jurisprudence way before it came into the Common Law via Magna Carta.

It's very easy to dismiss Islam on the basis of the actions of the fanatics, what we need to do is see the good side of Islam and find ways to bring that knowledge back to Islamic society, just as they gave us Greek Civilization and brought us out of the European Dark Ages.

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