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Foreign Policy Magazine: Liberals 'Cower' Before Radical Islamists

By    |   Thursday, 08 January 2015 06:27 PM

"Why do self-declared liberals cower in front of Muslim fundamentalists?"

That's the question Foreign Policy magazine asks in introducing a withering critique of Western liberals' reactions to the massacre of 12 people Tuesday morning at the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine.

The analysis, written by veteran journalist Michael Weiss, skewers The New York Times and European liberals, some of whom have suggested that Charlie Hebdo and others in the West may be at least partially responsible for provoking jihadist violence.

Many of these liberals seem to believe that "if you 'provoke' Muslims by mocking their religion, then you've got only yourself to blame," Weiss wrote in the essay, entitled "Je Suis Charlie (Until Je Get Scared)."

People who fancy themselves "the most progressive when it comes to, say, mocking Jesus Christ or George W. Bush or Tony Blair will suffer no crisis of intellect or conscience in deferring to reactionary lunatics on what are the acceptable bounds of humor and good taste for dealing with the prophet Mohammed," he added.

Some in the media have been open about their decision to stay silent.

"Get real folks, a Jewish newspaper like mine that published such cartoons would be at the front of the queue for Islamists to murder," said Stephen Pollard, editor of London's Jewish Chronicle. Pollard added that he did not feel it is right to put the lives of his staff in jeopardy to "make a point."

Pollard's candor stands in stark contrast to the reaction of Bruce Crumley — then the Paris bureau chief of Time magazine — who criticized the work of satirists after Charlie Hebdo's offices were firebombed in 2011, Weiss said.

Not only "are such Islamophobic antics childish and foolish, but they also openly beg for the very violent responses from extremists their authors claim to proudly defy in the name of the common good," Crumley wrote. "What common good is served by creating more division and anger, and by tempting belligerent reaction?"

Weiss replied that he wonders if Crumley would write that the 10 Charlie Hebdo employees killed on Tuesday "got what they deserved" — or by making the jihadists very angry, had become secular France's "answer to suicide bombers."

Charlie Hebdo's staff realized what they were doing in denouncing fanaticism and "were proud of it. This deserves our respect," Weiss added.

The last cartoon by the paper's full-time editor Stephane Charbonnier "featured a moronic-looking mujahid saying, 'No Attacks in France yet; wait! There's until the end of January to wish Happy New Year,'" Weiss wrote. "I suppose commentators will blame [Charbonnier] posthumously for predicting his own death."

Weiss mocked journalists who have suggested that Charlie Hebdo might be to blame for the "division" between secularism "and the worldview espoused by al-Qaida or the Islamic State, an organization which has done its part for the common good by raping Yazidi women, executing Kurds, murdering Sunni tribesmen, and calling for the extermination of all Shiites. But at least the Islamic State's victims never drew a naughty picture."

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"Why do self-declared liberals cower in front of Muslim fundamentalists?"
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Thursday, 08 January 2015 06:27 PM
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