Tuesday, October 27, 2020

  • Tuesday, October 27, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Last week, France's president Emmanuel Macron said, during a memorial  ceremony for beheaded teacher Samuel Paty, that France "will not give up cartoons" that depict Mohammed.

This statement has angered much of the Muslim world, who are now calling to boycott French goods.

The battle lines can be seen in two statements, one from the Organization of Islamic Coordination and the other from Emmanuel Macron himself. 

The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has been following the ongoing practice of running satirical caricatures depicting the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), being struck with astonishment at so unexpected a discourse from certain French politicians, which it deems to be harmful to the Muslim-French relations, hatemongering and only serving partisan political interests.

The General Secretariat says it will always condemn practices of blasphemy and of insulting Prophets of Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

Taking an unequivocal condemning stance against all acts of terror in the name of religion, the General Secretariat had earlier condemned the brutal murder of French citizen Samuel Paty.

While dissociating this horrendous crime from Islam and its magnanimous values, blaming it as an individual or collective terrorist enterprise punishable by law, the General Secretariat continues to decry justification for blasphemy-based harassment of any religion in the name of freedom of expression. Furthermore, the General Secretariat deplores pairing Islam and Muslims with terrorism, urging for a review of anti-Muslim discriminatory policies, unjustifiably provocative to the feelings of a billion and a half Muslims across the world.
We will not give in, ever.

We respect all differences in a spirit of peace. We do not accept hate speech and defend reasonable debate. We will always be on the side of human dignity and universal values.
Taking both at face value, we see both commonalities and differences. It is worthwhile to examine the exact differences between the positions.

The OIC and Macron seem to agree that hate speech should not be accepted. The both agree that terrorism is unacceptable, even terrorism that is ostensibly defending religious figures from attack. 

The difference is in what speech is acceptable.

Macron is against "hate speech." The OIC, representing Muslims, is against "blasphemy-based" speech.

That is the key.

The Muslims are insisting that the West accept Sharia law in determining what is acceptable. Macron rejects that.

Muslim anger is centered on the cartoon depiction of Mohammed far more than on the words or context of those images. Macron is concentrating on the context - if it is based on hate it is unacceptable, if it is based on debate it must be defended.

Charlie Hebdo's cartoons, offensive to all religions and groups, are not motivated by hate. Even though this cover that equates Israel's treatment of Palestinians with Nazi treatment of Jews is inarguably offensive, in the context of Charlie Hebdo which delights in offending  literally everyone, this is not hate speech. Whether it is funny is another question - offense for the sake of offense is puerile, not witty. In practically every other context, that equation of Jews to Nazis is unquestionably antisemitic and hate speech, meant to hurt Jews. For Charlie Hebdo, it is "look at us and how edgy we are," the equivalent to dead baby jokes.

The OIC is pretending to care about insults to Judaism and Christianity but it is really saying that since Islamic law prohibits the depiction of any prophets, the entire world must adhere to those standards. After all, no Jew or Christian would be insulted by this cartoon, which is prohibited in Islam because it depicts Moses:

Macron is saying that the intent is the key for determining what is hate speech and what is allowed. The OIC is saying that the intent is irrelevant - things are objectively offensive if they violate Islamic law.

Macron is saying that all groups must be treated equally. The OIC is saying that Muslims must be treated with kid gloves because they get offended by more things than other groups do.

When you examine their positions, it is apparent that Macron is correct. One may and should choose to respect others and their beliefs, but this is out of courtesy and kindness rather than compulsion, as the Muslim groups are insisting. The line is crossed at incitement and hate, and the evidence of that is often based on looking at the entire history of the words of the alleged inciter. 

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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