In Brief—Readers can weigh in with their views on why the Charlie Hebdo actions and subsequent killings were or were not warranted. In a second hypothetical case, readers are free to express their views on whether actions or statements can be considered beyond the pale or not. There is no right or wrong response, just your honest views and your reasons in a Comment on the blog or privately.
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Attacks for Depicting Mohammed—
On January 7, 2015, two militant Islamic terrorists attacked and murdered twelve employees, including the editor and several cartoonists, at the Parisian weekly Charlie Hebdo because the weekly paper published satiric cartoons depicting Mohammed. At about the same time, an alleged associate of the two terrorists attacked and murdered four people at a kosher supermarket in another part of Paris. All three terrorists were subsequently killed by French police.
On January 14, 2015, one week after the murders, Charlie Hebdo published its paper with a front page featuring a tearful Mohammed caricature under a banner displaying the words, “I am Charlie” and holding a sign saying, “All is forgiven.” The image was intended to mean that the terrorist murderers were to be forgiven for their deed.
Repercussions, both positive and negative, have followed nationally and internationally. Al Queda has stated that they are responsible.
Questions for Readers—
1— Should Charlie Hebdo Have…a) Depicted a cartoon Mohammed At Any Time or…b) Depicted the Prophet On Their Front Page After the Terrorist Attack?
You, the readers, are encouraged to express your views on the actual case regarding whether Charlie Hebdo should have risked offending believing Muslims at any time in the past and whether they risked further reprisal attacks by militant believers in Islam for blaspheming Mohammed through cartoon depictions. It should be noted that France has strong hate-speech laws, and this may or may not be taken into consideration. Give your reason(s) for your view and why you have that view.
Hypothetical on Offensive Speech/Actions—
2— In a hypothetical second case, “Bull” Shyzza, a notorious anti-Semite, racist and homophobe, publicly announces that he will be delivering a speech for the first time at the traditional Speakers Square in town. Following the conclusion of the municipality’s annual 4th of July parade, he expects to lead a large group of like-minded citizens carrying American flags and placards containing various offensive slogans and caricatures. The Shyzza group parade plans to follow the same route.
Please give your views on Shyzza’s speech and march plan and why you have those views. As part of your response, you may want to consider what, if anything, the municipality can do and what, if anything, the onlookers or community may do or say to the press. This is optional.
A Forceful Admonition—
I strongly urge you to read Kenan Malik’s views on freedom of expression. If these don’t set you to thinking then you are not paying attention to one of the paramount issues of our time, a discussion that may affect our future.
There are no right or wrong views, just your honest opinions. If you are concerned about commenting publicly on DeBaytable.com, feel free to contact me privately at email@example.com. I promise that your privacy will in no way be compromised.
Despite the title of this blog, there will be no debate since I am looking only for reader response to the questions above. Please state your views and the reason(s) why you have those views. I will state some observations, but I will not dispute the views that are submitted. You are free to agree or disagree with the observations I make.
This is not a test. I hope it will foster thought on the subject of free expression.