One thing you can say about the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo — they are absolutely fearless.
After 12 of their staffers were butchered in a 2015 terrorist attack on their editorial offices following the publication of the Mohammad cartoons, you would think that the magazine would treat Muslims with kid gloves.
This week’s edition features Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the cover in a “compromising” situation. Propriety and good taste prevent us from publishing the cartoon, but you can find it here.
The caption reads, “Erdogan: In private, he’s very funny” while the Turkish president chugs a beer. A woman in a Muslim hijab objects when Erdogan raises her skirt to reveal a bare (hairy) backside. “Ouuuh! The Prophet!” says Erdogan. The mention of the prophet in a comical situation was enough to send the Muslim world into a tizzy. From Gaza to Pakistan, protests have erupted against France, President Macron, and the French republic.
The cartoon depicts Erdogan sitting in a T-shirt and underwear, drinking a beer, and lifting up a woman’s hijab to expose her bare backside.
Drinking alcohol is considered haram, or forbidden, by most Muslims, and Erdogan has long condemned it.
“Ouuuh! The Prophet!” the speech bubble from Erdogan’s mouth said, suggesting Erdogan was only pretending to be a staunch defender of Islam.
Last week, Erdogan said Macron needed “mental treatment” because of the anti-Islamist laws he is trying to pass. Paris recalled the Turkish ambassador and relations between the two countries have become frigid. An even deeper rift is in French opposition to Turkey claiming a small island that’s also claimed by Greece. France sent warships into the region in support of Greece and Erdogan didn’t like that at all.
Erdogan says that he will have the state prosecutor look into filing charges against the magazine, which is sure to have the cartoonists and satirists at Charlie Hebdo shaking in fear. They will probably draw a cartoon about it next week.
“We strongly condemn the publication concerning our president of the French magazine, which has no respect to faith, the sacred and values,” Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, wrote on Twitter.
Kalin said: “The aim of these publications, that are devoid of morality and decency, is to sow seeds of hatred and animosity. To turn freedom of expression into hostility towards religion and belief can only be the product of a sick mentality.”
Sadly, the Muslims’ view of free speech mirrors that of many younger Americans when it comes to cartoons or humor about minorities, women, gays, and other “protected” groups. It’s gotten so bad that even big-name comedians won’t play college campuses anymore out of fear of “offending” one group or another.
Somewhere along the line, these young people have lost that hunger and desire to protect the First Amendment. They don’t like certain groups worshipping on campus either. They want to ban groups they disagree with politically. The right to freely express yourself, worship as you choose, and associate with whomever you wish is alien to them — it’s repugnant.
God help us if they ever achieve power.
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