Killing in response to insult, no matter how gross, must be unequivocally condemned. That is why the killing of 12 people at the Paris office of the newspaper Charlie Hebdo cannot be tolerated. But neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction.
Those who work at this newspaper have a long and disgusting record of going way beyond the mere lampooning of public figures, and this is especially true of their depictions of religious figures. For example, they have shown nuns masturbating and popes wearing condoms. They have also shown Muhammad in pornographic poses.
While some Muslims today object to any depiction of the Prophet, others do not. Moreover, visual representations of him are not proscribed by the Koran. What unites Muslims in their anger against Charlie Hebdo is the vulgar manner in which Muhammad has been portrayed. What they object to is being intentionally insulted over the course of many years. On this aspect, Bill Donohue is in total agreement with them.
Stephane Charbonnier, the paper’s publisher, was killed in the slaughter a few weeks ago. It is too bad that he didn’t understand the role he played in his tragic death. In 2012, when asked why he insulted Muslims, he said, “Muhammad isn’t sacred to me.” Had he not been so narcissistic, he may still be alive. Muhammad isn’t sacred to Donohue, either, but it would never occur to him to deliberately insult Muslims by trashing Muhammad.
Anti-Catholic artists in this country have provoked Donohue to hold many demonstrations, but never has he counseled violence. This, however, does not empty the issue. Madison was right when he said, “Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as the abuses of power.”