Douglas Murray on the Double Think Around Charlie Hebdo

The wonderful Douglas Murray today on his Spectator Blog perfectly elucidates the frightening amount of double think that has been taking place not just amongst Muslims but also in the mainstream media. The fact of the horrific murders at the Charlie Hebdo site and at the Kosher market in Paris have been presented as little more than an unfortunate by-product of the more serious ‘Islamophobia’ in France and of the French foreign policy as well as of course, that Charlie Hebdo was in some way responsible for the ‘outrage’ and thus complicit in the murders. The broadcast media have had on far more Muslim commentators to bemoan ‘Islamophobia’ than Jewish ones to discuss the very real and murderous attacks on them. There is  very little comment made on the fact that the Kosher market killer sat under an Isis flag to make a speech or that the Charlie killers were likely trained in the Yemen. Far far more has been heard about the ‘impact’ on the Muslim community.

This is worrying because clearly the impact on the non-Muslim community is far worse. Anyone who criticises Islam can rightly feel scared – because others which have – such as Theo Van Gogh and the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists have been killed for it. Jews on the other had are being killed for no greater sin than simply existing. Surely then there is cause to be afraid of Islam and to criticise it – and in doing so we are not pushing down on a minority but rather pushing up against an oppressive and totalitarian doctrine:

“In the immediate aftermath of the Paris atrocities most of the people who thought the journalists and cartoonists in some sense ‘had it coming to them’ kept their heads down.  I encountered a few who did not, including Asghar Bukhari from the MPAC (Muslim Public Affairs Committee).  In the aftermath of the atrocity Asghar was immediately eager to smear the cartoonists and editors of Charlie Hebdo as racists.  From what he and others of his ilk have been sending around since, they appear to have dug down into a narrative which now goes something like this: ‘The murders had nothing to do with Islam, Muslims or Islamic blasphemy law.  They certainly had something to do with Western foreign policy or domestic Islamophobia.  But by the wayCharlie Hebdo is a racist magazine.’

For the first time, MPAC proved to be ahead of the curve.  Because by the end of the first week after the atrocity more ‘mainstream’ and ‘moderate’ voices joined in with this narrative.  In the UK they included Mehdi Hasan (happily now off to the free media that is Al Jazeera) and the convert to Islam Myriam Francois-Cerrah.  Myriam even treated us to a piece about ‘My kind of satire’, as though she is widely recognised as a satirist, or indeed a critic.  But what followed was a core part of the wider grievance-mongering: ‘My kind of satire is the type that punches up,’ Myriam wrote, ‘the type that holds the powerful to account and mocks authority.’  Will Self was also responsible for the projection of this particular inanity.  And by this particular standard (ignoringCharlie Hebdo’s attacks on all presidents, popes and politicians) the magazine’s portrayal of Mohammed constituted a clear criticism of Islam, which is uniquely bad because Islam is followed by Muslims and Muslims constitute a cowering and beleaguered minority.

“…While Jews were still lying dead on the floor of the Kosher food shop various broadcasters scuttled around Paris asking Muslims ‘how safe they felt in France.’  The day after the attacks I was on Al Jazeera where for half an hour the presenter in Doha (who I could not see) tried to pursue a line of questioning which ignored the actual victims (cartoonists and Jews) and tried to paint Europe as some fascist backwater where the main victims of everything are Muslims.  I thought, and think, this a disgrace and spent a considerable amount of the programme pushing back against this disgusting Islamist propaganda.  Nor was I beneath pointing out to the presenter that since he lived in an unfree country and worked for an unfree media I wasn’t going to take any lessons from him about free speech.  Incidentally, at one point towards the end he asked me another of his rambling questions (who does he know to get a job as a presenter?) in which he referred to me as ‘far-right’.  A number of people have asked why I didn’t hit back at that.  The simple reason is that I didn’t quite catch it.  I thought for a beat that he might have said it, but didn’t think that even a stooge of the state-run Al Jazeera would so lower himself to insulting his guests and so let it pass.  Anyhow – I suppose there are people like him who think (or pretend to think) that anybody who doesn’t wish to live under Islamic blasphemy law is ‘far-right’ and even ‘racist’.  But these people are (like the MCB in recent days) only further disabling the use of a term they – and all of us – might have been grateful for in the future they are making.”

Douglas Murray on the Spectator Blog.

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