Our core value of free speech has been under attack. Now free speech is physically under attack with the murder of 12 people, two of whom are police officers, at the offices of the satirical paper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France by Islamofascists claiming to be part of Al Qaeda.
France Info radio has been speaking to witnesses, several of whom are journalists working at a press agency in the same building as the Charlie Hebdo offices.
“We heard shouting in the street,” one man, Benoit Bringer, told the station. “We saw hooded men carrying Kalashnikovs enter the building. We called the police. After a few minutes we heard heavy firing, a lot of firing. We went upstairs on to the roof.
“And then after about 10 minutes we saw two armed men come out into the street. Three policemen arrived on bikes but had to leave because the men were armed, obviously … There was a lot more shouting in the street, a lot more gunshots. The attackers took off in a car.”
France’s President François Hollande immediately called the attack terrorism. These 12 people were murdered for offending Islamists by publishing Mohammad cartoons, among other offenses.
Charlie Hebdo reprinted the Danish paper Jyllands–Posten Muhammad cartoons in 2006. I recently interviewed the cultural editor of Jyllands–Posten, Flemming Rose, regarding his experiences coinciding with the release of his new book, “The Tyranny of Silence.”
Mr. Rose made a very important point in our interview. He said that we need to have insensitivity training in the interest of free speech.
You have the right to be offended.
According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, apostasy is renunciation of a religious faith and blasphemy is something said or done that is disrespectful to God or to something holy.
The Pew Research Center has a report detailing the countries which outlaw apostasy and blasphemy in the year 2012. This is just the list with apostasy laws: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.
Do you see the common thread? Islam. There isn’t one Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, Shinto, Jewish, Zoroastrian, or Satanic country listed.
Now add in the fact that President Obama, like President Bush before him, has made every effort to call Islam the religion of peace. The majority of the followers of Islam practice the religion peacefully. The problem is that so many support these terror attacks.
For example, the Pew Research Center’s Muslim Americans found that 19% of American Muslims support suicide bombings (page 65) and 51% say that there is support for Islamic Extremism in the Muslim American Community (page 69).
Immigration is what The United States of America is built on. The U.S. already has the most welcoming legal immigration in the world. We allow over one million legal immigrants per year, which is more than all other countries on Earth combined. The problem is the U.S. has immigration policies which allow people who hate our freedom of speech to come here from their countries which ban free speech due to their religious sensitivities. Why?
There are two ways for us to address the horrible murders in Paris, France today. First, apply all diplomatic and cultural pressure on those countries listed above to accept freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and freedom of speech. Second, pass legislation to cease all immigration of people who do not support our basic freedoms.
All freedom loving people deserve protection from these murderers. And you have the right to be offended, get over it.
EDIT 1/7/2015 12:30 PST – These are the cartoons Charlie Hebdo published courtesy of The Huffington Post